It was as late as March 2021 before we got to print for the first time with the new pellet extruder. And soon we realized it was seriously underpowered leaving us with only a limited material range to experiment with. Slightly disappointed we went back to the drawing board and designed a new extruder which performance exceeds the previous one by multiple magnitudes. The exact performance is to be tested yet since we simply haven't had the time for it. Nonetheless it works far better than its predecessor. We have been able to experiment with recycled materials and with composite materials.
Learning the hard way
We as designers are generalists which in our case means we know a lot, but nothing perfectly. It means we experiment and learn by doing, our work is defined by an iterative approach. We also fail - a lot, but we always try to do it as fast as possible, as cheap as possible. Sometimes though, it might be worth asking for help, for example in finding and fixing an issue a little bit faster. Some issues rooted in sub-optimal auxiliary tech which lead to strange behaviour of our printer. But eventually we nailed down each issue one after another.
Time. Or the lack of it.
It feels like yesterday since the last but almost a year has gone by. Always in a rush, trying to meet deadlines. Graduation, company relocation, bills, funding, recruitment - you name it.
After graduation we had to relocate our company from the university premises to our own place in Espoo. A former logistics center of a big finnish grocery chain which will be demolished by around 2025. Until then it offers space for startups and urban culture. A quite unique hotspot of creativity and tech. And a rare place that offered enough ceiling height for our nearly 5 meter tall 3D printer.
Gearing up the production
Since Autumn we've been gradually working towards the start of on-demand 3D printing services. In the beginning we had lots of issues regarding the smoothness of our process, but now most of them are dealt with and we finally start being able to work effectively with the printer. Obviously it still isn't a click and forget thing. The printer needs still active monitoring to find remaining technical issues. Eventually the day will come we let the printer work independently overnight. That will be a thrilling moment!