We talk to Botfeeder about 3D Printing, safety, education & the future
Chris Caira @ Maker Festival: Can you tell me the story of Botfeeder?
Daniel Poon @ Botfeeder: Four years ago, I read an Economist article about 3D printing and thought this could be a revolution for manufacturing. At the time, I had a different job, so didn’t pursue it. Two years ago, I came across 3D printing again and felt like the 3D printing industry had really grown, so I decided to get involved then.
MF: I know you focus on education. Can you tell me a bit about your passion for it?
DP: Education is important for the future of the 3D printing industry. Young people have a creative mindset and it’s important to get them interested in this technology. It’s like learning a new language, and we know kids do that best.
MF: What types of projects do you do with kids?
DP: Projects should be fun, cute and things they can play with, e.g., something moveable. It’s different from adults, because kids want the fun factor right away, project needs to be hands-on, not textbook-style.
MF: How does Botfeeder differentiate itself from other 3D printing companies?
DP: Botfeeder has 35 years in the plastics industry, and so have developed knowledge others don’t have. For example: health concerns with 3D printing, like which plastics are dangerous when heated; Botfeeder’s filaments do not contain dangerous chemicals and so are guaranteed safe through annual testing by SGS, an inspection agency.
MF: Who are Botfeeder’s customers? What projects do they work on?
DP: Schools and universities are a big part of our business: they’re printing tools like anatomical hearts and solar system models. Safety is a major concern for schools, so their own chemicals experts have investigated the components of Botfeeder filament and found them to be safe.
MF: What is the future of consumer 3D printing?
DP: I think eventually everyone will have a desktop 3D printer. Manufacturers will only send materials, and people will print the item at home, saving money on shipping and mass manufacturing.
For consumer 3D printing, education is critical. For example, 3D design is something that only architects and other designers learn, but need to spread that knowledge more broadly so people can create items on their own.
MF: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs interested in starting a business with a maker focus?
DP: Every product or service must have a purpose: to benefit your target market better than your competitors products’ do. Always tap into the 3D community for support, they can give you valuable information.