re: Imagine the Possibilities

* Original post from early 2013 *

In October 2012 an eclectic group of friends submitted an application to StartUp Chile, a Chilean Government program that recruits early stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap startups in Chile, using it as a platform to go global.

Our vision:

We wanted to leverage our passion for community & innovation by introducing 3D printing to emerging markets. On November 29th, 2012 our dream became a reality when we were selected as one of 105 companies out of more than 1400 solicitations for StartUp Chile Round 6. With StartUp Chile’s support and equity from our six teammates, we have spent the past three months incorporating and preparing for two of our co-founders to move to South America. Most importantly, we began prioritizing the many opportunities we identified for the 3D printing market in Chile as well as the developing world.

What is re:3D?

re:3D is a distributed community of makers, scholars and creatives who aim to inspire 3D printed products from commercially available filament as well as other inputs such as recycled materials. These goods are being designed at the request of our mentors and partners located in the Atacama region of Northern Chile and Central Texas, where some products are already being sold.

However, we quickly learned that when you dream big, you print big!

While we draw our inspiration from the makers that have printed before us, large format objects such as composting toilets and/or large volumes of small 3D printed objects that we are piloting demand a bigger build platform than traditional printers. Unfortunately, to date, an affordable large format 3D printer has yet to be commercialized. So we decided to make our own solution.

In Jan, we unveiled our flagship technology at the Houston Mini MakerFaire. While there, we asked attendees to re:magine the possibilities they saw for our new device. Custom train sets, large quantities of brackets for electric cars, children’s museum displays, custom packaging materials, rockets, rapid prototyping of prosthetics- the opportunities are endless.

Our hope is that with your help, we can create open source experiences to re:volutionize 3D printing applications and transform the tangible world. We invite you to join our community and follow our Chilean adventures by commenting on our forums & subscribing to our email updates.

– Samantha Lynne Snabes

The Personal Factory

* Original post from early 2013 *

So how did @chief_hacker design and build the printer with the help of @gerty that everyone has been waiting for?

Step 1: Gather a bunch of friends and decide you want to change the world by transforming the tangible world.

This story spans continents and oceans and starts with my upbringing in the United States of America. When I began traveling to third world and developing nations some years ago I was compelled to use my skills and abilities for the good of others.

I often introduce myself to others as a maker. I have always been one, even before sneaking out to the tractor shed with my buddy so we could teach ourselves to use the arc welder when dad wasn’t looking. I continued to display the maker tendencies driven by curiosity, creativity and determination. I gained 15 years of experience in engineering, biomechanics and technology through school, work and play. I landed myself a job working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas where I met one of my teammates and fellow re:3D co-founder@samanthasnabes. Through our shared experiences with Engineers Without Borders where we began to be that change we wanted to see.

Simultaneously, during the last couple years the consumer grade 3D printer emerged and the rise of the DIY maker movement that continues to grow in the USA and abroad. It takes time for everyone to realize how the personal digital manufacturing revolution will affect the world but it is clear that the potential is so huge it is currently beyond our imagination. And that is extremely fascinating!

So with the announcement of our acceptance into StartUp Chile it was time to put our plan into action. It was time to order parts and start the printer build. The building blocks were selected; makerslide aluminum extrusion for the frame and bearing surface, the Azteeg X3 for electronic control for future expansion, honeycomb aluminum build surface for stability and custom designed and milled aluminum bits brings it all together. We understand the printer itself will be a breakthrough offering to the home consumer but we want that to be just the beginning. The larger goal was to design a simple yet sturdy printer to serve as a platform for innovation. The future of 3D printing will be driven by better software and new feed stock materials. Our printer is the ideal platform for which to develop the future. The size of this printer opens up a world of new possibilities not previously seen with the common desktop size 3D printer.

I am very proud and excited to introduce to you the printer we have all been waiting for. We’ve created a large-format, robust, high-speed, and customizable platform for your printing needs that is both functional & aesthetic thanks to input from @KatyJeremko. Our device serves the home hobbyist, the tinkerer, the small business owner as a tool, a toy and a personal factory. We invite you to re:magine the possibilities of our device @re_3D!

– Matthew Fiedler