Tricia and Brad – The Virtual Foundry

Creating something new is always a challenging task.  First, you need the idea, that part is easy.  The challenging part comes in the execution.  Enter 3D Printing.
With 3D Printing, you could affordably create three dimensional shapes and creations to test your ideas.  But the 3D printing was plastic, leading to some different limitations.
Things changed when Brad, founder of The Virtual Foundry came up with and patented the idea to be able to print metal objects with existing 3D printing machines.  Now The Virtual Foundry supplies the creative types around the world, from major aerospace companies to the lone creators in their basements, with the material to be able to get their ideas into tangible, metallic form.
Listen as Brad and Tricia discuss how they got started, built their business and are revolutionizing the creative world.
Visit Tricia and Brad at:
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We are underwritten locally
by the Bank of Sun Prairie.

My name is James Kademan, entrepreneur,

author, speaker and helpful coach to small
business owners across the country.

Today we’re welcoming/
preparing to learn from Tricia,

the President of Ritual Foundry,
as well as Brad, the founder.

So welcome, you guys.

Great to be here.

Thanks for having us.

This is a cool space,

and I’m excited to learn exactly what you
do, because when I met you,

when we started talking
the 3D printing world, it’s pretty cool.

But I always knew it as plastic. When
you mentioned metal 3D printing.

Just mind blowing moment there.

And what’s super awesome about what we’re
doing here is you’re taking that plastic

3D printing that you’re familiar
with using that same 3D printer.

But now you’re printing
metal with our materials.

That’s cool. So the same exact printer?

So tell us you guys supply the materials

or just tell us more or
less what you guys do.


We’re a materials company only.

We supply other things in our store,

like we’ll sell printers and things
that you need to go along with it.

Just to make it easier
for our customers.

Our prime objective is to make
3D printing materials.

All right. So what are people? Is it
typically businesses or is it typical,

just people of their house
that are buying the stuff?

It’s really everybody. Okay.

So a lot of universities and colleges
and schools all over the world.


Research organizations,
the Department of Defense,

people at home.
All right.

And the industry.

About three quarters of the national labs.

There are 17 of them, and we count at
least over a dozen of them as customers.


In the middle, I see
a lot of stools there.

I imagine a different varieties.

Are we talking steel, aluminum. What is
the range that you guys have for metal?


everything about this is patented,
and the patent describes a method

of fabricating manufacturing,
3D printing, metal, glass and ceramic.

So it runs the spectrum.

So you can actually use this technique
to print glass parts and ceramic parts.

Really? Not just metal.

How does that work?

Like glass. I’m trying to fix
your how does that work?

The easiest analogy is pottery.

Everybody’s worked with clay
and things like that.

That is essentially very similar
to the process that we do here.

Except we 3D print it rather than form it
on a partnership or something like that.

So I imagine what they call the

filament that has to get hot
enough to melt the medium, right.

Oh, my gosh.
My nomenclature,

I’m way off here.


The filament is made of powdered metal
in case in regular 3D printing plastic.

So when you’re printing,

that’s why it works on a regular 3D
printer, because you’re melting

the plastic as it goes through,
but not the metal.

All right. So does the plastic
itself work as a binder?

Yeah, that’s exactly.

Got it.

So are the parts.

Like, if I were to print out a threaded

part with the threads on,
there be strong enough to hold

what a normal metal piece would
it be just off the printer?

It would not, because it
still has that plastic in.

But there’s a secondary process that you

can go through to get rid of that plastic
and fuse those metal particles together.

That’s called the debinding to get
that binder out and then centering

is that process of fusing
those particles together.

All right.

Then, in that case, that’s where
the strength of metal comes into play.

This is where the analogy works.

Well, with play,
it’s the same kind of thing.

You form it, and then you put
it in a kiln and fire it.

Got it.

So is that something that people
from home have equipment to do that?

We have lots of home users.

It runs the gamut.

I mean, we have everybody from

just people making things in their
basement to part of the maker movement.

People are calling it.
So it’s just a new method of letting

people fabricate parts in a low cost,
simple way.

All right.
That’s cool.

You ask about what different materials?

We do keep a standard stock that’s going
to include things like copper, bronze,

a few different varieties of steel,
tungsten, aluminum, titanium.

And then we get into ceramics
and then a Pyrex glass material.

Really? How does that work?

It’s the same powdered glass
in this plastic binder.


Our manufacturing process is the same
among all the materials,

which allows us then to be able to take
nearly any metal, any ceramic, any glass,

put it through the same process
that we developed here.

And now you’re three printing with it.
All right.

When I think of Pyrix,
I think of something very durable and very

resistant to heat. So does that challenge
when people have to Bake it?


It still has the same properties.
The difference is,

it’s not clear when they say glass,
people tend to picture clear glass.

