One of the founders of Dreambox, the 3D printing vending-style service launching at the UC Berkeley Campus on March 25th, tells 3D Focus he hopes it will be the start of many.
Dreambox was an idea from David Pastewka, Richard Berwick and Will Drevno who all met at a mobile application development class at UC Berkeley in 2011. It came about after they got frustrated with the slow process of 3D printing on UC Berkeley Campus.
Long queues and the alternative of online companies taking ten to twelve days to fullfill a print order slowed down the design iteration process enough for them to think of a solution.
The way it will work is a user will upload their design to a Dreambox server or directly to the nearest machine via a USB stick. If customers do not have their own 3D models, they will have the option of selecting an item from a catalog of designs or using one of many applications that let users customise 3D models (e.g. adding contact information to a luggage tag for example).Once they click 'print', the design is placed in a line.
Being automatic, it will run for 24/7 and the user will receive a code on their phone informing them when it is ready and what to type in to access the storage compartment (a bit like Amazon Lockers).
The founders claim there can be an unlimited number of end-users and materials that can be used include ABS, PLA (bioplastic), nylon, wood, metals and more.
Talking to 3D Focus, David Pastewka said: “We are 3D printer agnostic so that we can work with our customers to deliver them the exact type(s) of finished goods they're looking for from our machine. To give you an especially vague example, we've had customers more interested in delivering a specific product than simply allowing individuals to "print whatever they want." We have currently only designed systems around FDM printers, some of which can print down to 50 microns with the right tweaking."
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David Pastewka hopes the commercial venture will expand, firstly in-house and then possibly through franchising once the product and support capabilities are ‘nailed down’.
It is likely, if successful, other Universities will look at deploying Dreambox units for designers and engineers, which could potentially be connected together globally via IP for international collaboration.
The founders may even look at seeking online integration:
“In the right application, say at a university, integrating with someone like Shapeways makes a ton of sense. It really comes down to filling the customers needs and if those needs include wanting a greater range of available materials, we'll do our best to deliver it.” said Pastewka.
More information can be found on the corporate site at www.3dreambox.com.
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