At only five years old, MakerBot has already played a massive role in making 3D printing for consumers a reality. Now South African hardware distributor Rectron has announced it’ll be selling three of MakerBot’s recent and most popular 3D-printers locally. The devices will be priced between R19 000 and R40 000.
The move makes Rectron US-based MakerBot’s first distribution partner in Africa. Rectron has secured the rights to distribute all MakerBot products in South Africa, including the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer, the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer, and the industrial-sized MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer.
Rectron will also distribute the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer and the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner – which allows users to scan real-world objects for 3D modelling and printing – that was announced earlier this year.
MakerBot started out selling build-it-yourself 3D printer kits and until its 2012 acquisition by Stratasys, made all of its product designs and software open source as part of its ethos of making additive manufacturing (or real-time prototyping, if you prefer) at home a reality. The product that really put the company on the map was the Thing-O-Matic, one of the first practical, affordable and user-friendly 3D printers to hit the market.
The devices have already gained favour internationally with engineers, architects, industrial designers, artists, entrepreneurs and educators because items can go from the digital drawing board to reality in hours or days rather than weeks. MakerBot believes this accellerates innovation by allowing people to experiment more readily and making rapid protyping economically viable for small companies or individuals.
MakerBot has also proven popular because it continually updates its software and apps and has a vibrant online community of enthusiasts who help each other out with designs, maintenance and anything else to do with the company’s products.
“We are excited to work with a global leader in the desktop 3D printer category. Our partnership with MakerBot is the perfect example of our commitment to providing our customers with products that embrace the spirit of innovation and creative thinking,” says Bruce Bradford, group business unit manager for Rectron’s printer category.
“The popularity and usefulness of 3D printing has been growing tremendously over the past several years. The possibilities that 3D printing offers the local education, engineering, architecture and healthcare industries are enormous. We look forward to sharing this journey with MarkerBot and exploring endless opportunities together in South Africa.”