It’s not clear.

But it is Pyrex, and it has
all the same properties.

As far as dealing with thermal
shock and that kind of thing.


So they can make their own beakers
or measuring cups or whatever.


Like high performance
glass filters people used.


That’s cool.

So how did this whole thing come about?

I was dabbling in my basement, and

this part of the project started in about
2014, but I’d actually been experimenting

with methods of making metal objects
that didn’t use large amounts of heat.

So that was where the virtual
Foundry concept came from.

So I’ve actually been using
the word for over 15 years.

Probably closer to 20 by now.
All right.

So the virtual Foundry at the term has
been around forever

when a friend of mine gave me a 3D
printer said, you got to try this.

So I got it up and running.

The first thing I printed was a piece
of plastic, which was very disappointing.

It’s plastic, and it felt like
a toy or a Happy Meal toy.

And then that was where I saw

an opportunity to combine all the things
that I was working on with using 3D

printing as a method
of creating the form for those.

All right.

And how long was this?

We’re talking 15 years, 2014.

That’s when I added 3D printing

to the other parts of the technology
that I was working on.

Got you.
All right.

So did the business itself come about
at that moment, or when did you decide?

Hey, let’s make this into a business?

Well, it started to make sense early on,

and I did a Kickstarter project, and we
had about, I think, 105% of our goal.

So we made a pass that financed us
into this room,

into this building and financed our
commercial extrusion equipment.

That’s super cool.

And how long ago was that?

That was 15, 2016.

So it’s pretty fast.

Just a year or two after you
figured the whole thing out.


All right. And the patents
are your patents?


Those patents take time, will they?

I’ve never gotten a patent, but I have
talked to people that have gotten them,

and it was never like,
oh, it’s an easy process.

Well, when I realized that this could be

done, I immediately understood
that it could be very important.

Patent was priority one.

In fact, huge amounts of our early
money went into financing the patents.

Oh, interesting.

And it was a very arduous process.

Do you know what year it was granted?

I think in August of 19.
Oh, wow.

It was official.


I’m pretty sure we filed it in 2016.

All right.

If you want to do it right,
it’s not something you want a DIY.


I didn’t want to risk coming up
with a patent that wasn’t enforceable.

So, yeah, we hired a very high end law
firm that we have a lot of faith in.

All right.
Very cool.

So something like a patent, I guess,
going down that road just a little bit.

How long does that last?

Is that the 70 year thing
or something like that?

20 years.
I think it is at this point, 20 years.


So, yeah, we were talking about this.

We’re already five years
into a 20 year pass.

They started from application point.

Not the time that’s actually given.

We’re not exactly sure.


20 years, but we’re not
sure when it starts.

All right.

So how did you market this to people?

You got this cool thing.

It’s patented nobody else has it.

How do you tell the world
that you have it?

This was a key challenge,
especially starting up.

The Kickstarter campaign itself turned
into an excellent form of marketing.

I was able to get the attention of
engineers at Lockheed Martin.

Things like that.

There are people that looked at it
and immediately understood it.

Most people look at what we’re doing
and either don’t understand what it is.

They don’t understand why it’s important.

And from there.

So we’ve gone through a series of

phases where initially people like,
I would show people parts and they would

say that I don’t think
you made it that way.

No one believe you.

They didn’t come out and say that.

But that was the general implication.


it was so difficult to get
people to understand that.

Looking back, I’m surprised it took
a lot of tenacity to stick with it.

And this is where Trisha came in.

When Trisha joined the company.

It was pretty much just a nerd
and some friends in a garage,

but sounds like a good man.

So adding Tricia to the mix added

legitimacy to the business side of things,
got our billing functioning properly,

got all that kind of stuff working
and got all that to make sense.

But early on, the inspiration
came from the early adopters.

So as an example,
a group of engineers at Lockheed Martin

invited me out to speak
at a conference for their engineers.

That’s cool.

This is like

a nerd highlight.

I got a chance to speak in the Hubble

auditorium to hundreds
of Lockheed Martin engineers.

And the person that introduced me as

the person that found the Holy
grail of metal 3D printing.

So this was very inspirational.

And it got me through a lot of low times.

All right.

That’s pretty cool.

So the people that got it got it.

The rest of the people either didn’t

understand it, didn’t think
it was important, et cetera.

And that was kind of where we segued

into trying to deal with investors
and people like that.

The investors didn’t get it.

Banks didn’t get it.

Nobody got it.

It’s interesting.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people,
and I feel like and just I guess looking

around business wise,
I feel like the people that are doing

stuff with hardware,
tangible stuff have a harder time finding

investors than the people
with the software intangible stuff.

Even when the software people have no
defined means to bring in revenue, right.

It blows my mind.

We’ve seen it repeatedly.

And especially I’m like,

these are people that have extra
cash to throw around at a gamble.

