crowdsourcing
Manufacturing and Process Management

Crowdsourcing Innovation: James Lee, 3D Facture

Crowdfunding sites are offering a new path for inventors with original ideas. We talk to inventors looking to gain the public’s favour...

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 Name:
James Lee           

 Job title: Co-founder

 Organisation: 3D Facture

 Location: Newark, DE

 

Product:   Draken 3D Printer

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What it does & how it works:  

Draken is a DLP-SLA 3D printer, which cures UV-sensitive resin under projected light layer by layer.

What makes it stand out compared to other 3D printers?

Draken has a few unique features different from the numerous other 3D printers being funded and out on the market right now:

Sturdy print bed with Teflon coating to dramatically reduce print bed clouding,     Use of Commercial DLP 1080P projectors to eliminate laser flare and laser aging issues, Quiet printer with no noise, Novel Passive Peel mechanism, Support for 3rd party resins, Castable and flexible resins at launch.

What’s your background, and what inspired you to come up with the idea?   

We are a team of mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineers that are enthusiastic about innovation. We use 3D printing frequently for prototyping our new designs/products and find many problems with current 3D printers on the market. The expensive ones have high resolution and good surface finish but are costly to buy and maintain, while the cheap ones don’t have the print quality we want. Thus, we decided to design and manufacture one ourselves.  

Why Kickstarter?        

Try to make our product popular and raise up our voice in the community.

Is Crowdfunding good for innovation? How so?   

Yes, the backer community is either in favour of innovation or are innovating themselves, thus might be interested in 3D printers.

Reactions on KS so far?

It is an exciting experience.  We have received a lot of valuable feedback from our backers and supporters.

What lessons have you learned from your campaign?

We hope we are better prepared, i.e., more media coverage and social media connections.  Our growth is slowing down and we hope to get our product promoted better. 

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There are many 3D printers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo – is the market over-saturated without enough standout players before it’s really taken off?

3D printing is over-heated with so many different types of printers on the market. Material cost, easy-to-use, and print resolution are still concerns that stop 3D printers from gaining a bigger user base. We hope to fill in the gap between high-end printers and cheap DIY printers to provide better user experience within the budget.

3D Printing has yet to really take off in the public sphere – what do you think needs to happen to turn people on to the concept en masse?

More

Do you think 3D printing manufacturers put enough thought into the software side of things, or is it more important to get the hardware right first?

Both software and hardware are important for 3D printers. For software, it is important to a user interface that is easy to use while flexible enough for different needs/applications.  For hardware, the key is to make printing accurate and stable.   It is the combination of these two that makes Draken a good product.

Possible business use/advantage?

Draken is ideal for art designer and innovators that need high resolution printing to test a complex design.

What next for the company and the product?

We are collecting feedback from backers to improve our design and add new features attractive to our users.  We are testing and optimizing our own resin.  Observing that from lots of Kickstarter projects suffer from delayed shipping from a few months to more than a year, we will work hard to deliver rewards to our loyal backers on time.  We are also in the process of developing our second product line with even higher resolution and larger build size.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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