“Please continue dreaming, imagining, designing, and making new things.” – The Voodoo Manufacturing Company
Millions of lives have been affected as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world. Unfortunately, catastrophic health scares usually breed financial devastation too. As unemployment has wreaked havoc on millions of household budgets in just the US alone, businesses of every size are suffering as well.
The latest casualty within the 3D printing space is Voodoo Manufacturing. This may come as a huge surprise as they were considered to be a shining star in their niche, rising quickly to become one of the world’s largest high-volume 3D printing farms.
Here is an excerpt from their recent announcement upon closing:
“Dear Voodoo Manufacturing community,
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Voodoo Manufacturing has permanently closed its doors.
COVID-19 was challenging for everyone, but we tried to continue going. We repurposed our factory to make PPE in order to help fight the pandemic and through donations and individual purchases, we were able to distribute more than 15,000 protective face shields across the U.S. Unfortunately, without a clear end to the current health crisis, Voodoo Manufacturing couldn’t make it to the other side….”
Now, we come full circle in reporting on the Brooklyn, NY-based startup, from their opening in June of 2015 to their recent sign-off just a little over five years later. In that short amount of time, there was considerable news to share as the small but dynamic company—founded by a group of engineers who previously worked at MakerBot—ascended. From beginning to end, their intent was notable in terms of continually working to bring affordability and accessibility to potential users via a refreshing business model based on fast 3D printing services with low overhead—and low prices.
The past five years marked collaborations with other companies, both big and small. Right out of the gate, business was thriving. Numerous projects were highlighted; for example, they collaborated with Autodesk and e-NABLE Community Foundation, acting as the largest donor for 3D printed prosthetics sent to kids in developing countries. Industry leaders like Autodesk, Microsoft, and Mattel also served as customers. Upon receiving $1.4 million in seed funding from investment company KPCB Edge, they were able to expand further in terms of their facility, 3D printers on hand, and doubling their team from nine to eighteen.
Voodoo continued to grow rapidly, releasing Project Skywalker, a fully functional, robot-operated 3D printer cluster in 2017. The next year, their team launched Fulfilled by Voodoo (FBV), a 3D printing fulfillment service mean to encourage entrepreneurs to open online businesses. Overall, success continued for the service bureau while the industry continued to become more competitive.
Fast forward to 2020, however, and all bets were off (pretty much for everyone) as the COVID-19 pandemic halted lives—and businesses. The Voodoo team explains that they kicked into action 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE), and distributing 15,000 face shields around the US. They re-designed their 3D printing service bureau factory and continued on due to donations and purchases, but quickly became apparent that they would not “make it to the other side.”
Small businesses within the US have been especially vulnerable during these strange and challenging financial times, but as they falter in the droves, the economy is affected substantially; in fact, as a whole, the US business sector and economy are reliant on small businesses as they are cumulatively the largest employer of workers.
For thousands of commercial endeavors, however, no matter how hard they work to keep up with new regulations after COVID or scramble into new directions to please existing or new customers, such enormous financial damage has occurred that closings have been and will continue to be inevitable.
3D printing service provider Voodoo Manufacturing has closed down for good. In an explanatory message on its main page, the New York-based startup cites the COVID-19 pandemic as the root cause, stating that a lack of clear end in sight meant the company “couldn’t make it to the other side”. Combating COVID Founded in 2015, […]
For your holiday edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’ll get business out of the way first – Wipro 3D has launched Addwize, a new Additive Technology Adoption and Acceleration Program. Moving on, Prusa interviewed animatronic model senior designer Joshua Lee about their shared interest in 3D printing. Finally, Voodoo Manufacturing helped an artist bring her 2D artistic vision to full-sized 3D life.
Additive manufacturing solutions provider Wipro 3D, a business of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, has launched a new Additive Technology Adoption and Acceleration Program called Addwize, which will address all the phases in the AM adoption cycle within academia and industry. The multi-platform, OEM-agnostic adoption program will help interested organizations and institutions fully understand 3D printing, evaluate business cases for the technology, and then scientifically use it to create value. It’s designed to help stakeholders of all levels, and academia, adopt and scale their usage of AM for business benefits.
“Wipro 3D addwize is designed and developed to support any organization or institution who is either evaluating metal Additive technology, has AM in their near future technology roadmap or has already invsted in AM, create business value using metal AM,” said Ajay Parikh, Vice President and Business Head, Wipro 3D.
“There is no lower or upper limit to the size of the organization who wants to evaluate AM.”
Prusa Interviews Animatronic Model Designer Joshua Lee
Not too long ago, the Research Content Team at Prusa met award-winning animatronic model senior designer Joshua Lee in Prague, who has over 25 years of experience in the film industry working on such movies as Prometheus, The Fifth Element, and even the Star Wars and Harry Potter series. The team took advantage of the opportunity to speak with Lee about a topic near and dear to all their hearts – 3D printing, which he uses often in his work.
“We use a lot of different techniques of 3D printing in the filming industry,” Lee told Prusa. “We only really adopted it in the last 5 years. I am really using it a lot now.
“The thing I like the most is how 3D printers help when you have really tight deadlines. The film director has a new idea and you just wish there were more hours in a day. We used to do a lot of “all-nighters” to get things made. If you’ve got your own 3D printer, you can design something quickly, press print and you can go home to bed – that’s the best thing! In the morning, you are up and running again and this amazing print awaits you there. I still get a small thrill, every time I come in and see this thing that has magically appeared there overnight.”
To hear more of what Lee had to say about the materials he uses (PLA and PETG), his preferred desktop printer (Original Prusa MK3), and specific Star Wars-related projects he used 3D printing for, check out the rest of the interview in the video below:
Voodoo Manufacturing Assists with 3D Printed Art Installation
Back in 1976, artist Agnes Denes created a 2D art piece called Probability Pyramid – Study for Crystal Pyramid, and has long since dreamed of turning into a life-size installation. In early 2019, her dream seemed like it would become reality when NYC-based art space The Shed began working with her on the project. The team didn’t have much luck with acrylic, glass, or mold injection, and so turned to Brooklyn’s Voodoo Manufacturing for assistance. There were a lot of requirements for the project – the Pyramid required several groups of bricks in unique sizes and shapes, totaling 5,442 translucent bricks that could be stacked to easily transport and form the pyramid; Voodoo 3D printed bricks that were 99% hollow, so they were less breakable and very lightweight.
“A lot of traditional manufacturing happens abroad. Because Voodoo’s factory is in Brooklyn, the team at The Shed would have an easier time accessing the parts as the sculpture was built. By the same token, as part of her commitment to environmental responsibility, it was very important for Agnes Denes to keep the production local,” Voodoo explained.
“The use of 3D printing was much more in line with her vision than traditional sculpture construction methods. This also allowed us to test multiple versions of the Pyramid digitally instead of having to build many physical versions.”
Thanks to Voodoo’s digital factory, the exhibition Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates opened on time. The retrospective, which features the 3D printed installation, will be displayed at The Shed until March 22, 2020.
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We’ve got business and education news galore in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First, Voodoo Manufacturing has launched its new Shopify app, and BeAM Machines is partnering with Empa, while Sculpteo is working with a property developer to provide 3D printed apartment models. VSHAPER has signed an agreement with educational publisher Grupa MAC, and the United Arab Emirates is introducing 3D printing into over 200 of its primary schools. The US Navy will be testing the first 3D printed ship component, and Lufthansa Technik has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. Finally, maker Thomas Sanladerer shared on YouTube about his recent visit to the Prusa headquarters.
Voodoo Manufacturing Launches Shopify App
This spring, high-volume 3D printing factory Voodoo Manufacturing began its full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service for 3D printing entrepreneurs, which allows users to outsource work like quality control and assembly for their products through its easy shopfront integrations with online marketplaces like Shopify. Now, the company has launched its own Shopify app, which will allow online sellers to create and customize 3D printed products and sell them on their own Shopify stores. Once the app is installed, users can make their first product in less than 5 minutes, which is then automatically added to their store, ready for purchase.
“We wanted to make it ridiculously easy for ecommerce stores to diversify their product offering with 3D printed products. By applying 3D printing to the print-on-demand business model, we are opening up an infinite range of product categories for Shopify merchants,” said Max Friefeld, the Founder and CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing. “The Voodoo app provides a new source of high quality, customizable, on-demand products, that don’t require any 3D design experience.”
Before the official launch this week, Voodoo piloted the service with a group of beta users, including It’s The Island Life by graphic designer and Guam native Lucy Hutcheson. She is already successfully selling six different products made with the help of the new Voodoo app.
BeAM Machines Partnering with Empa
BeAM, recently acquired by AddUp, has signed a research and development agreement with Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Together, the two will develop novel applications for BeAM’s powder-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, which uses focused thermal energy to fuse materials by melting them while they’re deposited. This makes parts manufacturing much faster. The partnership has come on the heels of Empa’s acquisition of a BeAM DED 3D printer, which is located at its Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun and is used to integrate and test out innovative components.
Patrik Hoffmann, who leads the laboratory, said, “We are very excited to collaborate with BeAM’s engineers to push the boundaries of this innovative additive manufacturing technology and to develop a whole new range of applications for Swiss industries and beyond.”
Sculpteo 3D Printing Apartment Models
Together with Sculpteo, French property developer Valoptim is working to improve customer experience by providing clients with miniaturized 3D printed models of their future apartments when they sign their contracts, so they can better visualize and prepare for moving into their new home. These small, exact replicas give new owners an immersive experience, which is a definite value add. In addition, production of the 3D printed models is local, and can be done fast.
