Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, made two significant announcements in his opening remarks at SXSW 2013. The first is a signed agreement with Autodesk to jointly develop and market 3D offerings. The second is a new product called the Digitizer, a desktop 3D scanner.
The agreement with Autodesk entails the resale of MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers in connection with Autodesk's 123D membership offerings. Autodesk's 123D Suite of easy-to-use apps includes 123D Catch, 123D Creature, 123D Design, and 123D Sculpt, all tailored for simplicity and portability. While specifics weren't given, Autodesk mentioned optimization for MakerBot. “Our goal is to continue making 3D printing from our applications simpler and more straightforward, and optimizing the Autodesk 123D family to work with MakerBot printers delivers on this promise by enabling our community to print their creations with greater ease,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products at Autodesk.
MakerBot's Digitizer was demonstrated in an early prototype phase. The desktop 3D scanner utilizes an auto-rotating platform, a camera and dual lasers, creating a point cloud from real world objects. Software then finalizes the model, preparing it for 3D printing by closing it (models for 3D printing must be water-tight with no visible polygon back faces). MakerBot hopes for a fall release. Pricing is still to be announced.