MakerBot, one of the companies at the fore of making 3D printing available to consumers, has just been acquired by professional-grade 3D printing company Stratasys. MakerBot will continue to operate as a separate company and under its own name, and no immediate plans for the two companies to integrate products or services have been announced. Stratasys is set to pay $604 million for MakerBot, and it should close the deal sometime this fall if it receives regulatory approval. Of that $604 million, two-thirds will be delivered immediately as stock, while the remaining third is subject to MakerBot's performance over the next two years.
While both companies work in 3D printing, they've been distinctly focused on different ends of the market. A high-end printer made by Stratasys was initially used by Defense Distributed as it tried to create a fully 3D-printed gun, while MakerBot has focused on more basic and fun applications like dressing up video game consoles. Lately, MakerBot has been working on a consumer-grade 3D scanner that would allow its users to easily create models that could later be printed. MakerBot is clearly aware that its fans could be wary of the purchase, and it's maintaining that nothing about the company's goals will change as a result of the acquisition.