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In April , it was reported that in an effort to integrate MakerBot's activities better with those of Stratasys, Jaglom laid off around of employees and closed the existing three MakerBot retail locations. MakerBot's first products were sold as do it yourself kits, requiring only minor soldering, with an assembly process compared to assembling IKEA furniture.
The source files needed to build the devices were put on Thingiverse , allowing anyone to make one from scratch. Because of the open source nature of the product, any suggestions for improvements came from users. During its primary production run April to September , the Cupcake CNC kit was updated several times to incorporate new upgrades into each successive version. It shipped with many of the aftermarket upgrades that had been built for Cupcake.
The stock Thing-O-Matic included a heated, automated build platform, an MK5 plastruder, a redesigned z-stage and upgraded electronics. The Thing-O-Matic was discontinued in the spring of Assembly instructions are available online through the MakerBot Wiki. As such, the Thing-O-Matic can be heavily altered and improved by users. Some MakerBot operators developed upgrades to the platform that were later incorporated into factory kits.
MakerBot has credited those early innovators in their documentation,  and even on some of the PCB silkscreen layouts. In January MakerBot introduced the Replicator. It offered more than double the build volume of the Thing-o-Matic at Other features included a dual extruder allowing two-color builds, an LCD screen and a control pad.
The Replicator was sold pre-assembled with no kit version available. It was the last open-source MakerBot printer. In September , MakerBot introduced the Replicator 2.
This newest model again increased the build volume, this time to The dual extruder was changed back to a single extruder head, while the upgraded electronics, LCD, and gamepad remained similar to the original Replicator. Unlike previous models, the Replicator 2 can print only using PLA plastic, which comes sold in sealed bags with desiccate to protect it from moisture.
The 2X model was intended as an experimental version of the 2 that includes a completely enclosed build area, redesigned dual-extruders, and a heated aluminum build platform — all of which enable printing with ABS plastic and dual-material printing. The product was designed to allow MakerBot users to scan physical objects and turn them into digital, 3D printable models. The accompanying software allowed models to be edited, printed immediately, or uploaded to Thingiverse.
Released alongside the Replicator Mini and 5th Generation Replicator, the Z18 offers a build volume of Envisioned as a solution for major clients, the MakerBot Innovation Center incorporates hardware optimized suite of 3D Printers , SAAS workflow software,  training services, and enterprise support.
Until mid , manufacturing was performed in its own facilities in New York, then it was contracted to Jabil Circuit. The New York manufacturing personnel was laid off, while development, logistics, and repair operations remain in New York. MakerBot hosts the online community Thingiverse , where users can upload 3D printable files, document designs, and collaborate 3D printing projects and on open source hardware.
The site is a collaborative repository for design files used in 3D printing, laser cutting and other DIY manufacturing processes. They sent a bust of Stephen Colbert , printed on a MakerBot 3D printer, into the stratosphere attached to a helium filled weather balloon. Netflix published in September the documentary Print the Legend about Makerbot history.
Due to its detachment from open source community, the departure of its founders, reliability problems with the 'smart extruder' and questionable users clauses on the Thingiverse site,  there have been many recent controversies  around Makerbot.
Additionally, the company has lost substantial market-share to competitors such as Ultimaker and Aleph Objects. The Fifth generation was equipped with an interchangeable extruder with some self-diagnostics capabilities.
This tactile model of a carbon atom is a good example. By tagging this content with accessibility metadata tags, a search engine can pick out just the objects that are tactile objects, making this valuable accessible content easily discoverable.
Search for it yourself: We have a library of accessible content and a Google custom search engine available. The links below will execute searches so that you can see realtime results. Gustav Knape, the creator of this example, has been researching the potential uses of 3D printing in classrooms for blind students with promising results. His graduate thesis, found in Swedish here , investigates the results of using 3D printed models with an eleven-year-old and thirteen-year-old student in classes with sighted children.
Below is a short abstract of the work in English. They are instead given tactile pictures which can be time consuming and hard to interpret and some images are not even possible to form into a tactile picture.
The teachers were asked before about ideas and what they thought could be useful and the models were later 3D-printed at Lund University. After the test period, the teachers and students were interviewed about the experienced value of having 3D-printed models as an education aid. They were all positive of in some way incorporating 3D-printed models in their teaching of the visually impaired children in the future. Makerbot has also ran a blog entry about a retired biologist who has been creating 3D versions of images to improve learning for the visually impaired.
How we did it: In order to make this more easily discoverable, we have discussed adding accessibility metadata tags. With this in mind, there were a few challenges. First, I wanted to show that the overhead of tagging, especially with the minimum set, is small. The tags below declare that this is an object, give its name, and then describe its accessibility: