Founder Profile: Redefining On-Demand Manufacturing

 
R3 Printing on Republic

Safe, Fast, and Efficient: The Future of Enterprise 3D Printing.

Summary

As of 6/26/2019, R3 Printing had raised $59,855

 

We first learned of R3 Printing a little over a year ago when the team launched their first campaign on Republic. As we began to dig in and learn about how this team was building a more efficient and cost effective 3D printer, we became acquainted with Co-Founder Dan Downs.

At the time he spoke to us about the various opportunities in front of the team that could exist if they executed well over the next 12 months. This included opportunities to work with larger entities such as the US government. 

A year later, the team has made significant progress on the product development and business development side of things. Overall, the business is moving towards a place where they can execute as a formidable player in the on-demand manufacturing space with their growing suite of products and sales opportunities. 

We sat down with Dan to learn more about where R3 Printing is headed and how you can become a part of this exciting tech-enabled industrial automation company. 


We sat down with Dan to learn more about where R3 Printing is headed and how you can become a part of this exciting tech-enabled industrial automation company. 
Kingscrowd
For those who are hearing of r3 printing for the first time, can you give us a short synopsis about the business?
Dan

Absolutely. R3 Printing is a New York-based industrial automation company that’s disrupting the $16 billion-dollar additive manufacturing industry with groundbreaking hardware products. This year, we’re bringing to market R3 Printer, an enterprise-grade 3D printer designed for on-demand manufacturers (ODMs). Our vision is to lower the cost of 3D printing services to the point that custom, 3D-printed products are able to penetrate the mainstream market and compete with their mass-produced counterparts.

 R3 Printer is designed from the inside-out to be the ultimate platform for running a scalable on-demand manufacturing service. It’s engineered to print faster, bigger, and operate 24/7 thanks to patent-pending technology that virtually eliminates jams. With R3 Printer, businesses operating fleets of 3D printers can finally achieve the scale they need to price their services at a level that can compete with mass production. You can read about this more on our campaign page on Republic: https://republic.co/r3-printing 

Kingscrowd
Dan, it’s been a year since we last spoke. tell us about some of the significant developments for r3 printing that have occurred since then.
Dan

But it feels like yesterday! Nothing but forward momentum, and we’ve only continued to pick up steam. Since last year, we graduated from the OCEAN Accelerator in Cincinnati, and were subsequently invited to share our vision on stages in three other states and at LAUNCH Festival in Sydney. Our customer base has now grown to include the United States Air Force and we’ve received federal government grant funding to help us execute on the customer discovery process and understand the USAF’s pain points as they move to adopt additive manufacturing technology.

On the product side of things, we are now in the Design for Manufacturing (DFM) stage. This means that we’re tweaking the final design of various components and systems to make them cheaper to manufacture and/or easier to assemble, which translates into cost savings as well. 

For example, the printhead has been re-engineered to be a two-piece design that can be manufactured by CNC milling (as opposed to requiring DMLS metal 3D printing in our last-gen design), which not only lowers our risk by using a more traditional manufacturing method, but also drastically cuts the production cost. 

We’ve also improved on the construction of R3 Printer’s sheet metal chassis to use fewer parts which not only eases assembly, and therefore reduces costs, but also makes it stiffer- an added benefit to ensuring print quality at high speeds.

Kingscrowd
Who’s on the team today and will you be growing the team once you have raised additional capital?
Dan

The core team consists of myself and my co-founder, Paul Sieradzki. Paul is the engineer and inventor behind our products and our patents, while I handle the business development and sales/fundraising strategy side of the business.

Our extended team includes Sarah Pavis, a full-stack mechanical engineer with over 10 years of experience. She’s been instrumental in our Design-for-Manufacture/Design-for-Assembly (DFM/DFA) process as we approach the final stages of preparing R3 Printer for its market launch.

We of course have an intellectual property attorney. That would be Matthew G Miller of MG Miller Intellectual Property Law. As an entrepreneur himself with lots of experience working with startups, Matt helped us build our robust IP portfolio, even with the constraints of early-stage startup budgeting. We highly recommend his firm to any young startup, especially in the hardware space.

We’re fortunate to have Petra Wood on our extended team, she brings her creative mind and digital marketing experience to the table as we build out our brand presence online and sketch out a marketing strategy for the launch of R3 Printer. Our other advisors include Ray Spoljaric, CEO of Aloe Care Health; and Len Gray, former general counsel to Interplay Ventures.

We absolutely have plans to grow our team, even as soon as this summer. For those interested in joining us, follow us on LinkedIn where we’ll post the openings as we create them.