“Sculpteo uses the best machines and 3D printing processes on the market today. At first, we had the ambition to test the feasibility of 3D printing in the real estate sector. This innovative process has proven to be extremely interesting: the realistic rendering, with high-end finishes, allowed our clients to discover a miniaturized version of their future apartment enabling them to realistically imagine themselves living in it,” said Edouard Pellerin, CEO of Valoptim. “This innovation contributes to our business dynamic: constantly improving the customer experience.”
VSHAPER and Grupa Mac Sign Agreement
Polish 3D printer manufacturer Verashape has signed an agreement with Grupa MAC, the country’s top educational publisher, in front of Poland’s education curators at the recent Future of Education Congress. Per the agreement, Grupa MAC will use a network of educational consultants to distribute the VSHAPER GO 3D printers to kindergartens and other schools in the country. Grupa MAC recognizes that 3D printers are a good way to quickly present the effects of students’ learning, and the VSHAPER GO is the perfect choice, as it is easy to use and comes with an intuitive interface of SOFTSHAPER software.
“Classes with students are a perfect environment for the use of 3D Printing. Creating a pyramid model for history lessons, the structure of a flower or a human body for biology lessons are just a few examples, and their list is limited only by the imagination of students and teachers,” said Patryk Tomczyk, a member of the Grupa MAC Management Board. “We are happy that thanks to our cooperation with VERASHAPE, 3D Printers have a chance to reach schools through our network of educational consultants.”
3D Printing to be Introduced in UAE Primary Schools
Speaking of 3D printing in education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the UAE has announced that in early 2019, a country-wide introduction of 3D printing into over 200 primary schools will commence. As part of this new technology roll out, Dubai education consultancy company Ibtikar is partnering with Makers Empire, an Australian education technology company, to deliver a program that implements 3D printing and design. Makers Empire will supply 3D software, curriculum, teacher resources, training, and support to Ibtikar, which will in turn train MoE teachers to deliver the program.
“Through this rollout of 3D technology, our students will learn to reframe needs as actionable statements and to create solutions to real-world problems,” said HE Eng. Abdul Rahman of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. “In doing so, our students will develop an important growth mindset, the skills they need to make their world better and the essential ability to persist when encountering setbacks.”
US Navy Approves Test of First 3D Printed Shipboard Part
USS Harry S. Truman
The US military has long explored the use of 3D printing to lower costs and increase the availability of spare parts. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilder in the US, has also been piloting new technologies, like 3D printing, as part of its digital transformation. In collaboration with the US Navy, the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division has worked to speed the adoption of 3D printed metal components for nuclear-powered warships. This has led to an exciting announcement by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA): a metal drain strainer orifice (DSO) prototype has officially been approved as the first 3D printed metal part to be installed on a US Navy ship. The assembly is a component for the steam system, which allows for drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. The 3D printed DSO prototype will be installed on the USS Harry S. Truman in 2019 for evaluation and tests. After one year, the assembly will be removed for inspection and analysis.
“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability. By targeting CVN 75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so-if successful-we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.
Lufthansa Technik Opens New Additive Manufacturing Center
Lufthansa Technik, a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for civil aircraft, has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. The goal of the new AM Center is to bundle and expand the company’s experience and competence with the technology, which can be used to make individual parts more quickly and with more design freedom. As the world of aircraft is always aware of weight, making more lightweight parts is an excellent benefit of 3D printing.
“The new AM Center will serve as a collaborative hub where the experience and skills that Lufthansa Technik has gained in additive manufacturing can be bundled and further expanded,” said Dr. Aenne Koester, the head of the new AM Center. “The aim is to increase the degree of maturity of the technologies and to develop products that are suitable for production.”
Tom’s 3D Visits Prusa Headquarters
Maker Thomas Sanladerer, who runs his own YouTube channel, recently had the chance to tour the Prusa Research headquarters in Prague. Not only did he get the opportunity to see how the company makes its popular MK3 and and MK2.5, but Sanladerer was also able to see early models of the company’s recently announced SL1 resin 3D printer, as well as the Prusament filament production line.
“I always find factory tours like this super interesting because it’s the only chance you really get of seeing behind the scenes of what might really just be a website, or you know, a marketing video or whatever,” Sanladerer said in his video.
Sanladerer took the tour of the Prusa factory right after Maker Faire Prague, which the company itself organized and sponsored. To see behind the scenes of Prusa for yourself, check out the rest of the video below:
Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
I caught up with Voodoo Manufacturing CEO Max Friefeld to learn more about a newly launched Shopify App, how to manage a print farm with over 200 3D printers, and learn his thoughts about a perennial 3D printing forum favorite – food safety and 3D printed cookie cutters. By means of introduction Shopify is an […]