And when you hear somebody talk and they

say, oh, you know, we had $5 million
investment in a Series B series.

Blah, blah, blah.

And you ask the question,
like, how do you make money?

Like, oh, we’ll figure it out later.

That seemed to be one of those, like, way,

shouldn’t you figure
that out in the beginning.

Tricia, I think we spent a couple of years

probably interacting with the
general investment community.

We did accelerators.

We did everything that you can think
of when we talk to a lot of people.


there are multiple reasons
we didn’t go that way.

One, we really didn’t find a situation
that felt comfortable for us.

And two, they didn’t understand.

And the people that were into venture
capital, they would tell us they would say

that 80% of my investments
are going to fail.

So the 20% of the seed
have to be giant winners.

And that didn’t make sense to us.

No. Why are you making
those bad investments?


And why do we have to support
your failures, right.

Oh, that’s funny.

So what they’re essentially saying is,
you’re going to win.

You’re just not going to win.

I’m investing in all these mistakes that I

know are mistakes that are probably
mistakes they were looking for.

The big win.


Which is tough to make when it’s tangible,
because it’s tangible, right?

Software you can duplicate.

Scalability is always an issue
for manufacturing a product.

It’s difficult to explain manufacturing.


So, did you guys know each other before?

Okay. And how did you
get involved in this?

Well, Brad and I have known each other

for probably ten years before
I got involved in the company.

We both live in Stoke.

And here we were
in the same social circle,

and I’ve been friends with his
wife for quite a while.

All right.

She would talk about
what he was up to, okay.

And I knew that it was special,
and I wanted to be a part of it.

But how do you finagle yourself into a
technology start up?

So I said, hey, when he’s
ready for a business person

and then that works.
I don’t know.

All right.
I don’t know if it was her doing

that really pushed him or if
he made the decision himself.

He invited me to come and talk.

I made the decision myself.

I knew that you were right for the job,
but I probably wouldn’t have

pursued you in the way that I did if it

weren’t for Laurie pointing
out that actually bluntly.

Laurie just said, Tricia wants in.

I get it.

So when Brad asked me to come and meet

and talk about my taking the President
role, he said, Is it okay with you?

He said it felt like he was
proposing to me by President.

Now he was not down on one knee or

anything, but I still accepted
the role in a relationship.

Just like any other relationship.

So sure.
And it took a lot of trust.

So he was trusting me with this invention

to really take it somewhere.

Asking someone into a multi year

equipment. Multi year commitment
is no small request, right?

So at that time.

Was it you or did you have employees it

was just me and a couple of people
helping me here and there got you.

All right.

So was the leap more or less to bring
Tricia on because you needed more business

acumen or to sell or to figure
out what you’re missing.

Structure, structure.


Definitely the business part of it.

But two things Trisha’s ability
to learn new things quickly.

That was kind of an important part

and a known willingness to change her
mind when she decides she’s wrong.

I consider that an important factor.


So mostly bringing
structure to the business.

That is not my business.

My thing is making things
that haven’t been made before.

All right.
Just shoot from Hep go.

We have a product to figure
out how to sell it later.


Interesting. So how do you sell most

of what you have? Is it online? Do
people come in? Is it a retail?

We have an online store.

And then we have a distributor in Spain.

This is worldwide.

Absolutely nice.

We have a distributor in Spain, and we
just on boarded a new Reseller in Canada.

Oh, nice.

So those are our outlets right now.

So the US.
All right.

And then Europe and Canada.


people buy from us
from all over the world.

Pretty fun.
That’s cool.

One of my favorite parts of my work is

talking with people
from all over the world.

I can have a day where I meet

with somebody from Taiwan in the morning
and somebody from Brazil in the afternoon.

And I love it.

Well, is language barrier an issue?


if it is, we just go a little more slowly.

But thankfully for me,

English is the universal
business language.

Most people speak English,

if not well enough to speak,

at least well enough to write
and get our messages back and forth.

That’s super cool.

So your marketing essentially global.

How do you tell the world
that you have this cool thing?

It’s incredibly challenging.


I think, like, the most effective
marketing is word of mouth.


A scientist here will tell a scientist

friend at a conference,
take a look at this.

All right.

That’s likely most of our
traction come from.


We still have sort of the residuals from
the initial original Kickstarter people.

We still have a core group of home
users that are very dedicated

and are committed to bringing
the technology forward.

The other part of the thing is we make 14

different materials
that we stop regularly.

That’s 14 different,
very specific processes that need to be

developed to refine
into a high quality card.

So our users tend to contribute
a lot to the scientific development.

All right.

It would be impossible for us
to do all of it ourselves.


Because we’re bootstrapping.


Now, the search engine optimization has

been really critical, too, because people
are looking for metal 3D printing.

So we’re past the point now where
we’re far past the disbelief point.

It’s very well accepted that this
is a real thing that exists.

And now people want it.

They recognize that they need
to participate in this if they’re going

to stay relevant, because 3D printing
is absolutely not going away.

Conversely, it’s going to get even more
prolific as time goes until the point

where everyone has a 3D printer at home,
as just as they do a computer.

You expect that to happen?

That’s awesome.

So I think you and I were chatting before
I had that print repair thing, I guess.

Would that be 2D printing on paper?

I don’t know.

Whatever it is, the kind of jam a lot.

I had that business for eight years, and I
was trying to figure out the next step.

And that was

six years ago that I sold that roughly.

So I was trying to, like,
3D printers were kind of coming around.

Then the MakerBots of the world were

around, and I was thinking this would
be really cool if people had that.

But then I thought people have a hard
time Loading their paper tray.

Are they just little stuff like that that
I’m like, is that going to be a thing?

But then there’s the practicality of it.

You need a part.

How about a part

starting out can be very challenging.

And 3D printing not just with metal
3D printing, just with 3D printing.

It can be aggravating to get going.

That’s why, largely, like the home
users are still kind of hobbyists.

There are still people that are willing
to overcome an annoying problem.

People have stopped just because
something didn’t work quite right.

On the other end of the spectrum,
the scientists and the people in industry

get a chance to do something
that’s never been done before.

So they have a different motivation
to focus on improving our products.

Got you.

Let’s talk about the metals
because I’m curious about that.

You mentioned.

I think you said 14 different
types of products.

If I’m an engineer and I’m looking

at building, let’s say a hinge
for a wing or something like that.

I don’t know.

Are they aiming for a specific grade

of aluminum or something of that nature,
or is this more or less just to see if it

can physically work and then they use
email or something like that?

Everything that you just said happened.


All right.

It’s more or less up to the engineer to
figure out how to take it from an idea.


So we have aluminum
and an ally called 60 61.

It’s the most common,
but we’ll make other allies for people.


And one thing we haven’t talked much about
is the custom materials aspect of it.

This is becoming increasingly common where
someone will call us up and say, hey,

can you make this grade of magnesium
for us into a 3D printing?


And we’ve shipped these
all over the world.

We’ve done it for national labs.

We’ve done it for the
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

That one was kind of cool because they

couldn’t tell us exactly what it was,
but they promised it wasn’t harmful.

Money’s green.

What’s running on the printer behind us
here is a custom iron for a University.

Oh, wow.

All right.

So I don’t know much about the actual
mechanics of a 3D printer.

No, you get XYZ.

There must be some type
of a melting filament in there.

It’s a hot glue gun on a robot.

So can they adjust the temperature?

So I imagine for each school of different

material, they have to adjust
the temperature differently a little bit.

Most of ours run in roughly the same.

Only you’re only melting
the plastic that holds it together.

All right.

It isn’t dependent upon whatever
the composites got you.


Is there a certain percentage
of binder versus metal?


And that’s very specific to our recipe.

And that’s part of the challenge over
the past few years, developing

a polymer recipe that was strong enough
to hold the shape of the filament,

but have enough metal in it that will
center into a good quality object.

So it’s been a back and forth.


Everything is a compromise.

But you got to do best.

But over time, right.

I’ve gotten better with polymers
and that kind of thing.

So I’d improve the polymer.

We’d have more metallin
and get more brittle.

All right.

So we’re at the sweet spot right now.
All right.

We can make
very strong filament with a high enough

Loading, but it’s very effective
in the centering process.

Nice. I guess I’m just guessing here,
but the metal must have to be pretty fine

within that filament,
so it doesn’t clog up anything, right?

It’s a powder.


It’s powdered metal and the underlying
science for the whole concept.

Everything that we talk about

and everything we do is
called powder metallurgy.

And that in itself is a rapidly growing

industry, even outside
of additive manufacturing.

Oh, really?

All right.

Metallurgy is also very old.

So precious metal clay is very similar

to what we’re doing, just as Brad
was talking about clay earlier.

That’s been around forever.

Precious metal.

Precious metal plate is played with metal
in it similar to our filaments.

You’re doing the same thing.

You’re forming it into a shape,
and then you’re doing heat process to it.

Now, this is where my knowledge
of the stuff, right?

It’s the same.

You’re doing a heat processing
the precious metal clay.

You can form it like clay,
but it’s silver.

And when you’re done,

you’ll hit it with a torch or heat
it up and it Burns off the binder.

And all you’re left with is the silver.

So the clay actually Burns away.

Yeah, it’s not clay.

It’s actually rice flour.

It’s that simple.
All right.

So it’s powdered metal
mixed with rice flour.

And people make these fantastic
jewelry objects and things like that.

