MakerBot's public appearances at the show managed to leave an impression on just about everyone who spotted the company's newly announced Replicator 3D printer. Founder Bre Pettis stopped by our stage at the convention center's Grand Lobby, becoming our final interview of the show. We managed to get him to print something out during our conversation, but the real draw was, no doubt, the large plastic rocket ship lamp sitting at the end of the stage, a pretty solid visual reminder of the concept of being able to print out just about anything you can imagine with one of these devices.
MakerBot is one of the driving forces in bringing 3D printing to a mainstream audience, and the Replicator takes yet another big step in that direction. For starters, there's the fact that, unlike past products from the company, the units ship assembled, taking the difficult and time consuming construction process out of the equation -- at less than $2,000, it's also a good deal cheaper than a fair amount of the competition. Pettis also insists that the printing process itself is rather simple. There's an SD slot on the front -- pop in a card and choose a project from the simple LCD.