3D Printing

13 stories

Industrial designers and manufacturers have been using 3-D printers for years to make mockups, models, and prototypes. In the past few years, a gang of startups have tried to cash in on the idea that these physical-object makers were getting cheap enough to get regular consumers interested.

That may not be going according to plan. MakerBot, a leading name in the consumer 3-D printing sector, has laid off staff and closed its three retail stores (including one on Newbury Street in Boston) as part of a strategy change by its parent company.More →

Many educators agree that teaching STEM subjects requires hands-on, experiential education (as opposed to “teaching to the test”). But the tools and materials they need to do so are often too costly or too scarce in the budget-stretched world of education.

Boston-based NVBOTS, a MassChallenge alum with roots at MIT, provides one solution for schools struggling to fund hands-on experiences in subjects like physics, biology, and math. The company has created a 3-D printing system for schools that includes printer hardware, software that’s easy to use, and printing materials like plastic. Their goal is to make it simple for teachers to integrate 3-D printing into their regular classroom activities.More →

In the early stages of writing a piece about whether 2015 will be the year that the Internet of Things finally goes mainstream, I sat down with PTC chief executive Jim Heppelmann. PTC is the Needham-based company that sells software related to designing products and then servicing them once they’ve been sold. An increasing number of those products, Heppelmann says, will connect to the Internet for monitoring and upgrades, and creating new offerings for those connected devices has been a big focus for PTC of late. The company recently said that it expects to see double-digit growth of its IoT revenues over the next four years, and several of PTC’s latest acquisitions have been IoT-related.More →

I spent a lot of time in 2013 reporting on how a confluence of factors had led to improved conditions for entrepreneurs pursuing hardware startups, particularly in areas such as consumer electronics and robotics.

It turns out that venture capitalists were paying a lot of attention to hardware last year too. More →