Nov 24, 2016 | By Julia
Tyler McNaney, the young entrepreneur behind the plastic filament and 3D printing business Filabot, has just collected the Best Small Business Award from the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation, as well as the Rising Star award from Vermont Business Magazine.
The two awards come as no surprise for the rising CEO, who is keen to continue expanding his business. “We tweet about this, we blog and we talk about it,” McNaney said of the Best Small Business Award. “It’s an amazing award, but we haven’t seen it as a huge boost.”
McNaney pictured in the Filabot workshop
For those unfamiliar with the Vermont-based business, Filabot is the groundbreaking startup that first made waves back in 2012, with McNaney’s successful Kickstarter campaign for developing an environmentally conscious filament maker: a machine that grinds up and melts recyclable plastics which are then extruded as filament for 3D printers. Reaching his goal of $10,000 in one month, McNaney quit college, and Filabot began production out of Barre, Vermont.
Now in its fifth year, Filabot is continuing to expand with no end in sight. Growing from McNaney’s solo operation to a team of seven full-time employees, Filabot has designed 11 extruder models to date, in addition to several filament rolls and pellets. The company’s headquarters remain in Vermont, but production is now outsourced to a third-party. The shift has freed up space in Filabot’s workshop for prototype designing. “We build, we test, we see if it’s feasible and then we see if we can turn it into a valued product,” McNaney told local media.
The Filabot EX2 Filament Extruder
In the meantime, Filabot has been hard at work collaborating with notable businesses like Covestro, the plastics division of Bayer Pharmaceuticals.
McNaney has also dropped some exciting hints that Filabot will soon be expanding beyond the 3D printing and plastic extrusion sector. “We’re working with Levi [Strauss],” McNaney explained. “They want to 3D print something with denim.”
Other plans include, perhaps unexpectedly, removing filament production from the 3D printing process entirely. “In five years, we will have expanded to 3D printers fed directly from recycled plastic with no filament step in between,” a Filabot representative said.
A bold prediction, but as McNaney’s awards indicate, Filabot’s next moves are certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Posted in 3D Printing Events
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Len wrote at 11/26/2016 9:40:34 AM:
Shame the plastic pellets cost more than filament.