MakerBot Case Study


Arcweb delivered everything they promised on time, in budget, and without hassle” – MakerBot


ACCELERATING A MASSIVE PRODUCT LAUNCH

MakerWare Logo


Highlights

  • Arcweb joined the MakerBot MakerWare team during the final 90 days before product launch.
  • Delivered on time and within budget while adapting to major product scope changes.
  • Implemented PC and Mac desktop installation software for seven different operating systems.
  • Created automated tests built into a virtualized Continuous Integration (CI) framework using Jenkins and VirtualBox.
  • Implemented cross-platform visual tests using the Sikuli scripting environment.
  • Product launch made the cover of Wired Magazine.

Challenges

Founded in 2009, Brooklyn-based MakerBot® (www.makerbot.com) is a global leader in desktop 3D printing. There are more than 15,000 MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers in use worldwide.

Launched in September, 2012, The MakerBot Replicator™ 2 Desktop 3D Printer is the easiest, fastest, and most affordable tool yet for making professional-quality models. Designed for the desktop of an engineer, researcher, creative professional, or anyone who loves to make things, the MakerBot Replicator 2 features 100-micron layer resolution, setting a new standard in professional looking models and true-to-life replicas. In addition, the MakerBot Replicator 2 enables users to make big objects, up to 410 cubic inches in volume (11.2” L x 6.0” W x 6.1” H).

When Arcweb was contacted, MakerBot was in the process of shipping PC and Mac software for their new MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. They needed desktop integration experts to quickly meet aggressive deadlines that coincided with MakerBot’s largest public relations campaign in company history.

The high-pressure situation required much coordination at both executive and tactical levels, as the new software was going to be available on seven different operating systems. Coupled with daily improvements, an extensive testing suite was required to maximize testing workflow efficiency.


Solution

Arcweb engineers implemented the MakerWare desktop installation software for both PC and Mac platforms across seven operating system variants. In addition, Arcweb actualized a large suite of tests in order to ensure the integrity of the software, quickly identify software defects, and minimize the workforce required for testing daily improvements. The solutions were implemented using Python, Objective-C, NSIS, PackageMaker, and Bash. A subset of the software is open source and available on the MakerBot Github Page.


Benefits

Utilizing agile software development and lean startup methodologies, Arcweb excels at fast paced, high quality product design and development. By working with Arcweb, MakerBot was able to accelerate critical product development. Deliverables were accomplished on time and executed within budget including major changes in the product scope. Arcweb also supplied on-demand expertise just before the product launch.

The MakerBot Replicator2 Desktop 3D Printer launch was a resounding success and will be viewed as one of the most epic product launches in 2012. In November, 2012, the fourth generation MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer was named Popular Mechanics “Overall Winner” for best 3D printer and was honored as one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012.

October 2012 Wired Magazine Cover