What do you call a 12 inch by 12 inch by 16 inch box that can print 3D objects of your design, continuously for hours at a time, for just over a thousand dollars? That's the new MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, the latest and greatest in automated home 3D object printing. MakerBot has just begun sending the first shipment out its doors.
MakerBot says the Thing-O-Matic prints higher-quality items than its other 3D printers but the real differentiator here is the automation: give this thing enough plastic to chew on and it will print the same or different objects one after the other after the other, clearing itself out each time before beginning anew. Can the Thing-O-Matic self-replicate - be used to make more Thing-O-Matics? That line was crossed by the old school MakerBot last June, so perhaps it's just a matter of time.
Combine this with the MakerBot 3D scanner, which scans 3D objects around itself and turns them into designs the MakerBots can replicate and then you're really cooking with...plastic.
If you find yourself in New York City, you can presumably see all these things in the flesh at the new MakerBot Botcave retail store that opened on Black Friday.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go ask my Replicator to make me a cup of tea. Or not.