admin

Episode 12: Essentium – Scaling 3D Printing

Where else will you find a podcast on 3D printing that references cassette tapes and cowboy hats???

In this new episode of our 3D Printing series, we talk with Blake Teipel, CEO and cofounder of Essentium. Blake is perhaps the best person to explain how the success of 3D printing relies on the synergy of machines, software and materials. He started as a design engineer, went back to school for a PhD in materials science, and then set out to create 3D printing solutions that can better solve the hard design problems faced by engineers. 

Before co-founding Essentium, Blake worked at two large industrial companies, John Deere and Caterpillar. Based on this experience, Blake concluded that the primary advantage of Essentium’s 3D printing solutions had to be speed: only speed can allow 3D printing machines to produce large numbers of parts at lower cost, and make them economically competitive at large scale against traditional manufacturing techniques. For Blake, this is the secret sauce that will allow 3D printing to play an increasingly large role in industry. 

In the episode, we discuss cybersecurity, and how Essentium uses software to check the materials and the production protocols, including for example the extrusion temperature, so that the parts produced can be certified, protecting against counterfeiting (and without using blockchain, to Michael’s great satisfaction and relief…)

We also discuss how 3D printing will transform global supply chains, shifting production closer to the ultimate consumers. While at the moment this has supported reshoring of manufacturing to the US, as in emerging markets wages rise and consumers get wealthier, we should see more production move closer to these increasingly attractive developing markets. 

An important note: don’t forget to stick around for our Ricky’s Reports from the Edge segment, at the end of the show.

Episode 12: Essentium – Scaling 3D Printing

Where else will you find a podcast on 3D printing that references cassette tapes and cowboy hats???

In this new episode of our 3D Printing series, we talk with Blake Teipel, CEO and cofounder of Essentium. Blake is perhaps the best person to explain how the success of 3D printing relies on the synergy of machines, software and materials. He started as a design engineer, went back to school for a PhD in materials science, and then set out to create 3D printing solutions that can better solve the hard design problems faced by engineers. 

Before co-founding Essentium, Blake worked at two large industrial companies, John Deere and Caterpillar. Based on this experience, Blake concluded that the primary advantage of Essentium’s 3D printing solutions had to be speed: only speed can allow 3D printing machines to produce large numbers of parts at lower cost, and make them economically competitive at large scale against traditional manufacturing techniques. For Blake, this is the secret sauce that will allow 3D printing to play an increasingly large role in industry. 

In the episode, we discuss cybersecurity, and how Essentium uses software to check the materials and the production protocols, including for example the extrusion temperature, so that the parts produced can be certified, protecting against counterfeiting (and without using blockchain, to Michael’s great satisfaction and relief…)

We also discuss how 3D printing will transform global supply chains, shifting production closer to the ultimate consumers. While at the moment this has supported reshoring of manufacturing to the US, as in emerging markets wages rise and consumers get wealthier, we should see more production move closer to these increasingly attractive developing markets. 

An important note: don’t forget to stick around for our Ricky’s Reports from the Edge segment, at the end of the show.

Episode 11: MELD – Most Disruptive New Technology

Our journey into the world of 3D Printing continues today with Nanci Hardwick, CEO of MELD Manufacturing Corporation—Last year, MELD was voted the Most Disruptive New Technology Award at the R&D 100 awards.

3D Printing includes a variety of techniques and processes, each with their own advantages and each best suited for a different use. (You can learn about several of these technologies in the first episode of this miniseries, with 3DHub’s Ben Redwood.) So what makes MELD unique, and what is it best suited for? Nanci argues that MELD offers two key advantages:  its ability to produce large-size parts and second, the fact that MELD machines can operate out in the field, not just in a controlled environment.

MELD machines are not what you would use to print the nifty, intricate, paper-weight sized metal objects that you often get handed if you visit a 3D printing shop. No, MELD comes into its own with big parts like a 30-feet long tractor-trailer rail. Other 3D printing companies we have interviewed on our show say that they can reach large scale thanks to the speed of their machine. When they say “scale”, they mean the large number of parts they can print in an hour or in a day. When MELD boasts about scale, they talk about the actual size of an individual part—though it can’t print an entire spaceship yet… 

We also discuss with Nanci how additive manufacturing—3D printing, that is—will change our lives, and why you should encourage your children to pursue interdisciplinary passions. Nanci’s vision of the future was truly inspiring.

Don’t Forget: please share the episode with a friend!

Episode 11: MELD – Most Disruptive New Technology

Our journey into the world of 3D Printing continues today with Nanci Hardwick, CEO of MELD Manufacturing Corporation—Last year, MELD was voted the Most Disruptive New Technology Award at the R&D 100 awards.

3D Printing includes a variety of techniques and processes, each with their own advantages and each best suited for a different use. (You can learn about several of these technologies in the first episode of this miniseries, with 3DHub’s Ben Redwood.) So what makes MELD unique, and what is it best suited for? Nanci argues that MELD offers two key advantages:  its ability to produce large-size parts and seond, the fact that MELD machines can operate out in the field, not just in a controlled environment.

MELD machines are not what you would use to print the nifty, intricate, paper-weight sized metal objects that you often get handed if you visit a 3D printing shop. No, MELD comes into its own with big parts like a 30-feet long tractor-trailer rail. Other 3D printing companies we have interviewed on our show say that they can reach large scale thanks to the speed of their machine. When they say “scale”, they mean the large number of parts they can print in an hour or in a day. When MELD boasts about scale, they talk about the actual size of an individual part—though it can’t print an entire spaceship yet… 

We also discuss with Nanci how additive manufacturing—3D printing, that is—will change our lives, and why you should encourage your children to pursue interdisciplinary passions. Nanci’s vision of the future was truly inspiring.