Really? And then are they
forming by hand? Essentially.

You can form it by hand.

You can extrude it.

Roll it, whatever you think
of it just plain of Playdoh.

Essentially, any shape you can make
it into because it’s a metal object.

And this is very much an extension.

Any way that you can get our material

into a shape, it will feed
that metal object at the end.

That’s pretty cool.

Not just 3D printers, but you can get
these 3D pens and things like that.

So you can freehand metal,
which is pretty unique.

All right.
And you can form it with a soldering iron.

And however, you can create a shape
and make it into the metal object.

All right.

You can take little pieces of this and put
it in an injection molding machine.

All right.

And create your metal object that way.

Got you just like you would with plastic.

So we’re putting it into filament
form to enable 3D printing.

But this material,
it doesn’t matter how you form it.

All right.

You’re going to get it
into a shape somehow.

And then you’re going to do the heat

process where you do bind
and sensors got you.

We’re gathering momentum on injecting it
with a plastic injection molding machine.

And I was right about when cold and hit,
that kind of knocked that project off.

I keep hearing that phrase.

It just changes the world a little bit.


One of our project.

On that lost a family member.

All right.

Sorry about that.

So tell me, just for people that don’t

know, necessarily 3D printer,
we have going back here.

If I’m going to do it yourself or what do

I have to throw at money wise to get
started into something like this.

The absolute least costly.

You can buy this base machine for $650.

All right.

If you want it completely low ball.

This is the ender five by Creality.

And this is the one we
recommend for users.

You go down to the Creality three,

and you can be printing
metal parts for about $350.


All right.

This is another challenge we’ve had when

we say 3D metal printing,
everyone thinks that it has something

that we’ve invented a printer
or something like that.

Oh, sure.

So this is something that we
are very explicit about.

It isn’t about the printer.

We’re about the materials.

The printing technology is its own thing,
and it’s improving over time.

And as that technology improves, it just
kind of brings our material with it.

Got you.
So the printer is not the important part.

So it’s interesting you say that because
when Tricia first mentioned what she was

doing, I was trying to picture I was just
picturing this oxyustylene printer thing.

How does that work?

So it’s interesting that you say that.
That’s cool.

It’s simplicity.

This is a very kind of gentle
form of metal 3D printing.

There are other technologies that exist
that have beds of metal powder and lasers

or kind of what you imagine probably
exists also the metal printing technology.

So 3D printing and additive
manufacturing are synonymous.

There are lots of different technologies

that fall under that umbrella,
including with metal 3D printing.

This is the most accessible

because you’re working with the
equipment that you already know.

You’re using a standard tabletop kiln
to do that heat process.

So you’re not getting into any
kind of safety danger zones.

Got you no crazy sparks
flying or anything.

And you have control over
every part of the process.


And we’re the only option that’s under
about $250,000 quarter million dollars.



We’re actually working
on flushing it out a little bit.

So we cover some more bases
in between where we are and the 200.


You’re just talking about a few hundred
Bucks, less than a grand, whatever.

And this brings up one of our challenges

to marketing is the cost is so low
that managers find it suspicious.

The value is in the price, right.



I said our last trade show.

Somebody asked what’s that cost?

And I said $300.

He looked puzzled and said 300 what?

He was expecting $300,000.

And we had another group come by.

So this was

a professor at Harvard,
and they were pricing out,

putting in a 3D metal printing solution
and everything that they came up with.

None of it was under $250,000.

And then there was us at more
like the $10,000 range.

And we got to try to spend that much.

And he said, how can we get this up more
in the 50,000 $60,000 range so that I can

get my managers to buy this,
buy more of them.


So that person is just helping
us flush out larger packages.

Got you.
All right.

That we’ll make available.
What an interesting problem.

Can you make this more expensive?

It’s probably not something that any
business owner typically hears.

They hear.

That’s funny.

So when it comes to something like this,
do you typically see businesses having

rows of these things or
they just have one or two.

That is starting to become the case.

That’s called a print farm.

When you’ve got a row of this style of 3D
printers, SEM or FFF,

just fuse deposition, modeling
or fuel filament fabrication.


So some people also call 3D printing

two, three, four fabrications.

Just making a background.

It’s a brand new technology.

So we get to name everything.

Got it.

And that’s what people are coming up with.

Complicated names.

But at any rate, yes,

you can have multiples of this style
of 3D printer and just print parts out.

This style of 3D printing isn’t going
to give you a production level.


Sure, it will.
So people can accommodate for that.

But it’s such a low cost solution.

So they make up for that by just having
many of them going at the same time.

Got it.

I guess, just to clarify, they’re not
printing out necessarily usable gears.

Well, let’s talk aboutwhere this fits.

So the final part, because we’re starting

with metal powder,
these little balls and the edges

of the balls get fused together
in that sensoring process.

