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Makerbot axes 'scores of staff' – 3D printing just doesn't pay the bills

Morale hits new low for troubled kitchen-table factory pioneer, Reg source claims

3D printing pioneers Makerbot has culled roughly 80 employees at its Brooklyn headquarters, abolished three divisions, and closed three of its shops.

"We at MakerBot are reorganizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations," the biz said in a statement.

"With these changes, we will focus our efforts on improving and iterating our products, growing our 3D ecosystem, shifting our retail focus to our national partners and expanding our efforts in the professional and education markets."

The five-year-old upstart is one of the most high-profile 3D printer manufacturing firms; we described its Replicator 2 model as the TRS-80 of 3D printers. Makerbot had lofty goals, including a plan to put its hardware in every school in America. But these aspirations appear to have foundered on some grim realities.

A source close to the company told The Register morale at the biz has been in the dumps for a long time now. Staff have been leaving all year and haven't been replaced. The finances are so tight that Makerbot's suppliers are still waiting for payments from the firm, it is claimed.

According to our source, staff were told customer approval ratings for its 3D printers were stuck at 10 per cent and showed no signs of rising.

After a company meeting just hours ago today, employees were told of the cuts – thought to be around 20 per cent of the company's remaining 400 workers. The unlucky ones were escorted from the building with a small severance payout and a security guard by their side, we're told.

“These organizational moves are part of the continued scaling of MakerBot,” said David Reis, chief executive officer of Stratasys, which bought Makerbot in 2013 for $403m in stock.

Maybe the naysayers were right? ®

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