MakerBot opens New York store with a 3D photo booth

If you’re the type who lets a little fame go to your head, the 3D Photo Booth at the new MakerBot Store in New York might be just what you need.

Step into the 3D Photo Booth for a few minutes and get a 3D scan of your face, and the folks at MakerBot will use their 3D printers to create a precise 3D plastic model of a head with your face on it. The plastic heads go for $20, $40, or $60, depending on the size of the head (and your ego).

The 3D Photo Booth, developed with ShapeShot technology from Baltimore-based Direct Dimensions, costs $5 per scan, and the resulting file can be further edited before being submitted for head creation.

At the opening of MakerBot’s new retail store at 298 Mulberry St. in Manhattan’s trendy NoHo district, MakerBot Founder Bre Pettis said the store was designed to introduce the public to the possibilities of 3D printing, a technology that has vastly reduced the cost of rendering nebulous concepts and ideas into working prototypes and models.

The in-store collection of 3D-printed products ranged from simple Christmas tree ornaments to complex, multi-level doll houses with intricate detail and mini furniture also created by MakerBot’s 3D printers.

MakerBot's Bre Pettis talks to reporters.

Pettis explained that the 3D printing technology MakerBot's products use lays down layers of plastic so microscopically thin that you can create items with moving parts, such as model cars with rolling wheels or flexible bracelets. The PLA bioplastic used cools quickly after it’s laid down; thus finished objects are safe to touch, he said. Pettis said almost any small item that can be conceived with professional or consumer-grade 3D design software—or MakerBot’s free MakerWare beta software for PC, Mac, and Ubuntu Linux—can be printed in durable plastic by MakerBot’s 3D printers.

At the new store, a few MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers, which look like large aquariums with machinery inside, printed small jewelry items from scratch in a few minutes. You can purchase the $2,199 replicator, which has a “resolution capability” of as thin as 100 microns, at the store: It uses one-kilo spools of PLA renewable bioplastic plastic, which come in various colors and sell for $48 each.

Brooklyn-based MakerBot claims that it now has about a quarter of the world 3D printer market.

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