Ultimaker just started shipping its open source 3D printer in May 2011, but it has already gained worldwide attentions. According to fd.nl, only in January it got almost 30 investors knocking on its door, including a shareholder from a well-known American internet company. Last year, major 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems asked if they wanted to sell the company. Erik de Bruijn(29), one of the founders said, "We are approached by serious parties."
(The founders of Ultimaker: Erik de Bruijn (m) Siert Wijnia (l) and Martijn Elserman)
Ultimaker was set up by 3 young dutch guys from 3 different cities in the Netherlands, De Bruijn is from Tilburg, Elserman lives in Geldermalsen and Wijnia in Haarlem. De Bruijn's biggest hobby is electrical devices and he was one the most active and dedicated member in the RepRap project. When he developed his own 3D printer, designer Martijn Elserman (41) and mechanician Siert Wijnia (39) decided to join him. Elserman quit his job at KPN, while Wijnia left ProtoSpace, Fablab Utrecht, a fabrication laboratory offering digital fabrication to hobbyists, inventors and designers.
In early 2011 Ultimaker was established and shipped out its first 3D printer. The Ultimaker costs around 1200 euro, and up to now more than 700 3D printers have been sold. The buyers are from all of the world, from America to Australia. This Makerbot-like 3D printer has a larger build area and runs at higher resolutions and speeds than the other DIY 3D printer models.
As an offshoot of the RepRap family, Ultimaker has the same spirit of being open source. The company put all construction drawings of its 3D printer online. That has more advantage than disadvantage, said De Bruijn. There are often highly skilled technicians helping in their spare time improving the Ultimakers. They do this for free, simply because they like to work and think together. De Bruijn gave the example of an engineer who works at ASML during the day and in the evening he discussed the motion system of the 3D printer and gave tips. "We innovate through sharing. "
Update: The Ultimaker team has just moved out the studio of Martjin and moved into this "new headquarter". Watch the video below:
Posted in 3D Printers
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