Tag Archives: interview

Video: Wired Interviews 3D Systems CEO and Aspiring Engineers

Cubify Robotics Competition 3D Printing

Wired design correspondent Mike Senese interviews 3D Systems CEO Abe Reichental and a couple of aspiring engineers about the future of 3D printing. This video was taken at a FIRST robotics competition held at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA. 3D Systems brought several dozen of their Cube 3D printers, part of the Cubify system.


Cubify photo by donjd2 used under Creative Commons license.

Interview: Protos Eyewear Combines Fashion, Tech, and 3D Printing

Protos Eyewear 3D Printing

Finding a pair of glasses that fit properly and look good is a painstaking process. Could 3D printing help with this? Protos Eyewear thinks so.

Protos is an eyewear company based in San Francisco that uses 3D printing to manufacture their frames. This intricate layering process results in bold and striking designs that are impossible to make through standard manufacturing methods. Protos eyewear is lightweight and durable, and the material provides a unique look and feel.

We interviewed Protos founder and CFO Richart Ruddie to learn more about the company.

On3dPrinting: How did you and your founders come up with this idea?

Ruddie (Protos): We have always had a passion for eyewear. It’s a product that is almost dominated by a company called Luxotica and we are able to enter the market with a unique niche that they have not caught on as of yet. They’re fun to design because they require such attention to detail in regards to proportions and ergonomics. If you change the silhouette by as little as 1 millimeter, it can totally change the character and the fit of the frame. 3D printing is just getting to a point where it is inexpensive enough to use as a viable manufacturing method, and the materials are finally starting to become strong enough to be consumer grade. These factors are what motivated us to start the company.

On3dPrinting: What is the consumer benefit of 3D printed sunglasses?

Ruddie (Protos): Eyewear with an unparalleled aesthetic (see below for the pixel pair in particular). Soon to be custom fit eyewear that we will be able to take anybody’s facial dimensions and make custom fitted glasses for them which we believe is the next big thing in the industry. We are beta-testing tailored fit glasses right now and would be proud to let a few of your readers and yourself to join the beta process.

Protos Pixelated Eyewear 3D Printing

On3dPrinting: Is there a business or cost advantage with 3D printing technology over traditional manufacturing?

Ruddie (Protos): You have no upfront tooling costs. So you could easily develop hundreds and hundreds of different models at no cost. You also can make the glasses to order and eliminate the need for backstock.

On3dPrinting: Who is your target customer?

Ruddie (Protos): Techies, fashionistas

On3dPrinting: We would imagine some customers would be concerned about fit. Do you offer any guarantees?

Ruddie (Protos): We do have a return policy in place:

On3dPrinting: You’ve been in business for over a year. Any data you can report about your growth?

Ruddie (Protos): We have been putting together everything over the last year or so. We had a great launch party in San Francisco which had 75 designers, fashionistas, techies, and other SF’ers and they all loved the glasses. We sold out that night and have been working on improving our line of products since than. We just recently launched to the public and sell sunglasses right on the website. As of right now growth is slow as we work on getting the word out and connecting with others that are interested in the products.

On3dPrinting: Where can someone design and buy a pair?

Ruddie (Protos): Contact us directly and we can discuss customized pairs on both a single level and mass production basis.

Interview: Idle Print Looks to Monetize Spare Cycles in 3D Printing

Startup Tucson Idle Print

Idle Print is trying to help people find solutions for their 3D printing needs at a fraction of the cost, while also helping people who own 3D printers make some income on the side. Idle Print is an online marketplace that allows sellers with 3D printers to find buyers who need an object printed. The company was created by Kevin Nuest and Blaine Wilson and debuted at Startup Tucson.

We spoke with Idle Print and here’s the transcript of the interview.

On3DPrinting: Hi Blaine, thanks for taking time to answer a few questions. First, what problem are you trying to solve at Idle Print?

Idle Print: The 3D printing market suffers from great inefficiency.  Lead times are often measured in days if not weeks, and commercial services aren’t cheap.  Meanwhile the rate of innovation and development of open source 3D printers is driving machine prices downward and capability upwards.  Our founding assumption is that these two segments are ready to converge.

On3DPrinting: How much money do you think an end user can make?

