The nation’s first Makerbot Innovation Center opened February 11, 2014 at SUNY New Paltz in New York. Being a denizen of the heartland a thousand miles and more from either coast, my first thought was, “What in the world is a ‘SUNY New Paltz?’” A quick trip to Wikipedia answered that question: “The State University of New York at New Paltz, known as SUNY New Paltz for short, is a public university in New Paltz, New York.”
Having solved that question to my satisfaction I had no problem figuring out what a Makerbot Innovation center was. Makerbot, after all, is the developer and manufacturer of a 3D printer that is available -- and affordable -- to schools and even individuals. Further, Makerbot strongly supports and aggressively pursues President Obama’s goal of having “The next industrial revolution in manufacturing ... happen in America.”
With more than thirty 3D printers and scanners, the Makerbot Innovation Center is simply one more attempt by Makerbot to make a 3D printer available to students and businesses everywhere in this country. These centers will help train the next generation of engineers, architects, industrial designers and artists and be available for businesses to help save time and `money by facilitating rapid prototyping and increasing product cycles.
SUNY New Paltz got the first of these centers because the University already has a program in Digital Design and Fabrication and is the leading center for developing 3D manufacturing in the Hudson Valley Area. It may be the first, but even as I type this post a still larger Makerbot Innovation Center is in the works at the College of the Ouachitas in Arkansas.
The first Makerbot Innovation Center at SUNY New Paltz is now open, the largest is on its way to Arkansas, and we can likely expect to see a lot more of them springing up at schools and business parks across the country. The more the better. 3D printing is thought by many -- including President Obama -- to be the future of manufacturing. Centers like these will make sure that future will be fully realized in America.