More updates today. Following up on the last one, we've got an awesome video of our standalone, motor powered grinder doing it's thing. There's no safety latches on this one so we'll be monitoring it closely during Innovation Night, but it's still just as satisfying to see things get ground up!
Please note that this does not mean we're putting a motor in ProtoCycler for the grinder - we just built this setup to hep our endurance testing for the grinder and figured we'd bring it out for Innovation Night so everyone could grind stuff!
I've also had the chance to talk quickly with Chris Labelle at Mosaic Mfg. Their Palette allows you to 3D print with multiple colours or materials, all with just a single nozzle printer. And if you're going to be making tons of custom filament with ProtoCycler, it only makes sense to put it to good use and really see what your 3D printer can do with a Palette! It works by splicing filament together at specific times so that the right colour or material is always coming out of the nozzle, when it should be. Check out more at their website or recent Kickstarter, and of course don't forgot to RSVP for Innovation Night here or here so you can see it in action!
Similar to last time, questions are in bold:
Multi Colour or multi material printing has always been accomplished with multiple nozzles. What made you guys decide to do things differently?
We always believed there was a better way to achieve multiple colours than by adding nozzles. When we thought about the limitations of multiple extruders and the quality issues associated with multi-extruder prints we knew there had to be a better way, it was just a matter of thinking about what the method would look like. We know that multi-colour 3D printing will become standard one day, and believed that if we could come up with a strong enough technical solution then we could do our part to bring the industry forward.
Once you'd come up with the idea for The Palette, what was the journey like to take it through production?
We had two constraints when we were first looking into making our tech - it had to be compatible with the majority of the market, and it had to work with no modifications to the user’s printer. We examined everything from filament dyes to controlled colour pellet extruders, to multiple feeds into a single nozzle (the funnel approach) when we first started, then looked at the approach we’re pursuing today. It seemed logical, clean, and hit both of our design goals - we made the decision to pursue it and haven’t looked back.
I know you guys have been a part of Founder Fuel, and that seems to have really accelerated your growth and development. What was the experience like - would you recommend it?
Our experience at FounderFuel was very eye opening - the team at FF and Real Ventures has a ton of experience working with startups, as a result of this they have the uncanny ability to help founders better understand their business, long term value proposition, then help set you on the path you need to be on before you graduate from the program. I would definitely recommend other founders look into FounderFuel, but they should be prepared, its definitely not an easy program.
Business these days is changing - we're seeing more crowd sourcing, open source, community based development. Have you guys found it difficult to grow and progress as a company, while maintaining the more open / less corporate attitude favoured by the community?
Being personable, approachable, and friendly has always been a focus of ours - it’s something that’s relatively simple when you’re a small team (say, under 50 people). I think the real challenges present themselves when a company starts to scale more, and naturally has to become more bureaucratic as a result. Being approachable is definitely something we’re going to focus on maintaining as we scale our operations.
You've done one of the most recent Kickstarters of anyone at Innovation night. What was the experience like, and how are you finding the post - campaign rush?
Kickstarter is an interesting beast - your focus, from the time you decide to run a campaign, to the time you ship your last unit always needs to be on delivery. The day we launched Kickstarter was a ton of fun, seeing the positive response from the community was really amazing. The post campaign rush has been filled with bringing on experienced team members, optimizing The Palette for production, and securing the remainder of our supply chain.
Ok, so we can now print with multiple colours and materials from a single nozzle printer. The Kickstarter was a huge success, and you're well on your way to fulfillment. What's next for Mosaic?