KKB Talk: Chatting with Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot

Bre Pettis makes things.

Since 2009, the CEO of 3-D printing company MakerBot has been making things — a lot of things. But it wasn’t always easy. From his apartment in Brooklyn, he sold his musical instruments and opened a bootleg cafe to make ends meet.

The former public school teacher wanted to create something unique that embraced the idea that if you can dream it, you can print it. His dream of making things and making them happen is now a reality.

With a new merger with Stratasys, MakerBot has hit a milestone. This American pioneer is making things with his Replicator 2 desktop 3-D printers.

Pettis clued us in to how he made money from being a tinkerer.

QYou were a public school teacher.

A I taught general [education], but loved middle school art: painting, drawing and pottery. I wanted the kids to be able to do anything, even sew a button. I love when young people get hold of the machines.

QHow did MakerBot start?

A I’ve always been a tinkerer. I wanted to give people the tools they need to do whatever they want to make their dream come to life. … I moved to New York seven years ago. In New York, you can’t have a workshop in your home, so I started a clubhouse filled with fantastic tools and a 3-D printer.

QWhat is NYC Resistor?

A It’s the clubhouse I started with a friend to make anything.

QWhat’s been a favorite thing to make?

A I love drawing with my 2-year-old daughter. And I love working and fixing cars.

QYou have a car fascination?

A I had to work on them because they were broken and they needed to be fixed so I could drive them. My goal is to have a MakerBot racing team.

QWhy do people

fear the age of robots?

A Because they don’t have … robot friends.

QWhat was the first thing you made with your 3-D printer?

A A shot glass to celebrate.

QHow long did it take?

A 10 minutes.

QWhat’s your favorite bar?

A Pacific Standard [in Park Slope].

QYour favorite restaurant?

A Rucola [in Boerum Hill].

QAny advice for those with an entrepreneurial spirit?

A If you have ideas, [you] just have to try them. … Keep making.