Bre Pettis, along with Adam Mayer and Zach Smith, cofounded MakerBot, a company that produces 3D printers. Bre is a former school teacher and is an artist, inventor, and maker. But why is Bre the rock star of 3D printing? Pick your poison: He’s has the energy of a musician and the innovation of an inventor (plus the hair of both) and true to the form of a rock star, Bre’s very first 3D print was a shot glass. But what makes Bre most interesting is the passion and enthusiasm he brings to the table of invention and 3D printing.
Adam Mayer and Zach Smith
All rock stars have band members and Bre is no exception. Zach “Hoeken” Smith had the original idea for MakerBot and pulled in his friends to help him start it. But like all rock bands, this one disbanded, with Zach walking away from MakerBot and Bre becoming CEO. According to his LinkedIn account, Adam Mayer was the CTO of Makerbot until October, 2012. Such painful splits often occur, even among friends. Zach has been concerned with MakerBot going closed-source, eschewing all that he had built the company on. Bre tackles the closed- source discussion on his blog post.
Bre and Zach created Thingiverse, which lets people share and upload designs. Anyone can improve on a design in Thingiverse and upload the tweaks. MakerBot and the 3D printing industry in general (but not always) are often willing to share designs and information with everyone. Many patents in place are set to expire, which will increase sharing of information and technology even more.
Hacker Community: NYC Resistor
Bre also started the NYC Resistor, a hacker community in Brooklyn that works on projects and shares knowledge amongst fellow hackers. True to his roots, Bre has opened MakerBot’s new factory in Brooklyn as well.
MakerBot's Merger with Stratasys
Ah, the sweet taste of victory always comes with accusations of selling out. When MakerBot merged with Stratasys, fans of MakerBot were concerned that the company’s brand would fundamentally change. However, Bre issued a statement that the merger would enable more people to access 3D printing and begin making things on their own. MakerBot is still operating on its own, but with the additional resources that Stratasys has to offer.
MakerBot vs. Cubify
Fight, fight, fight! What’s a rock star without competition? Although there aren’t any barroom brawls (that we know of), the tension between companies can be intense (or intensely amusing). Bre and Cathy Lewis had an interview with each making little jabs at each other’s printers (Cathy cuddling the Cubify and Bre arguing that 3D modeling can be for everyone). Both get a little feisty, but they keep it professional. Maybe they could put wheels on their respective 3D printers and duke it out in Robot Wars.
Bre Pettis's Musical Instrument of Choice
In case you were wondering, Bre’s instrument of choice is the clawhammer banjo, which is a banjo playing style characterized by a down-picking style. This down-picking style causes the player’s hand to take on the shape of a claw, hence the name.
Although we don’t have a video of Bre playing the banjo, here’s a video of a banjo player that he posted on YouTube.
Keep Rocking the 3D Printing World
We anticipate seeing Bre continue rocking the world of 3D printing with his pizazz for several years to come. We’re sure that other up-and-comers will join the ranks of innovators like Bre and we’re excited to see what’s next.