3-D printing leader Stratasys buying MakerBot

3-D printing models
A variety of pieces printed using 3-D technology are displayed at Stratasys in Eden Prairie, Minn. Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

A Twin Cities firm that is also a leader in the 3-D printing industry is buying a major competitor.

Eden Prairie-based Stratasys has struck a $400 million stock deal to acquire MakerBot of New York. Both companies make machines that can create objects from car parts to artificial limbs by methodically laying down thin layers of molten plastic.

MakerBot has focused on desktop machines for consumers and engineers, designers, architects and other professionals working on their own. The company has sold more than 22,000 3-D printers since 2009. Its devices typically cost $1,000 to $2,000.

Meanwhile, Stratasys has dominated the industrial-grade side of the 3-D printing business, with machines costing as much as $600,000. The companies say their union should drive faster adoption of 3-D printing.

MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys, maintaining its own identity, products and market strategy.

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