(Photo by Brady Dale)
We visited the Solidoodle factory in Carroll Gardens Monday. We have some photos of the space for you below.
Founded in late 2011, the 3D printer maker has been bootstrapped by CEO Sam Cervantes since the beginning. Much of the factory floor is made up of what used to be a garage. Cervantes used to drive his car and park it on the floor behind the few early employees who helped him assemble Solidoodle printers.
Today, there’s barely room for the people who work in the space, let alone a car (though there was a barbecue on the floor when we visited).
We recently covered the launch of Solidoodles.com, the company’s site for sharing 3D-printed designs. Yahea Abdulla, PR and distribution staff at the company, said the site is very much a beta launch and to look for a redesign later this year.
One element of Solidoodles that makes it distinct from Thing-I-Verse, he said, is that it’s exclusively 3D printing, as opposed to a site for sharing plans for all sorts of DIY projects. This is a real contrast in strategic stance from another 3D printing upstart, Bed-Stuy’s GMax, which started off with 3D printing but hopes to adapt its platform to include laser-cutting and rotary grinders. The interplay of desktop fabrication technologies is something we are watching closely.
Another forthcoming update to the Solidoodle will be an improved calibration system. By installing sensors around the extruders, the team will make it possible to print on a platform as if it were level, even if it is slightly off. It remains to be seen whether Solidoodle will be able to offer a retrofit for existing models.
The company is also looking into branded 3D printing software that’s less intimidating to novice users. Right now, the company directs users to Repetier, which is open source. It works well, but it’s technical. A part of the company’s overall strategy is to lower as many barriers to entry as possible.
The site is shipping approximately 30 units per day from its Carroll Gardens factory space. It is currently in the process of seeking venture funding.