Project Highlight: MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Kit

December 27, 2010

This is the fist post in a series where we are going to highlight an open source project—either in the wild or on InMojo. We chose to kick off with the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, not only because it is insanely cool and brings together open source hardware and personal fabrication, but also because a great testament to the power of open source hardware.

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic

MakerBot's Thing-O-Matic is an DIY open source 3D printer kit, and is on top of almost every geek we know's Christmas list this year. The Brooklyn, NY-based MakerBot Industries behind the Thing-O-Matic launched their first open source 3D printer in 2009, and they've been testing and refining the design ever since. The system works by heating up and printing thin layers of plastic top of each other until you're left with a 3-dimensional solid object of any shape you can design.

And unlike proprietary 3D printers that tend to cost well over $35,000, because of it's DIY and open source DNA the Thing-O-Matic is available for only $1,225 at the time of this post. And the smaller CupCake CNC Starter Kit goes for only $650. That puts it at about 3.5% the cost of the proprietary products.

As fans of open source hardware, we still freely admit that sometimes it is worth paying a little more for the fun of building your own kit or the ability to make something exactly the way you want it. But MakeBot's projects are a great demonstation of how the open source hardware community is able to innovate and produce products that cost dramatically less than their mass-produced alternatives.

Not to mention the availability of a reliable and reasonably priced 3D printers means we should start seeing a lot more custom and refined enclosures for open source hardware projects. Think that TV-B-Gone Kit really belongs in a miniature circa 1984 decepticon Soundwave enclosure (we do!), no worries. Now you can.

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