3D Printing and Prototyping
Post from SoYoon Jun ’14, founder of How To Marry:
Alfredo Gago M’12, CAM’14, the founder of Salamander’s Energy Solutions, came to visit Babson to demonstrate his newly purchased 3D printer during a peer-to-peer session organized by the Butler Venture Accelerator Program.
Gago is originally from Venezuela and is a part of the Accelerator’s hatchery program. Gago’s business, Salamander’s Energy Solutions, is an innovative, technology company aimed at offering smart solutions to energy problems. After learning about 3D printing last September, Gago decided to purchase 3D printer to build a prototype for his new product, a battery charging station that can be installed in public spaces. Unlike his initial conceptions that 3D printers are expensive, Gago was surprised to find many affordable 3D printers online. He was able to purchase his 3D printer at less than 600 dollars.
Gago shared the pros and cons of affordable 3D printers and suggested to purchase the most suitable 3D printer depending on the type of prototype one wants to build. He mentioned that more expensive 3D printers are generally faster and more precise in forming the intended shapes. The price of a 3D printer ranges from few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
There was lots of curiosity among attendees on whether or not one needs special skills to design and build a prototype. Gago shared that there are three ways in which one can successfully design a working prototype. The first way is to learn the software and designing it yourself. Free 3D design software comes with the printer and there are many websites that teach the basics of how to use the software to design. The second way is to utilize the database of many free and purchasable designs. People upload their designs online to share with others for free and one can simply download the design and run through the 3D printer. Gago suggested looking into http://www.thingiverse.com if interested in free 3D designs. The third way is to hire a 3D designer at guru.com. Guru.com is a website where one can browse freelance services and hire an agent that fits one’s needs. Gago actually chose the third way to design his prototype. He hired a 3D designer from guru.com and outsourced his prototype designs. He purposely hired a designer who was stationed in MA so that he can have face-to-face meetings for effective and clear communications. Gago highly recommended looking into guru.com as his experience with its service was both affordable and high-quality.
Gago shared that his overall experience with the 3D printer was very satisfactory as he was able to build a prototype at the minimum cost. He believes that it is always better to have something tangible when sharing business ideas as visualization gets more attention and interests from the audiences. Gago is now busy sorting out financial strategies and acquiring customers and he is excited to present his prototypes during his business pitches.
If you are interested in purchasing an affordable 3D printer, Gago recommends http://store.solidoodle.com. To access more general information on 3D printers, please refer to http://www.solidoodle.com/how-to-2.