Jan 25, 2017 | By Julia

3D printing is often heralded as an efficient alternative to mass production methods. Ideal for creating specialized, custom-made objects, 3D printers are well known for their excellent prototyping capabilities, which have reduced the need for costly, time-consuming machination and factory labor.

The Voodoo Manufacturing facility in Brooklyn

But what if 3D printing could replace the factory altogether? That seems to be the question on the minds of Max Friefeld, Jonathan Schwartz, and Oliver Ortlieb. The three friends, roommates, and ex-employees of Makerbot have just secured $1.4 million in funding for their new 3D printing company, Voodoo Manufacturing, whose unique setup offers a serious alternative to traditional factory production.

Voodoo is not your typical Brooklyn-based startup. By connecting hundreds of FDM printers together, the trio have created a working botfarm, a “new-age robotic factory” that, according to the company's website, is capable of making up to 10,000 identical plastic parts in just 24 hours, effectively bridging (or eliminating) the gap between prototype and mass production.

“Voodoo is the only high-volume 3D printing provider that we know of. Instead of focusing on low volumes of high-value parts like prototypes or jet-engine components, we are making ‘everyday’ plastic parts,” said Friefeld. “We use a 160-printer cluster of regular desktop 3D printers and control them with software that we write in-house to produce parts. By number, this is the largest cluster of printers in US, possibly the world, and they are all co-located so that we can ensure the best prices with top quality and consistency for our customers.”

And to be sure, there has been absolutely no shortage of Voodoo customers. Currently the Brooklyn-based company boasts 1,200 of them, including Mattell, VH1, NBC Universal, Lowe’s, and Microsoft. Investors include heavyweights like Tumblr CEO David Karp, as well as KPCB Edge and Y Combinator, the funding group known for backing wildly successful startups such as Reddit, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

 

Voodoo 3D printed 100 velociraptor statues for its client Universal

Voodoo can now look forward to $1.4 million dollars in funding for the coming year. And perhaps thanks to this cash injection, the company has also announced it will be expanding its factory to 2,000 square feet and adding 50 more 3D printers to its already massive botfarm. Needless to say, the company is hopeful for the coming years, and has hinted at more exciting announcements to come.

“Voodoo is trying to build a next generation of factory,” Friefeld said. “We are a manufacturing company born out of software, and we want to make hardware as easy and scalable as software has become in the last 10 years.” Combined with Voodo’s ambitious aim of speeding up factory manufacturing by 90%, its new-age robotic factory may be here to stay.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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