Kingscrowd
Can you tell us a bit more about the government grant funding and what potential upside opportunities that presents?
Dan

Sure. R3 Printing is a recipient of federal government grant funding from the United States Air Force through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program awards grants to companies by “topic,” and the SBIR topic for which R3 Printing was awarded a grant was 19.1-005, Open Call for Innovative Defense-Related Dual-Purpose Technologies/Solutions with a Clear Air Force Stakeholder Need

Our goal was to explore whether our commercial-market technology (R3 Printer) was a potential solution to solve any of the problems faced by the men and women of the Air Force.

 I’m pleased to say that we received great product/market-fit signals from several prospective Air Force end-users, and we’ve relayed that back to the Air Force in our final report deliverable. Working with the Air Force has significant long-term upside opportunity, mainly in the form of exposure to an entire new market sector. Before this engagement, we were only targeting the commercial sector, but now we have the Air Force (and other Department of Defense branches) as potential customer bases to address with our innovative additive manufacturing technology. That’s huge.

Kingscrowd
What do you think intrigued afwerx and the united states air force about engaging with you on this government grant?
Dan

R3 Printer is a really robustly-built 3D printer. It’s a product that’s meant to continue generating revenue for our target customers through hell and high water. Similar to how modern-day datacenter products are designed, even if there was a cutover to generator power, or an HVAC outage, or some other disturbance that would interrupt the operation of a “regular” consumer product, R3 Printer is the platform that keeps your business running.

Understandably, the Air Force thinks similarly about the products it chooses to support its operations, so I think it was just a natural fit. The added bonus is that R3 Printer checks the box for one of the 19.1-005 grant’s key mandates: a commercial-market solution with clear applicability for solving present Air Force problems. Because we designed R3 Printer for the commercial market and view the defense industry as an additional – not the only – serviceable market, we satisfy that requirement pretty clearly.

Kingscrowd
  on the commercial side, it seems like you’re now considering building out more software to support customers. what do these features look like?
Dan

Software features were always a consideration, it’s just with our most recent campaign that we decided to shed a light on some of the more forward-looking plans for revenue generation beyond getting R3 Printer on the market.

 

Our first premium features will center around data analytics and incident response. Most 3D printer fleet management software gives you an at-a-glance status report, but nothing historical. Historical data can be incredibly valuable for a business trying to optimize itself, so we’ll leverage the power of products like Splunk to give our customers the insight they need.

 

For incident response, we’re taking a page from modern IT operations management that rely on SaaS platforms like PagerDuty and Opsgenie and applying that to on-demand manufacturing operations management. Customers that subscribe to this set of features can optimize their staffing by setting up automated alerts to an on-call rotation if an R3 Printer unit in their fleet needs attention, instead of wasting valuable man-hours paying someone to wait for a warning light to go off in some dashboard.

Kingscrowd
Tell us more about r3 printgrid and what type of demand you’re seeing from the market for this type of solution.
Dan

R3 PrintGrid is our solution for the largest businesses and other entities in our target customer base that want to optimize every square foot of their space for manufacturing output. 

 R3 PrintGrid is a true enterprise solution, you’re definitely not in the SMB sector anymore to need that kind of capacity or optimization. The signal we’re getting is from a customer base beyond our beachhead market, so we’ve made sure that R3 Printer is designed to be plug-and-play for when we’re ready to serve those customers a little further down the road.

Kingscrowd
When do you plan to be revenue-generating, and have you begun to put r3 printer units on the market?
Dan

R3 Printer is going to hit the market at the end of the year, so we’ll start generating revenue then.

Kingscrowd
What does the next year look like for r3 printing and will the focus be on the commercial sector or the defense side of things?
Dan

This next year is going to be really exciting because we’ll be revenue-generating with a product on the market, and we’ll be tackling all the things that come with that: bigger team, bigger office, supply chain logistics, sales and marketing to get customers, customer support to keep existing customers happy, etc. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re ready and we’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

 Our true north is definitely in the commercial sector, though we have a great roadmap to continue to capture market share in the defense industry. It’s actually a requirement of our current grant funding that our primary goal is to develop a commercial-sector product, and we’re thrilled about that because that’s 100% aligned with how we’d like to grow as a company.


As you can see, Dan and the R3 Printing team are positioning themselves well to win in both the commercial and defense sector with a unique suite of innovative 3D printing products. 

 Dan is a dynamic and bright young co-founder who continues to show an ability to maneuver an old industry with new school tech.


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About: Chris lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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