Tuesday, August 30, 2016

M3D Pro: Enlightening Interview with CEO

 There is a LOT of news to report on the status of the Kickstarter campaign for the M3D Pro as more details about the many innovations that make the Pro a unique 3D printing experience for users have been reported in the latest progress update.

But, before getting to those, there is a video that I believe is significant to anyone thinking about purchasing a 3D printer for the first time or upgrading to a new 3D printer for experienced users.


Hidden within this video is a gem that, to me, as a 3D printer user, is priceless.  And, that is the clear message that the management of M3D "gets it".

What is "it"?  

By "it", I mean that the driving forces behind M3D's new Pro 3D printer understand that the best innovation is innovation that seeks to solve MY problems and meet MY needs as a 3D printer USER.

This goes well beyond being 'customer' focused or 'buyer' focused.  The bulk of the USERS of 3D printers weren't the buyers.  The bulk of the users of our 3D printers, for instance, are at-risk students who have never used a 3D printer in their entire lives.

We've been using 3D printers in the classroom for almost 4 years,  So, as each innovation in the M3D Pro is introduced and explained, it is clear that it was designed to take away the stress that our cadets and teachers faced with our previous and current 3D printers.  In the future, the cadets can start a print job confident that the gap is set correctly and the teachers can start a print job with far greater  confidence that it will successfully run to completion without constant monitoring.  Both of these things are huge deals.

The video captures a live interview with M3D co-founder and CEO Michael Armani by All things 3D.  This video, while a bit long, is important to me for several reasons.  Foremost, it is difficult for others to understand why I have such deep faith in M3D as a company unless they, too, get to see who is behind that company.

Companies take on the personalities of the people at the top and it is refreshing to see a management team that is deeply committed to our user experience.  The impressive innovations that make the M3D Pro what it is aren't just cool bells and whistles.  They specifically arise out of that commitment by M3D management to improving the experience of M3D Pro users.

While I urge you to view the entire video, it does wander a bit. so, I am going to point out highlights that stood out to me as I carefully analyzed Michael's comments.  An asterisk (*) indicates a 'must see' segment for potential Pro buyers.

03:56 - Michael Armani's interview begins
05:25 - Benefits of USA (Fulton, Maryland) production facilities
07:45 - Following a long-term, 10 year goal to be the leader in 3D printing
08:10 - Everything in one building for maximum efficiency
08:50 - Small parts imported, large parts & electronics locally sourced.  All assembly in-house.
10:27 - History (Micro 3D Printer)
11:47 - Motivations behind the Micro design   (The M3D difference)
14:35 - Current 3D printers require hefty learning curve
14:51 - How we see ourselves
15:16 - What is the main difference between the Micro and the Pro *
17:00 - Locking down variability through Feedback loops (Sensors) *
18:51 - Hardware changes (plastic parts replaced by high precision metal) *
19:20 - Feature list from KickStarter page
20:40 - Discussion of Standalone Mode (New) *
22:40 - Completely new industry standard G-Code *
23:10 - Factors influencing improvements in printing speeds while saving costs *
25:30 - Prototype M3D Pro running (Prototype dedicated to testing specific aspects) *
27:19 - New precision lead screw (less than 20 microns of runout) held up to view *
28:15 - First print
28:26 - Presenting the Pro completely differently than the Micro (Innovation focus) *
29:25 - Discussion of Pro Kickstarter process  *
31:23 - What is meant by "Market Ready" for the Pro vs. the Micro *
31:47 - Kickstarter backer survey and backer model collection for testing (NOTE: Very important) *
32:00 - Educational market
39:00 - End of Interview

The most important element of this video is that it shows the heart behind the technology. 

Once you view this video, or even parts of this video, you will see a person that is completely dedicated to our having the most positive experience with our 3D printer possible.   And, that is THE most important message we can take away.

From a technical point of view, it cannot be stressed enough just how significant new sensor based feedback loop is going to be for all of us.  That is especially true of those of us that are dedicated to bringing 3D printing to young people... and, in particular, at-risk young people.  But, it's also significant to those of us that see the value of 3D printing in the home art and craft applications.

Now for the video...

I urge you to take the time to watch the first 39 minutes of the video..But, if you can't, please use the schedule, above, to find those segments most helpful to you/

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