Collider Unveiled: Company Emerges from Stealth, Introduces 3D Printing and Programmable Tooling Technology

ST Metal AM
ST Dentistry

Share this Article

Nearly a year ago now, we were first introduced to the promising startup Collider, a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company operating in stealth mode and picking up investments from such big names as Asimov Ventures and the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund. Wednesday at Inside 3D Printing San Diego, the company has officially come out of stealth mode, revealing the details of their new technology that until this point had been a tightly-held secret.

I sat down with CEO and Founder Graham Bredemeyer to find out first hand about the company and their new hybrid technology, introduced yesterday morning and officially dubbed Programmable Tooling.


Graham Bredemeyer

Collider, Bredemeyer told me, pulls its name from the world-famous Large Hadron Collider, which inspired through its use in proving that light has mass by having collided two photons of light. Light being matter is interesting to anyone with a scientific bent, and is particularly interesting to those in this space with a focus on DLP technologies — in which light is used to give form to matter. Collider brings together technologies through a hybrid approach to tooling, seeking to fill a void and solve a common problem in low-volume manufacturing.

20161214_143912Programmable Tooling, as demonstrated on Collider’s proprietary Orchid machine, is a hybrid technology that brings together the benefits of continuous DLP technology and traditional plastic casting.

“Making 1-100 parts is a good path for 3D printing,” Bredemeyer told me, “while for making tens of thousands of products it’s a clear cut application for injection molding. Less clear is making 100 to 1,000 parts. Injection molders will either blow off these volumes or make a $15,000 mold that just ends up being incredibly expensive.”

With focus on low-volume manufacturing, Collider has a lot to bring to the table with their innovative method bringing together accepted technologies that have each already solidified their usefulness in industry. Targeted for use in early and pilot runs in particular, Programmable Tooling from Collider is set for applications requiring low-volume production runs that can benefit from the complex or changeable geometries where 3D printing in particular has shown great value. Their Orchid machine works in a three-step patent pending process:

  1. Print — The shell and its injection pipes are printed
  2. Fill — Using the printed injection pipes, the shell is filled
  3. Dissolve — The shell and pipes are dissolved away, leaving a production quality part

Bredemeyer explains the technology for us:

“We took and combined what we saw as the best parts of 3D printing with the best parts of plastic casting to create a stellar solution for low-volume manufacturing,” Bredemeyer explained.

The system is initially launching with four materials. Nothing about these materials, Bredemeyer underscored, is unique; they are all off-the-shelf materials. Collider is working in a partnership with Smooth-On through a reseller arrangement for supply, starting with these materials:

  1. General Purpose Rigid Polyurethane (Shore 65D)
  2. Medium Softness Silicone (Shore 25A)
  3. Firm Urethane Rubber (Shore 60A)
  4. Flame Retardant Polyurethane (Shore 73D)

Bredemeyer’s personal favorite of these is the firm urethane rubber, with the flame retardant PU a close second. Collider is starting off with two rigid and two rubber materials now, but has already printed with around 15 materials and will be introducing more and more materials as time goes on and the Orchid is put into further use. The material approval process, he explained, is set to be structured similarly to the Apple app store, with regular quality control checks and relying on third party suppliers rather than creating their own custom two-part materials.

The roll-out plan for Programmable Tooling is two-fold for now, with both options keeping all Orchid machines in-house at Collider’s Chattanooga HQ. The first supply option for the Orchid is to go through 3D Hubs, where Collider has an established hub, and to run a project through the general queue. Alternately, upon inquiry a customer can set up a dedicated lab space at Collider with their own dedicated Orchid machine, allowing for the management of that queue directly. This plan is to be in place for about the next 12 months, though beyond that Collider does plan to ship the machine to customers. They want to allow the “new technology to mature in the nest,” Bredemeyer said, and may begin shipping around mid-2018. As of now, pricing is not being announced.


Collider currently has “a handful” of machines running, and is focusing on fundraising to get more Orchids up and running, especially now that they have gone public with the technology. The company is currently a five-person operation, and is hoping to expand the team in 2017 upon further investment. Present investment in place, in addition to that from Asimov Ventures and the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, comes from a few angel investors.

The Orchid’s build dimensions are 15 x 8.5 inches (381 x 215 mm), with a vertical travel of 15 inches (381 mm), and speed with a production target of 36 cm/hr and a pilot of 7.2 cm/hr. The machine was named by Collider’s designer, inspired by the rare black orchid — and, as Bredemeyer pointed out, this machine is black and uses ultraviolet technology.

“Pricing studies show a significant cost savings,” Bredemeyer noted. “It almost won’t make sense to make silicone molds ever again.”


[All photos taken by Sarah Goehrke for]

Share this Article

Recent News

Concrete Dreams: 3D Printing for Military Construction Enables New Tactics, Pt. 2

Metal 3D Printing Services to Hit $16.1B by 2031


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

3D Printing Industry Worth $13.5B, Will Reach $25B by 2025

According to its latest market data, SmarTech Analysis estimates that the 3D printing industry grew at a rapid pace of about 23% in 2022, reaching $13.5 billion. This number specifically...


SmarTech Releases First Report on Emerging 3D Printing Technologies and OEMs

Key technologies like 3D printing are among the driving forces behind digital transformation in manufacturing. Today, additive manufacturing (AM) platform options go beyond the two historically dominant and pioneering players...


3D Printing Media Outlet 3Dnatives Bought by Largest Plastics Organization, SPE

In one of the latest moves in the 3D printing industry, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has acquired the French online media platform 3Dnatives. The move comes as the...

Velo3D Metal AM Webinar Powered by will host a new Velo3D (NYSE: VLD) webinar titled “Unlocking the Potential of Metal AM: Strategies for Scaling Production with Velo3D” to discuss the roadblocks to successfully scaling metal...