Every year Matt Cushman throws a pre-Mardi Gras party. At his 2013 smoked brisket and other grilled meatsfest, Matt and I got to talking about 3D printing and what you could do with it. We realized that both of us were coming at the problem from different directions and passions, but with similar interests. While we were interested in the breadth of capabilities that 3D printing offers (more on this in later blogs), we were both thinking of things you could do with the technology beyond just hobby and home use. The technology has been around for over twenty years, but recently garnered interest with things like:
All of these things were pertinent to what Matt and I were talking about, but for us we saw it not only as neat technology, but something that was capable of being a small business that could work with people to access the technology in interesting ways.
The two of us started putting our heads together and sketched out a business model that melded a Rapid Prototyping business model along with the concept of printing difficult customizable products for people that would be a stretch for home users either because of the skills needed to create the content or the limits of home printers. These ideas really started to gel and gain momentum when we first met with Abe Whitehead. All of us bring different skill sets to the table, Matt’s engineering background, my organizational and business skills, and Abe’s experience launching one small business and his fearless approach to moving forward with another.
It was this pyramid of people that decided to jump in, incorporate, and purchase our first Fused Deposition Modeling (more on this in a later blog) printer in the summer of 2013. The Mega Prusa printer we purchased was not only a capable, if finicky, machine, but an excellent foray into the amazing world of 3D printing. We not only discovered the flexibility of the technology, but it validated our belief that there is a market for bridging the potentials of 3D printing and the consumer. We liked it so much that we jumped in and purchased a ProJet 660 in order to do pursue what we wanted to print and to offer professional grade printing technology to companies and individuals in St. Louis, MO.
At heart we are three guys who love the technology and believe that there is so much that it can do. Even after owning two different types of printers and printing countless objects, I still find myself watching the machines do their work (and so can you). There is something intrinsic to the process of creation that makes 3D printing so cool. Our roots come from our passion to make things and 3D printing allows an outlet for us to design, create, and actualize almost anything in a variety of materials. Beyond all of the hype, that is pretty awesome.