MakerBot Replicator+ Is A Good 3D Printer Option for Fab Labs, Innovation Centers & Workforce Training

MakerBot Replicator+ Is A Good 3D Printer Option for Fab Labs, Innovation Centers & Workforce Training

Fab Labs, Makerspaces, innovation centers and workforce training programs have specific demands for digital fabrication equipment.  In most cases, a number of people from varied backgrounds and experience levels operate the machines especially in open access or membership settings, and the machines are in frequent use, often running long prints overnight.  In addition, many of these types of fabrication laboratories are run by non-technical staff, including librarians, teachers, and museum curators or IT staff who have not worked with hardware.  For these user groups, the key equipment parameters need to be ease of use and reliability, in order to foster interest in advanced technology and New Collar Jobs for Industry 4.0. Fab Lab Hub was fortunate to receive a Replicator+ from MakerBot to test for our own fab labs at the Santa Fe Business Incubator and the Santa Fe Community College Innovation Center, both in New Mexico, and for the North American Digital Fabrication Alliance.  And after several years of the Fab Lab Network experiencing issues with MakerBot 3D Printers, I am happy to report that our initial tests were quite positive. Lauren Goglick, MakerBot’s General Manager for North America, explained to me that the company had taken seriously the need for improved performance and reliability.  Two full years were spent listening to customers and responding to their needs.  MakerBot says that the Replicator+ “prints 30% faster than its predecessor and offers a 25% larger build volume”. But most importantly for us, in order to achieve greater reliability and precision it features “improved hardware, like a redesigned gantry and z-stage.  To ensure consistent performance, the new 3D printers and all...
Fab Lab Hub Gains America Makes Membership

Fab Lab Hub Gains America Makes Membership

Fab Lab Hub is pleased to announce that an agreement was recently signed with America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, for Silver Level membership.   Since its inception in 2012, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP) has worked with member manufacturers, researchers, universities, government labs, non-profits and a myriad of other organizations to lead the world in this growing technology area. America Makes was established as an initiative of the Obama administration and is based in Youngstown, Ohio, the heart of American manufacturing history.  The public-private partnership is the flagship Institute for Manufacturing USA, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, and is a repository of knowledge, as well as best practices for additive manufacturing.  America Makes fosters innovation in the advanced manufacturing sector, and manages a portfolio of more than $80 million in public and private funds for members to advance the state-of-the-art in AM and 3DP. Fab Lab Hub’s membership in America Makes will strengthen each organizations’ workforce development programs.  America Makes has collaborations with Tooling U-SME, the workforce development arm of SME .  Together they have launched a portfolio of additive manufacturing learning and development solutions that includes access to specialized training packages, apprenticeship programs and the industry’s first certification.  3D Veterans, a Google-funded training program aimed at providing additive manufacturing training for vets, is another America Makes partner in workforce training for the next generation of manufacturing tools. Fab Lab Hub has worked with a number of community colleges in the Fab Lab Network on digital fabrication certification and apprenticeship programs that include additive manufacturing as well as other technologies.  We are also initiating a national training...
3D Printing Hands for Kids in Orphanages in India

3D Printing Hands for Kids in Orphanages in India

One of Fab Lab Hub’s more gratifying projects is a partnership with Limitless Child International.  The young non-profit based in Portland, Maine is helping give a childhood to kids who live without families in orphanages.  We’re providing technical expertise on a 3D Printed limb project to help Limitless Child get donated prosthetics to kids in India. Recently 20 Portlanders, mostly from CIEE Study Abroad, volunteered a Friday evening to begin construction of 3-D printed prosthetic hands that Limitless Child will take to India at the end of March. Among the makers were Thaddeus from  Portland Public Library‘s Technology Center and Jacob from the Open Bench Project.  Phase II in March will finish up the hands.  Watch this space for details and email service@fablabhub.org for details on how you can get...