Bre Pettis is the CEO of MakerBot, a company that produces 3D printers, which he co-founded in 2009. Pettis also co-founded the Brooklyn hacker collective NYC Resistor, where MakerBot technology was first created, tested, and proven.
In 2006, Bre started the popular “Weekend Projects” video podcast for Make: Magazine, where he taught millions of viewers to make things from pinhole cameras to bicycles to hovercrafts. He also introduced the blog at the popular online handcrafts marketplace, Etsy. Prior to both endeavors, Bre was an art teacher in the Seattle Public Schools system.
In 2012, Bre was honored with the Disruptive Innovation Award from the Tribeca Film Festival, for “creating an entire ecosystem for desktop 3D printing.”
Since its launch in 2009, MakerBot has positioned itself in the 3D printing community as a leader in DIY production. Co-founded by former public school art teacher Bre Pettis, MakerBot facilitates the dreams of tinkerers and the curious minded with nothing more than corn-based plastic and an idea.
With a background in psychology, mythology and performing arts, CEO Pettis always had a love for the DIY spirit. “I got started early on by fixing up bikes,” says Pettis. “There was a rush that I got when I could fix something and it worked – I was hooked on DIY!” This passion for invention brought Pettis to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop where he worked in animatronics to expand his craft. As only someone with a true DIY attitude could, he would soon share his experiences with others.
In 2006, Bre started the popular “Weekend Projects” video podcast for Make: Magazine, where he taught millions of viewers to make things ranging from pinhole cameras to bicycles and hovercrafts. Following this, he turned his attention to the advancement of 3D printers with the goal of creating a tool that is both accessible and affordable.
“3D Printing is a tinkerer’s dream and it’s the DIY Holy Grail to make something that creates things,” says Pettis. “With our latest 5th generation MakerBot 3D printers, I feel like we have really delivered on the dream of 3D printers for everyone.”
In addition to designers and inventors, Pettis believes that 3D printers can serve scientists. “By sharing models, the scientific community can grow and make science more accessible. Also, it just never hurts to be able to visualize science as a 3D model made on a MakerBot 3D printer. The ways doctors are using them to do preparation and discovery is exciting.”
MakerBot 3D printers stand out as being accessible and easy to operate, asking the user merely to provide a design if they have one. If this is not the case, the user has the options of downloading a model from the hundreds of thousands on Thingiverse.com, purchasing one on the digital store or simply scanning a design using the digitizer. Once the model is obtained, all the user needs to do is drag and drop the file into the desktop application and push the 3D Print button. The 3D Printer then jumps into action depositing layer after layer of an eco-friendly and renewable corn-derived bioplastic called MakerBot PLA filament. When all the layers are completed, the model can easily be pulled out of the machine.
Supporting STEM (science, technology, education and math) is important to CEO Pettis both personally and professionally. “As a former teacher, education is baked into the DNA of MakerBot. We’ve just recently launched MakerBot Academy with the White House with the mission of putting a MakerBot 3D Printer in every school in the USA.”