3D printing is literally changing the way we manufacture products. Everyday, more and more innovative new companies are entering the space across varying industries.
Recent examples include HealthTech startup AbilityMate and SportsTech platform Disrupt. Another new player to the space is Made For Me, a Canberra-based startup with plans to dispel the view that 3D printing is a fad and prove that it is in fact a commercially viable business powered by industrial-grade technology.
Made For Me is an online marketplace that is helping connect designers and engineers with 3D printing businesses. The platform compares and contrasts different suppliers, a feature that’s highly valuable in what cofounder and CEO James Antifaer calls a “highly fragmented industry”.
“3D printing is a very complex field,” said Antifaer. “It encompasses a wide range of different manufacturing technologies, materials and suppliers…so we’re trying to make it as simple as possible for the end user, so they can make decisions without having to be an expert on all of those things.”
Because industrial 3D printing is still quite a niche area, the amount of information and transparency available to designers is underwhelming, and it’s not easy for businesses to find reliable, industrial-grade 3D printers. It’s this shortfall in information that Made For Me seeks to address.
The idea began as part of the Griffin Accelerator, a privately-funded accelerator program based out of the ACT that has produced high-growth startups such as Quizling and Enabled Employment.
Made For Me also won Canberra’s Startup Camp in 2014 and has been generating revenue from direct sales since day one.
Last year it partnered up with Lab 22, the CSIRO’s 3D printing centre, to play a part in promoting metals printing and product development in Australia. It’s hoped that the centre, which houses $6 million worth of 3D printing resources, will make the technology more accessible and affordable for companies across the country.
The startup prides itself in meeting with every supplier to ensure that the quality of product is consistent. This also helps to make sure suppliers are real businesses with industrial capability and not just hobbyists with desktop 3D printers.
Made For Me targets designers and engineers, who can upload 3D files and prototypes and get dozens of quotes from Australian and North American 3D printing suppliers at the click of a button.
The platform doesn’t just save users time and money, it also helps them make intelligent decisions about a technology that is highly complex. The number of different materials, processes and machines that exist can make it daunting for someone who is just getting started with 3D printing. Made For Me simplifies these choices to make it easier for designers and businesses to make to shift to 3D printing.
Antifaer said, “Our focus right now is to continually add to our network of local suppliers and to keep expanding internationally.”
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