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Crowdfunding Loves 3D Printing

October 27, 2013

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 05:54

Note: The following was authored by Tim Caffrey, associate consultant at Wohlers Associates

3D printer startup companies have enjoyed remarkable success with crowdfunding. No fewer than 40 different campaigns are in progress or have been completed, involving Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding platforms. In fact, five of the top 15 technology funding campaigns on Kickstarter are for 3D printers.

Pledges range from about $5,000 up to nearly $3 million—the amount Formlabs raised on Kickstarter for its Form 1 printer. For most of these projects, the total amounts pledged far exceed the fundraising goals. Formlabs’ goal in its October 2012 campaign was $100,000, yet individuals pledged almost 30 times that amount.

The vast majority of personal 3D printers ($5,000 or less) are material extrusion systems, although two recent projects are for new vat photopolymerization systems. The Peachy printer is a small system with a target list price of $100. Inventor Rylan Grayston set a goal of $50,000 and raised $651,091 on Kickstarter. The fund-raising campaign for LumiFold, a foldable, portable vat photopolymerization printer, has raised 10 times its goal of $1,500. Other 3D printer projects currently raising funds include Aleph Objects’ LulzBot TAZ, Hyrel 3D, and QU-BD.

The interest and level of commitment from the crowdfunding community underscores the popularity and excitement around 3D printing. And, even though a percentage of these startups may fail, we see how two relatively new phenomena—crowdfunding and low-cost 3D printing—are working in tandem to “democratize” product development and manufacturing.

America Makes

October 12, 2013

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,event — Terry Wohlers @ 19:24

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, also referred to as NAMII, has been rebranded as America Makes. The decision was announced earlier this week during three days of meetings and related events in Youngstown, Ohio—the headquarters of the institute. The new name was a surprise to most of the institute members and affiliates. It came with some mixed reactions, although many of those that associate consultant Tim Caffrey and I spoke with warmed up to the new name.

“America Makes is a vehicle for the institute to raise its profile, reach a wider audience to include the hobbyist and the entrepreneur, and provide a richer member experience,” stated Ralph Resnick, founding director of the institute. “This is how we will become competitive. This is how we grow our nation’s economy and get ahead. This is how we lead. When America Makes, America Works,” Resnick said. The final comment resonated with the crowd.

Institute director Ed Morris and his team did an outstanding job with the three days. Most government employees were unable to attend due to the partial government shutdown, but many of them participated virtually. The headquarters facility continues to improve impressively from its humble beginnings and has developed into a beautiful showcase for the nation. My congratulations to Morris for his extraordinary accomplishments in the institute’s first year and for creating the organizational infrastructure needed to take the institute to the next level.

America Makes is made up of 65 supporting members, 26 full members, and five lead members—the top membership level. Wohlers Associates became the fourth lead member last month, followed by Boeing this week.

America Makes is the nation’s leading collaboration in additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. The institute is structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources.