Snuggled beside our sewing machine, down the row from our laser cutter, right next to our toolbox, MakerBots have always had a spot in our DIYin’ hearts and in our workspace here at Brit HQ. We’ve been h/t-ing you to some printers that want to join you at home — right next to your microwave, in your home office, even in your kid’s playroom, and now you might be able to pick one up on your next trip to the hardware store. Yup, no need to wait for that Kickstarter funded printer to make it to your doorstep next year, Home Depot is now selling MakerBot.
That 3D printing revolution is happening. Available online and in 12 stores in bigger cities like Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles and here in San Francisco, you can now add a MakerBot to your cart along with home improvement projects and assorted other DIY supplies.
These aren’t your debatably affordable $300 printers; the cheapest MakerBot in Home Depot’s online store is the Replicator Mini Compact. Ringing in at $1,375, it’s probably not on its way to becoming an impulse purchase, or even a weekend project splurge just yet. But it doesn’t get more mainstream than seeing MakerBot on the shelves at your average everyday hardware store. Home Depot employees will be trained in all that 3D printing can do for you and your home, so they’ll be able to demo the machines and answer any, “Wait, so what does this thing do?” questions customers might have.
Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis says: “Imagine a world where you can 3D print replacement parts and use 3D printing as an integral part of design and building work.” Think about the process you go through if you need keys made or a piece of wood cut at the hardware store. Now replace that 2 x 4 with the spool that fits your project, imagine finding the in-store printing specialist, choosing the file you need for that spare part and coming back at the end of your shopping trip to pick it up.
Scan through some articles about new products, listen to an inventor or entrepreneur talk about crafting their first/latest gadget (like we did here during our Friday R+D with the creator of Drop!) and they’re sure to talk about testing prototypes and parts on their printer. Outside of your home, you could see more MakerBots popping up in the studios and toolkits of handymen and women, fixer uppers, that bike shop down the street or the IKEA hacking furniture upcycler at your Saturday flea market. It’s been exciting to dream up what we’ll all be able to do with more access to 3D printing, but it’ll be even more so to actually see it happening. Even if we’re just printing out a spare doo-dad to hang up that shelf we’ve been putting off for forever…
What would you do if you saw a MakerBot at Home Depot? What could you see yourself printing on your next trip to the hardware store?