The 3D printing community is seemingly growing constantly in one way or another, whether it’s someone taking it on as a new hobby to print his/her own Star Wars and MARVEL figurines or the healthcare industry printing airway splints for babies with tracheobronchomalacia, a disease which makes the tiny airways around the lungs prone to collapsing.
And while 3D printing itself has been around since the mid-80s, it’s only in the last 5 years or so that it’s become a mainstream hot topic.
In this interview, we talk with Tim Elmore, inventor and founder of Filastruder, about his thoughts on the 3D printing industry, why he invented the Filastruder and more.
I became interested in 3D printing during my PhD thesis work. I needed to print various brackets and mounts for the robotic X-ray platform I was designing. The ability to think of a part in the morning, CAD it up over lunch, and hold it in my hand that afternoon was very exciting as an engineer.
3D printing is growing fairly consistently across the world, in my eyes. We’ve shipped to 87 countries and while most orders ship within the US, about a third are international. The UK has a lot of rather skilled companies in 3D printing – lots of great innovation coming from there.
I think the biggest challenge to beginners is ease of use. Contrary to most of the marketing you see in 3D printing, it just isn’t plug and play. It isn’t anywhere near as simple as say paper printers. It’s at least 5 years away from getting there – though some of the high-end printers are getting close, and even low-end printers require much less deep understanding in order to produce quality prints compared to 5 years ago.
The focus of Filastruder has always been and will always be to provide high-quality, functional products – the products that are coming out of that rapid growth and advancement. This means our products aren’t always the least expensive, but they do represent a selection of the best innovations that recent R&D in the industry has yielded.
When he’s not working on Filastruder and deep into the latest industry blogs and forums, Tim enjoys working on cars, watching basketball, traveling and hiking to places with exceptional views. In fact, he recently visited both Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks.