Rollercoaster Ride

Yesterday was crazy busy. I did a bit of twittering to keep things updated, but didn’t have the opportunity to make a full blog post. Not having wifi in the pit area made posting even more difficult

Much of today was spent trying to get the extruder to extrude properly. This morning after more tinkering I decided to just stop. I have the machine and LEDs on with a finished power rind still on the foam core, so the display is still attracting people. In the first four hours of the day I’ve spoken to around thirty sincerely interested people plus a dozen or so who just see it as neat.

Mike Sinclair came to the booth after two of his team mates told him about the makerbot. Me gave me his card and asked if I’d be interested in trading laser cutter heads. He’s got a bunch for cutting lenses and other odd things. I’ll pass the information to the Makerbot Industries guys. The three were very interested. From our conversation I gather that some of their excitement comes from knowing they can make many of the parts in their own labs.

I’ve been in contact with John Weiler from Freeside Atlanta trying to arrange a meeting with the makerbot. Today he told me he’s coordinating a few people from Freeside Atlanta and Atlanta Arduino to come to the conference center. I’m pretty excited to share the makerbot with some hackers. They should be here Saturday.

There are regional FIRST competitions all over the country and throughout the world. I would like the the various communities interested in the makerbot get booths at all these competitions. Even with a non-functioning machine there has been tremendous interest and amazement from everyone I’ve spoken to. I could have easily sold a few kits if I had any with me. I really see this as the best way to market the makerbot. Many of the people I’ve met have never hear of a 3D printer and one around a dozen had actually seen one working. Seeing the machine real life helps people realize that it exists, what it can do, and that it’s something they can actually make.

People have positively responded to the low cost of the machine but their eyes really light up when they compare the operating costs of the makerbot and a professional machine. The 3D animation teacher in my school will be purchasing one, so his students can print their models. The cost to do this on our Dimension BST 768 is just prohibitively high. What’s the point of having a $20,000 3D printer if a cupcake-sized object costs $40. It just makes no sense.

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