Don’t Forget: please share the episode with a friend!

Episode 10: Impossible Objects — Technological Change and Psychological Lock-in

Today’s episode is  a conversation with Bob Swartz, the founder and chairman of Impossible Objects. Although that title does a disservice to his resume. He literally grew up in in the manufacturing business, watching his father figure out how to design and build things; he’s been a consultant to the MIT Media lab, he’s got several patents, which he’s licensed to major corporations … through his own patent licensing company; he’s founded and operated software companies, advertising companies, telephony companies; he is a true polymath. He’s also something of a philosopher, which makes for a wonderful conversation.


As for Bob’s current company, Impossible Objects, It uses a composite based additive manufacturing process – CBAM –  which yields superior material properties. Like the other additive manufacturing companies we interview for this miniseries, Impossible Objects is aimed for the big boy manufacturing market – some of the users they brag about include Ford and the US Air Force. But this conversation with Bob is about much more than their customers, its about technological change, psychological lock in, economic ripple effects of new technologies, and more. AND, outside of a fantastic and fanstastical scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, this conversation has my favorite use of Marshal McLuhan to make a point. 🙂

If you haven’t already done so, you may want to check out episode 1 of this mini-series with Ben Redwood of 3DHubs, both to help you understand some of the technical terms used in this conversation – Ben goes through many of the different technologies that make up the current universe of 3D printing, and to get the URLs for some free material about 3DPrinting, created by 3DHubs. Ben also talks about the industry at large, which may give you some useful context. 

One last thing – immediately after the conversation with Bob, we’ve got a quick update from Ricky Buch, so stick around for Ricky’s Reports from the Edge.

Episode 10: Impossible Objects — Technological Change and Psychological Lock-In

Today’s episode is  a conversation with Bob Swartz, the founder and chairman of Impossible Objects. Although that title does a disservice to his resume. He literally grew up in in the manufacturing business, watching his father figure out how to design and build things; he’s been a consultant to the MIT Media lab, he’s got several patents, which he’s licensed to major corporations … through his own patent licensing company; he’s founded and operated software companies, advertising companies, telephony companies; he is a true polymath. He’s also something of a philosopher, which makes for a wonderful conversation.


As for Bob’s current company, Impossible Objects, It uses a composite based additive manufacturing process – CBAM –  which yields superior material properties. Like the other additive manufacturing companies we interview for this miniseries, Impossible Objects is aimed for the big boy manufacturing market – some of the users they brag about include Ford and the US Air Force. But this conversation with Bob is about much more than their customers, its about technological change, psychological lock in, economic ripple effects of new technologies, and more. AND, outside of a fantastic and fanstastical scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, this conversation has my favorite use of Marshal McLuhan to make a point. 🙂

If you haven’t already done so, you may want to check out episode 1 in this series, with Ben Redwood of 3DHubs, both to help you understand some of the technical terms used in this conversation – Ben goes through many of the different technologies that make up the current universe of 3D printing, and to get the URLs for some free material about 3DPrinting, created by 3DHubs. Ben also talks about the industry at large, which may give you some useful context. 

One last thing – immediately after the conversation with Bob, we’ve got a quick update from Ricky Buch, so stick around for Ricky’s Reports from the Edge.

The Robots Are Coming For Your Job

This well-researched New Yorker article provides a fairly balanced perspective on the question of how many of us will be made unemployed by robots–and how quickly. The article offers a variety of points, which mirror the ongoing disagreement between the two of us. Marco–who rolled his eyes at the title–argues that robots are having great fun playing chess, Go, checkers, pog, soccer, basketball…while humans take out the trash, jackhammer roads under the hot sun, work dangerous construction jobs, and…still drive trucks. Michael argues that the progress in robotics and AI moves so fast that we’ll eventually reach an inflection point when a wide range of jobs can be automated at once–and he argues economists will be among the first to go. We both agree that we need to do a better job at understanding the future impact of automation and how to deal with it; if you are also thinking about these issues, this article can help you map the territory.

Episode 9: Markforged — Breaking Technology Barriers in 3D Printing

For the second episode in our miniseries on Additive Manufacturing, we interview Greg Mark, founder and CEO of Markforged (along with their Director of Communications Trak Lord).

Deloitte recently ranked Markforged 10th in their 2018 North America Technology Fast 500 Rankings. Forbes put them on a list of next billion dollar startups.  

But the company’s success isn’t the only thing that makes this interview interesting.  Business economists should listen closely to what Greg says about, for example, the increased economies of scale. And investors should pay attention when he talks about massive consolidation that inevitably will hit the industry. And technologists should be on the lookout for his predictions on breaking technology barriers and the certainty of advance. And manufacturers should pay attention to the things that his technology can do. And for the rest of us – just keep being curious!

Episode 9: Markforged — Breaking Technology Barriers in 3D Printing

For the second episode in our miniseries on Additive Manufacturing, we interview Greg Mark, founder and CEO of Markforged (along with their Director of Communications Trak Lord).

Deloitte recently ranked Markforged 10th in their 2018 North America Technology Fast 500 Rankings. Forbes put them on a list of next billion dollar startups.  

But the company’s success isn’t the only thing that makes this interview interesting.  Business economists should listen closely to what Greg says about, for example, the increased economies of scale. And investors should pay attention when he talks about massive consolidation that inevitably will hit the industry. And technologists should be on the lookout for his predictions on breaking technology barriers and the certainty of advance. And manufacturers should pay attention to the things that his technology can do. And for the rest of us – just keep being curious!

Episode 8: 3D Hubs — A 3D Printing Primer

Our mini series on 3D Printing starts with Ben Redwood of 3D Hubs offering a primer on the technology