Idle Print: That will depend on a great many things; supply/demand, additional services, marketing, capability, etc.   We hope to enable proficient operators with a capable machines to make a living doing this, though I’m sure we’ll see a range of users from hobbiests to full-time users with a garage full of bots cranking out parts.  If you consider the average cost of commercial print jobs, having a single machine generate a day’s salary at minimum wage isn’t unreasonable, and depending on how you calculate it, conservative.

Additionally, we hope for this to be a platform to offer additional services to supplement revenue via 3D modeling, scanning, post processing, etc. We want to enable users to provide a bit more than just printing, though that’s certainly the foundation.

Idle Print Logo

On3DPrinting: Why wouldn’t someone just order a print from Shapeways or i.materialise rather than ordering from a consumers’ 3D printer?

Idle Print: In a word – Efficiency.  Shapeways is running a several week backlog on their least expensive material and I’ve never heard of anyone getting anything back from Solid Concepts in less than three days.  As someone in manufacturing who needs a model RIGHT NOW, that’s not acceptable.  Meanwhile those same companies start their pricing at $1.40 per cubic cm.  Last I checked, ABS is ~$.04 per ccm.  While that’s not an apples to apples comparison, we believe there’s certainly room for such a service to compete with (if not supplement) existing commercial printers.

Additionally, we hope to help accelerate the shift from 3D printing from the domain of engineering offices and product developers to everyone else.  Companies such as Makerbot and Cubify already spearheading the effort, making the service more efficient and available is our contribution to that goal.

On3DPrinting: How does someone get involved in Idle Print?

Idle Print: The best way to stay updated is via facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IdlePrint.

Additionally, if you’d like to be notified once the service is up & running, you can sign up here: http://idleprint.co/ (still in early alpha)

On3DPrinting: Thanks Blaine! Good luck with Idle Print.

Neil Gershenfeld Speaks With RadioNZ (New Zealand), Talks 3D Printing

Neil Gershenfeld 3D Printing

Father of the Fab Lab movement and MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld speaks with RadioNZ about the current status of personal fabrication.

“It’s all a big accident,” Professor Gershenfeld starts out.

He goes on to say that we’re building micro-LEGOs to fabricate objects digitally. Listen to the full interview below.


Neil Gershenfeld photo by etech used under Creative Commons license.

Read more articles about Neil Gershenfeld.

Forbes 3D Printing Interview with Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen

Peter Weijmarshausen Shapeways CEO

Forbes recently sat down with Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen to talk about 3D printing.

In his remarks, Weijmarshausen compared traditional manufacturing processes to the innovative approach of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

3D printing technology was commercially invented in 1989, and had been in use for prototyping for a number of years. So, in that traditional design process, designers might have actually used 3D printers to make product prototypes. But the costs have come down a lot, and the materials these printers can work with have expanded from plastics to materials like stainless steel, silver, ceramics, and glass – with many more coming. And the answer to that original question turned out to be “absolutely yes.” There are an amazing number of real products that can be made directly with this technology. For example, my iPhone case is 3D printed. My cufflinks are 3D printed. Even my coffee cup is 3D printed.

Weijmarshausen also gave his predictions about the future.

In many ways. Think back to what we discussed about how mass manufactured products are made, and I can tell you there are inherent benefits to direct-from-digital manufacturing. First, the time from concept to actual product is condensed from years to a matter of days. We have one user who launched an iPad cover four days after the iPad launched in 2010. He didn’t have any help from Apple – he just bought an iPad in the store and designed a beautiful cover in a few days and then made it commercially available on Shapeways. So, the time to market is compressed immensely. The other key aspect is that the risk of going to market is almost non-existent, because your investment is only the design of the product itself.

The other big thing about 3D printing is the freedom it offers. For almost 100 years, designers have been trained to think within the limits of traditional manufacturing technology. 3D printing allows you to make incredibly complex designs at no additional cost: interlocking components, naturally hinged parts, semi-translucent surfaces, and even objects that can move on their own without assembly (like the strandbeest). You can make things that were not even possible before. And one of the most exciting things for me is to see young designers in schools being directly influenced by the availability of this technology. We will see products emerge that we’ve never imagined before – mind blowing shapes and solutions. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next five years.


Read the full interview at Forbes.

Peter Weijmarshausen photo by Dave Pinter used under Creative Commons license.