If you need any more proof that a 3D printing revolution is about to take hold, look no further than MakerBot's brand new 50,000 square foot factory. The new digs opened today in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, replacing the company's Bayridge production facility where MakerBot employed more than 100 “productors” tasked with building MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers. With a much larger, state-of-the-art factory and warehouse space on their hands, MakerBot has big plans for the future—including hiring another 50+ employees in coming months. Inhabitat was on the scene this morning touring the MakerBot factory with CEO Bre Pettis—see our exclusive photos ahead and check out what's happening behind the scenes at one of the most innovative companies around!
Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis cuts the ribbon with former New York State Senator and current Borough President of Brooklyn Marty Markowitz
Makerbot’s new Sunset Park factory replaces a much smaller, 5,000 sq ft factory located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge. As it stands their current operations occupy 50,000 sq ft, but the space is said to be “expandable” to 66,000 sq ft—the remnant area remains open and unoccupied, but is anticipated to be put to use very soon as MakerBot grows.
Bucking the norm, Pettis said that they considered setting up shop in Asia but decided to stay local because they felt they would be better able to adapt and control the manufacturing process—a crucial point for a company that is putting out new iterations as quickly as every few months. Pettis noted that the lag time that comes with overseas travel, decision-making, and shipping just would not be conducive to maintaing a tech company that wants to be at the forefront.
Pettis also emphasized the importance of hiring skilled labor that really puts pride into the work that they do: the company is lighting-fast when it comes to addressing problems that occur in-house and especially receptive to customers that run into issues using their printers at home. But all of this aside, Pettis maintained that his main reason for wanting to stay stateside is because “Brooklyn is the best place in the world!” and he’s honored that MakerBot can label their 3D printers with “Made with Brooklyn Pride”.
The factory has been is laid out across an open plan, and assembly is broken down into various “departments” such as Sub-Assembly, Final Assembly and Packaging—there is even a Bot Farm department churning out the latest designs off of Thingiverse, a veritable what’s what of all the latest 3D printable designs uploaded by the MakerBot staff and users worldwide. Moreover, everyone who works in the factory has their own Replicator 3D printer at or near their desk. The company wants its employees to bridge the gap between the maker and the user, having their team pinpoint problems as they create, while also becoming advocates for the machines they are putting together.
While today was without question a big day for MakerBot, it also marked a momentous occasion for the Big Apple. With the introduction of MakerBot’s massive factory, NYC is now the #1 global capital for 3D printing. Both MakerBot and the NYC government hope the introduction of new facility will attract other tech companies, as well as spur revitalization in the Sunset Park area, which by and large, remains an industrial destination.