Sep 8, 2017 | By Julia

Rapid prototype tooling company Other Machine Co. has officially been rebranded as “Bantam Tools,” according to a blog post made two days ago on the company’s website. The startup will continue to produce the Othermill, their most popular product, under the name Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine, but with an important change in focus: the reputable Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mill will now be geared towards industry professionals, a considerable shift from the previously targeted market of hobbyist makers.

To understand the relevance of this change, one has to go back several years—back to when Bantam Tools CEO Bre Pettis was still the optimistic founder of Makerbot, and before the SXSW documentary screened that soured his reputation. Back then, about eight years ago, Pettis was willing to bet just about anyone that desktop 3D printing was the way of the future, a bet that he sunk millions of dollars into. The ambitious CEO even appeared on a 2012 cover of WIRED magazine holding a Makerbot Replicator 2. The heading “This Machine Will Change the World” boomed overhead. “One of my early goals was to have a Makerbot on every single desktop across the entire world,” he told WIRED.

Needless to say, that goal never materialized. A couple years went by. Makerbot lagged in sales and was eventually acquired by Stratasys in 2013. Then things seemed to go from bad to worse for Pettis. In 2014 the 3D printing documentary “Print the Legend” screened at SXSW, portraying Pettis as controlling, manipulative and ruthless, amidst allegations that the enraged CEO had threatened the film’s producers with legal action. By 2015, Pettis was ready to jump ship, setting his sights on Other Machine Co., a rapid prototype tooling company popular with hobbyist makers around the world.

Other Machine Co. was particularly enticing to Pettis chiefly because of the Othermill, a highly reputable CNC mill capable of quickly producing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) with 6 millimetre trace and space. The Othermill is also known for its excellence in other CNC work such as inlay work on wood and wax carving jewelry.

The good news is that the machine itself will remain technically the same—only the name will change, along with the company’s overall rebranding. The curious thing is that Other Machine Co.’s (now Bantam Tools’) shift in focus somewhat mirrors the same shift we saw several years ago at Makerbot: just as the desktop 3D printer fell out of favour as the must-have item of the future, Pettis’ new venture has decided that basement hobbyists are no longer worth his company’s branding efforts. Instead, the newly renamed Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine will target industry professionals looking to accelerate their product development cycle.

It’s a decision that Pettis probably should have made years ago at Makerbot, but a mistake he seems ready and willing to correct now. Whether that re-branding pays off remains to be seen, but you can bet Pettis is already hedging his bets.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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dbclunie wrote at 9/10/2017 11:34:35 PM:

othermill is overpriced, period. Just like the makerbot was. don't buy it.

Conner Boutus wrote at 9/8/2017 6:02:09 PM:

I mean his brilliance is so above the rest of us. Renaming from "Other Machine Co." which has brand awareness and is at least interesting to a cockfighting bird which is illegal in most countries and even more people find disgusting is genius! The re-branding is terrible and they will have to do it again or ideally just go out of business.

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