Brooklyn based 3D printing company MakerBot this week launched a new initiative to put a desktop 3D printer in every school in the US, but it wants some assistance in doing so.  The company is calling out to teachers and donors to help make the goal a reality through a crowdfunding program.

MakerBot In Schools

Teachers in the U.S. can navigate  to the online charity site DonorsChoose.org and then request a MakerBot Academy bundle, which includes a Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer, three spools of filament (in red, white, and blue colours) and a year in the Maker Care service and protection plan. Upon making the request for the MakerBot Academy bundle, teachers will need to clarify how the 3D printer will be used in their classroom.

For corporations and individuals interested in helping to get 3D printers into education programs, they can visit DonorsChoose.org and pledge to support the program.  They can choose which schools they would like to fund. The cost of one MakerBot Academy bundle is in the region of $2,350.  Donors can contribute to the cost in whatever increments they can afford to, while the classrooms themselves must find the remaining $98.

The CEO of MakerBot, Bre Pettis, announced the initiative at the company’s Manhattan retail store on November 12. Pettis was a schoolteacher in Seattle Public Schools, before he started up MakerBot and taught everything from “music to dance to math, science, social studies, and writing…Having been a former teacher, and being in a position now where I can give back…makes me really emotional,” he said. “This is my favourite announcement ever…MakerBot is manufacturing education in a box,” Pettis said. “You not only get an introduction in the next-generation of manufacturing, but you learn about supply chain, digital design, you learn about the process of having an idea and making it exist in the world.”  The initiative is a partnership between MakerBot, DonorsChoose.org, Autodesk and America Makes which is a national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

Makerbot Academy was inspired by the this year’s State of the Union Address, during which President Barack Obama stressed the need to fetch manufacturing jobs back into the U.S.  “We’re putting our hands out to everyone and saying ‘Let’s do this together.’ We can’t do this alone,” Pettis said.  To start this program, Pettis has personally pledged to put a Replicator 2 in all the public high schools in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Ralph Crump, founder of MakerBot-owner Stratasys, has also pledged to match his donation!

Pettis said he wants to see 5,000 schools equipped with MakerBots by the end of this year.  MakerBot had also launched a week design challenge asking members of the MakerBot Thingiverse community to develop 3D designs that can be effectively used in education. These 3D designs will be made available to educators as soon as they receive the MakerBot Academy package.

[Image via 3dguy]

SOURCE: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2427019,00.asp