There is some space in there.

So it’s not solid metal.

When you’re done, it’s very close to solid

metal, but we’ll have the same
properties as the metal that it is.

It just isn’t going to be south.

Got you 100%.

So not as strong as some chunk
of aluminum that was CNC machine, right.

Or something like that.
So you’re not going to use this to make

parts that are going to be
structural in nature.

They’re going to have to take a lot
of weights and things like that.


But they’re going to be awesome at acting
as filters and pieces on the outside.

And you can name so many more than you.

Well, I’ll back up a little bit, actually.

So one of the other challenges is when
we tell people you can 3D print metal.

Their first thought is all
print a trailer hitch.

So part of what Tricia and I are on now is

more like an education tour where we’re
telling people don’t think of it that way.

All those parts,
like all the parts in your car,

are not only designed to solve
whatever problem it is for the car.

They are also designed
to be manufactured on cats.

So we’re asking people to back
up a little bit and rethink it.


So if you take a little bit different
approach to how the parts are made to make

them much less complex,
you can use far less material,

those kind of things.

And there’s a new technology coming along.

Generative design and topological

topological optimization,
which I find very fun to say.

Sounds like something
that a business coaches say.

Topological optimization take my money.

So if you picture a cab program, normally,

you would draw boxes,
draw holes and things like that.

And this is coming from the top.

The leaders in this technology is

Autodesk, as in AutoCAD,
they own this segment,

but in generative design, instead, you
tell it you need support for £100 here.

You need support for £50.

Here, torsion on it from this angle,
go, and it will grow.

It like a tree.

And the parts come out
with these really unique shapes.

All right.
You’ll start to see them.

Now that I’ve mentioned it,

they’re mechanical parts with a very
organic look to them, really.

But they’re absolutely
perfect for our technology.

All right.

So this is where we’re
trying to steer people.

Got it.

Get away from replacing the milling
concept, rethink it.


So imagine I’m just trying to picture this

in the case of a trailer hitch,
let’s say they’re making it thicker.

Imagine, in the front and the rear than
the sides or something where the ball

actually goes around the ball
and has to be tougher.

Where the bolts go through onto

the trailer has to be thicker
or something like that.

I have pictures that I’ll share with you.

Maybe you can post them during the video.

And is the program itself is
coming up with these shapes?

It is.

So there’s not an engineer that’s
going through and designing it.

I’m just saying,

this is what we need from this part
and the computer program pumps out.

This is your result.

And that’s the other really interesting

thing about the technology is it’s
taking the skill out of the engineering.

It’s a technician that’s entering data,

saying this is
the properties that we need.

The person operating the computer doesn’t

need to understand stress
forces and metallurgy.

And that kind of thing that’s
kind of scary to hear.

Because every time I watch Terminator two,
I think they don’t have engineers.

That’s kind of how we take that away.

Oh, boy.

The 2029, whatever it is,
doesn’t matter, right?

That’s interesting.

That’s kind of cool.


It’s incredibly powerful.

And it’s what our technology is the most
well suited for, in my opinion.

So time is our friend.

At this point,

as we move into the future, our technology
becomes more and more relevant.

Very cool.

So you mentioned the cat stuff and that’s

one of the things that I always
thought like that’s the roadblock.

That’s the reason that I don’t see a lot

of people having stuff like
this in their house every day.

Back then, I can see in the future,
things will change

where other businesses get involved
in just providing CAD drawings.

But where I have let’s say,
I got one of these at my house.

I want to make a part.

I got to scan it.

I got to get the file.

I have to have the program
modify the file to fit whatever and all

of the learning curve and all of the
understanding, stresses and mechanics.

That all goes away
with the generic design.

All right.
I mean, it doesn’t completely go away.

I mean, you want somebody that’s
competent operating machine, right.

But it massively deskills

manufacturing design.

I picture something more
like a coffee machine.

Just slap the thing in there, push it.

I want a cup of coffee roll.

And then that piece of software will
generate the files that printer.

All right.
You hit print, and then you have your part

because I imagine AutoCAD is not
the cheapest thing in the world.

People aren’t going to be paying thousands
of dollars a year to print out a coffee

mug or whatever it is
they’re trying to print.

Yeah, but AutoCAD is
ahead of you on this one.

Also, they have a more consumer oriented
product called Fusion 360,

and this goes actually all the way
up into massive manufacturing.


But they have student versions
of it that are very affordable.


That’s super cool.

So for $30 a month,

you can run some of the most expensive,
most elaborate software in existing.

All right.

Very cool.
I’m sorry.


You James, today at home with your 3D
printer, you wouldn’t have a scanner.

First of all, because those are
pretty expensive for a home user.

But there are websites with millions
of models already made.


Those are free.

And there are other softwares that allow
you to modify those models that are free.

