Bre Pettis – Co-Founder of MakerBot


[quote style=”boxed”]Being open source means that our customers are co-collaborators with us because they can know exactly how everything works, can improve their MakerBots and share back.[/quote]

Bre Pettis makes things that make things. Passionate about invention, innovation and all things DIY, Pettis builds infrastructure for creativity. He is a founder of Makerbot, a company that produces robots that make things, a founder of Thingiverse where people share digital designs and a founder of NYCResistor, a hacker collective in Brooklyn.

What are you working on right now?

I’m tinkering with extra wide nozzles for decreased resolution so that you can MakerBot things faster and with thicker layers.

Where did the idea for MakerBot come from?

We wanted a 3D printer but they were too expensive, so we made our own and then realized that everyone should have one!

What does your typical day look like?

I answer emails, I check in with team leaders, have meetings, scheme up interesting applications and hire people.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I imagine them, model them in sketchup, and then MakerBot them on my MakerBot that sits on my desk.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

MakerBottable gifts.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I had a job on a film crew and I was at the bottom of the ladder so I’d get blamed for everything. Once I learned to say “I’m sorry it won’t happen again,” then I took on the responsibility and made sure it didn’t happen again.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’m really happy with how things have gone so far and we’re still just at the beginning!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make friends.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Get a MakerBot and make things that improve your life and sell them. If you’re a kayaker, come up with some sort of clip for attaching a camera to your kayak and get it out there for other kayakers to get inspired. Pick a different hobby/obsession and repeat.

What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?

Twitter, Thingiverse, and Flickr for keeping up with what our users are doing with their  MakerBots.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

It’s not a book, but you should read this:

What’s on your playlist?

I listen to the Replacements and Daft Punk a lot.

If you weren’t working on MakerBot, what would you be doing?

Developing more infrastructure for people to be creative.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • @MakerBot to get a front row seat on the MakerBot revolution.
  • @thingiverse to get the latest thingalerts.
  • Me @bre to suffer through my DIY obsessiveness!

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

My 5 month old baby makes me smile big every day.

Who is your hero?

Everyone who shares their learning with the Internet so that we can eradicate dependence on expensive educational institutions.

Why is MakerBot open source?

Being open source means that our customers are co-collaborators with us because they can know exactly how everything works, can improve their MakerBots and share back.

What about MakerBot and kids?

Imagine yourself at age 11 with access to a MakerBot and how that would have impacted your ability to invent things and make the things you need instead of buying them. We have to get MakerBots in the hands of kids today so that the next generation can grow up with inventive minds and be ready to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

What do you do to relax?

I play banjo and take care of my baby.


Bre Pettis on Twitter:@bre