Management: Brad Woods
Handle: 211 S. Water St., Stoughton
Web site: thevirtualfoundry.com
What it does: Manufactures a particular sort of metallic filament, which permit prospects to 3D print any materials.
Stoughton-based startup The Digital Foundry is making it potential to 3D print virtually any materials you may consider utilizing the corporate’s patented product, often known as Filamet.
With the Filamet course of, a 3D printer initially supposed to print plastic could be transformed to additionally print metallic and different supplies comparable to ceramics and glass.
Founder and chief govt officer Brad Woods started creating The Digital Foundry virtually twenty years in the past. He was beforehand a software program architect at American Household Insurance coverage.
Whereas creating his sculptures as a private interest, Woods discovered himself attempting to make metallic elements. With out his personal foundry, this proved to be an unrealistic job. So, he started trying into alternative ways metals could be manipulated through the use of chemical compounds, via strategies like electroplating and electroforming. He finally started working with metallic powders. At across the identical time, a buddy gave him a 3D printer.
“It didn’t take lengthy to understand that I might merge the 2 ideas,” mentioned Woods. “We’re working with metallic powders which can be held collectively by plastic. All our merchandise work the identical and it’s pretty easy once you have a look at it that approach.”
Utilizing Filamets to 3D print metals and different supplies is cheaper in comparison with the commercialized strategies getting used in the present day. Woods mentioned most individuals can start 3D printing utilizing Filamets for about $10,000.
He garnered the preliminary funding to formally launch The Digital Foundry in 2015 via a Kickstarter marketing campaign, which raised $32,000. The cash was sufficient to buy the industrial tools wanted to start manufacturing Filamet merchandise.
Filamet is a mixture of two phrases: filament and metallic. The primary two Filamet merchandise launched have been copper and bronze.
The Digital Foundry’s present supplies catalog lists 13 inventory Filamets, together with aluminum, bronze, copper, high-carbon iron, stainless-steel and tungsten.
The Kickstarter marketing campaign, initially pitched as extra of an artwork venture, drew the eye of the Division of Protection and several other aerospace firms and auto producers. Engineers from Maryland-based Lockheed Martin even invited Woods to talk on the firm’s campus.
“They checked out it and realized if you are able to do that with a sculpture, you are able to do that with something that’s metallic,” mentioned Woods.
At the moment, the majority of The Digital Foundry’s prospects embrace completely different analysis organizations. Properly-known organizations like SpaceX, Tesla and the US Nationwide Lab System use Filamet for his or her analysis initiatives.
One among The Digital Foundry’s prospects is engaged on spinal implants utilizing titanium. One other, a subcontractor for NASA, tapped the corporate for a Filamet to create a cloth that simulates moon mud.
“It’s not like every other methodology of producing that we’ve had earlier than. What’s taking place with 3D printing is it’s a chance to unravel issues in a approach that’s by no means been obtainable earlier than,” mentioned Woods.
Within the coming months, his most fast objectives are increasing advertising and marketing efforts and attracting new shoppers.