Brooklyn-based MakerBot employs 600 people in the design, fabrication and sale of personal 3-D printers. If you’re in the mood for something smallish and plastic, odds are you can print it from one of their machines. Wandering the open, colorful headquarters office can be hypnotic. Cubicles are stacked with printed gadgets. In one room, which the company calls a “BotFarm,” rows and rows of printers on shelves turn out dolls, screws and all sorts of other stuff. The walls are stacked with enormous (printed) LEGO-style bricks.

The headquarters is minutes from the factory that churns out the printers, by design; the proximity of executives, engineers and factory floor is what caused MakerBot to build its plant in Brooklyn and not contract out to China. Here’s a tour of the headquarters — and a primer on how the printers work.

All photos are by Jennifer Altman for The Washington Post.

 


A model is being made in the MakerBot Innovation Center, also known as the “BotFarm,” in the MakerBot headquarters in Brooklyn.

The machine can print a wide variety of items, including roses…

…and hands.

Spools of filament attach to printers in the BotFarm…

…like so. Here, Lane Feuer, director of MakerBot Studio, feeds filament into the printers.

They are attached to the machines in the back.

The headquarters is laden with 3-d printed figurines…

…as well as the original prototypes for its printers, which came in kits that customers assembled themselves at home. Today’s models come from a factory in Brooklyn.

Other 3-d printed items displayed in the office include a model of the Capitol building…

…animal skulls…

…even dinosaurs.

Jenny Lawton, CEO of MakerBot at the headquarters.