All right.

And the software that you need to tell the
3D printer what to do also can be free.

So you’re getting all of this
put together on the Internet

to tell you a trigger what to do.

You don’t have to know

everything going in, and you’re also
not going to be able to scan your part.

There are companies, certainly, who can.


But a home user person is not
really going to be scanning part.

Got it.

I always thought, man,
they could put something on their phone or

just throw it up in the air
and take pictures of it, right?

There’s a technology kind of like that.

It’s called photogrammetry,

and you take hundreds of photos with your
phone and assemble it into a 3D model.

All right.
Kind of clunky.

Give it a couple of years.

You’re okay?
Just progress.


Now I get an old cars,
and I always think of trim pieces

and stuff like that they really
don’t support any weight.

But something like this would be perfect
for that, because you can’t find the part.

Maybe you have one, but you need two
on each side or something like that.

That application is kind of a no brainer.

And how about a custom shifter now?


I got a baseball on one.

Thank you.
I love manual transmission.

That’s super cool.

You can do all kinds of crazy stuff.
All right.


Tell me when people imagine people buy

this from you and they
get kind of curious.

You’re probably spending a lot of time

on tech support or it’s more just
hold my hand support kind of thing.

How do you stop that or prevent
that from becoming an issue?

And more of a time suck for someone

that maybe bought a school
or something like that.

We do have a user form.


That’s one tool that we
use to help people.

And we have some users who really
communicate with each other quite a bit,

working on their projects
and trying out new things.

All right.

But also, we have a very strong philosophy
of making sure that you’re successful.

All right.
So we really are going to do what it takes

to make sure that you’re
successfully printing.


And the other thing we’ve learned is
that people’s questions start to more

and more fall into very
recognizable categories.

We just get better
at answering the questions.

Got it.

So we’re not completely scaling
the whole concept of tech support.

Something I want to ask you about warranty

stuff, and I think you
more or less answered it.

Does anybody print out something like,

hey, I printed this engine block
not surviving.

Well, we would tell you not
to print an engine block.


We guarantee that you’re going to be
able to print with the material

from there.

The things that you make really are
going to be your responsibility.

Got you.

You mentioned centering.
I think that’s what we call it.

So centering, that machine or oven.

Is that also affordable
for a typical home user?


We sell those on our website also.

Another question.

And a lot of people already have these

people that are into making
jewelry and glass.

Or even people that do ceramics at home.

It’s the same equipment.
All right.

Oh, my gosh.
From art class.

I’m trying to think,
how hot does that thing get

as many hundreds of degrees,
but I don’t remember how many.

Right for ours.

It depends on the material.

So bronze goes to about
1700 Fahrenheit 1700.

That’s pretty bad.


But in the realm of kiln,
that’s relatively low.


So on the higher end,

when you’re dealing with our stainless
Steels, you need to hit about 2350.

We have examples.

There’s one sitting right there.

That’s one.
But I’ll have you take some pictures

and they can run that off of 110.

And it gets that hot.

It’s just a little box that gets hot.

It isn’t huge, high tech
or anything like that.

The toaster from hell.


It’s that hot if you put.

I mentioned plastic just vaporizing.


All right. And can they use those indoors?


Then I have to vent it
or something like that.

We recommend that people vent it,

but you don’t need, like,
a whole ventilation system.

It can be good bathroom fan type thing.
Got you.

All right.
It doesn’t need to be large in industrial.

Everything about what we’re doing is
to make it very simple and accessible.

And this applies great for the home users.

But also, we’re finding that people

in science and in the high end
laboratories like it for exactly the same

reason because they can pick
it up and add their own.

Sophistication to it.

that’s cool. What are some of the coolest

things that you’ve seen
people make with these ones?

We don’t know.


Very little of what’s being
made with our material.

We don’t know about it.
All right.

The things that we do know
we can’t talk about got you.

So someone that lock you some stunk word
called you up and just said, thanks.

That’s all I got.

One of the coolest responses,

like when I’m asking probing questions,
I’m trying to help a user succeed.

The coolest response I’ve ever gotten is

asking me questions,
trying to probe out the problem.

The coolest answer has been so far has

been I can’t answer that due
to the national security concerns.


One of my favorites is a fellow
who works with saxophone.

Okay, because I played saxophone
in high school a million years ago.

All right,

so this one’s a little near and dear,
but he’s making pieces out of our copper

materials for saxophone
to repair them together.

Or he’s just building his own.

Show me pictures of these.

And the pieces are beautiful.


He hasn’t yet sent me a recording
playing with these installed.

All right.
But that’s one of my favorite ones.

Because that’s pretty clever.

I’m a musician.

You have some samples here.

Is that what I’m looking at there?

Yeah, but let’s talk about this one.

This is a 3D printed moon,
but it’s made out of moon dust.

