MakerBot is a New York-based 3D printing company founded in 2009 by Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer and Zach Smith, and is widely regarded as popularizing 3D printing among consumers. MakerBot makes a variety of printers and scanners, and also facilitates the sharing of designs and general education about 3D printing through a community called Thingiverse. Schematics shared on Thingiverse are typically licensed for Creative Commons use, so others may use and edit them. Makerbot offers a suite of apps for mobile, tablet, and computer that allow builders to keep track of their plans, edit models, and monitor progress of ongoing print jobs. MakerBot sells various plastic filament types, such as ABS, PLS, flexible, and dissolvable. They have a few dedicated physical retail locations, but for the most part, they partner with Microsoft stores and have their products available there. Makerbot has also partnered with Nokia and Ouya to enable fans to create custom cases.
Makerbot acquired 3D computer part producer 3DWorldWide in 2010. In 2011, they took $10 million in venture capital, and were acquired in 2013 for $403 million in stock from Stratasys Incorporated. Detailed information of later models of the printers were not open-sourced as the originals had been, generating some backlash from the community and co-founder Zach Smith.
Makerbot's first product was the Cupcake CNC, which was largely open-sourced, and enjoyed many improvements due to community contributions. As of spring 2014, Makerbot's top-of-the-line model, the Replicator Z18, offers a whole host of features, including a camera that allows remote mobile monitoring and control and a fairly tall 18-inch build volume. Makerbot is working on an experimental printer that can extrude two colors of plastic at the same time, enabling the easy creation of multicolor objects. Makerbot also offers a scanner which can capture digital 3D models of real world objects, so they can be replicated, edited, or shared.