Simulant filament.

Which is called the Salt.

A fake moon, right?


That’s a project that people are working

on methods of fabricating
things on the moon.

So obviously, you need
to work with what’s there.

Look at this.
And you got spiral.

This is clay.
So clay is inside the polymer, correct.

And that was Super Light.

Who designs this in CAD?

I did, actually, that’s just a really
simple program called Tinker CAD.


It’s another Autodesk product,
but it’s super easy to use.


I see the little turbo
or supercharger turbine.

There turbine.

Okay. Would this be strong
enough to actually use?

Not presently.

Is that because of heat or is that

actually all the fundamentals are there?
We just need someone to develop it

and refine the process
to the point where it works.

Got you.


That’s interesting.

This is kind of a fun one.

This is trophies.

So that’s pure copper.

And there were trophies given
out by the three Dprinting.

Com awards.

So those were given to, like,

the very highest end printers
that I was talking about.

The laser centering printer
cost a million dollars.


I have CEOs of those companies
holding one of my trophies.

What you paid for your plane ticket.

You can do this.

I got this one.

That’s two different materials.

It’s tungsten on the bottom
and copper on the top.

Look at that.

This is my favorite print.

This is 316 L. Is it colossus, right?


316 L.

That is cool.

I didn’t really just be that smooth.

So that had a lot of Polish work onto it.

When the pieces are finished

with the process, they cut this more rough
looking exterior.


So it takes a bit of a little grease
to get from that to this nice, shiny.

All right.


Like I said, we ask people to stop and
just sort of rethink what they’re doing.

So think of things
that you can’t fabricate.

Holy cow.

So that’s chain male made
out of solid copper.

And that’s one 3D print that altogether.

So it’d be extraordinarily difficult
to fabricate in any other way.

But it’s very easy to 3D print.

That’s a whole new world.

Then it is interesting.

I’ll do that.

The Bolt is universally
a concern either way.

Yeah, you could.
The nut is only left handed.

Got you.

But the same Bolt would
take a right handed.

Oh, my gosh.

I just did work on a 40 Plymouth,
and they use their side.

They had one side right hand thread

to the wheel sides,
the other left hand thread right.

There’s a lot of swearing
that happened before.

I figured that out.

This would have been much better.

Do the opposite of what
you think you should do.

Nobody gets that right.
I’ll be back together.

Oh, my gosh.
My brain is going going on here?

I think I can see what’s
supposed to happen.


you go.

That’s pretty cool.

Hollow or almost hollow.

That’s crazy.

So who designed that?

One of our users?


I just unscrewed it just
to make myself second.

Oh, my gosh.

I think he may have gotten it.

There’s a website called Singiverse,
and it’s a place where people share models

so you can go out there and search
literally millions of 3D models.

That’s probably wherethis came from.

That was a ceramic

that is so surreal that you have
so many different materials.

That is bizarre.

And the workflow on the manufacturing
site is the same.

I mean, they’re all the same thing.

It isn’t important to us
that there are different material.


That’s pretty clever.

Where can people find you online?



That’s easy enough.

And they can reach out at

Well, thank you so much.

Tricia, Brad,

thank you so much for being on the show.
This is cool.

Thanks for having us.

We think it’s pretty cool.

We’re always happy
to tell others about it.

I was impressed when I was
talking to you before.

I’m even more impressed.

Now I have no idea that
there’s as much going on.

That’s cool.

So when I come here in a couple of years,
where do you expect things to be?

Good question.

We don’t even know how to answer that.

The industry that we’re in changes so
quickly and the business changes quickly,

so it’s just going to be
fantastic to see what happens.

We’re also what Trisha describes
us as industry agnostic.

So we’re getting traction and everything

from aerospace to autos
to whatever you think of.

So my expectation is maybe
we start growing in one of those

directions or spin off something
specific for one of those particular.

All right.

But presently it’s the same
technology for every user got you.

And it works for everyone
in the same way for the same reason.

That’s cool.
I like it all kinds of fun.

You heard it here, right.

This has been

Authentic Business Adventures,
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the struggles stories and triumphant successes of business owners across the land.

Past episodes, of course,
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This is amazing.

Yeah, I’m excited.

I keep thinking, like,
what should we build?

It’s time to take over the world.

My name is James Kademan,

and Authentic Business Adventures is
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As well as,

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We’d like to thank you, our wonderful
listeners as well as our guests,

we have Tricia, the President of Virtual
Foundry, as well as Brad, the founder.

Visit them at

Thank you guys for being on the show.
This is super cool.

Thanks for having me.

I’m impressed.

People got to go out there
and build some stuff, right.

Makes this country great.
Thank you for listening.

We’ll see you next week.
I want you to stay awesome.

If you do nothing else,
enjoy your business.



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