Tennessee 3D printing startup Collider first crossed our radar screen in early 2016, when venture capital firm Asimov Ventures invested in the hardware manufacturer, which promised high 3D printing speed and new materials. The company calls the Business Development Center on the North Shore of Chattanooga home, and at Inside 3D Printing San Diego, Collider finally opened up about the details of its top-secret hybrid technology, called Programmable Tooling.
The technology is a combination of traditional plastic casting and continuous DLP lithography, and is demonstrated on its proprietary 3D printing Orchid machine. The Orchid produces parts in off-the-shelf, production-quality manufacturing materials, like polyurethanes, rubber, and stainless steel: it actually 3D prints a hollow shell, which acts as a mold. The material is then injected into the 3D printed mold to form one solid part.
Collider’s process allows for a larger range of 3D printing materials than any other rapid manufacturing solution currently on the market. This technology is what got Collider its foot in the door with Asimov Ventures, and why it was chosen, along with 18 other companies from all over the world, to pitch today at the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield, part of TechCrunch Disrupt New York 2017. The conference is held at Pier 36, and ends this Wednesday. During its pitch, Collider introduced the Orchid to the audience in a beta launch, and announced its capability to make parts in metal.
Graham Bredemeyer, CEO of Collider, said, “Opening up 3D-printing to off-the-shelf materials will fundamentally change hardware development. Collider is the wave of the future with regards to mass customization and rapid product innovation.”
Off-the-shelf materials have been tested, the cost is much lower, and the parts it can make are isotropic, so the value for manufacturers being able to harness rapid production of these materials is quite large. This untapped value enables Collider to use its 3D printing technology to maintain production prices for both low and mid-volume quantities, which allows manufacturers to produce parts in materials that have been traditionally reserved for methods like injection molding and tooling.
Disrupt NY 2017 is TechCrunch’s 8th annual conference in New York, and pairs product and company launches with thought-leader discussions. Morning executive discussions cover such topics as Yahoo’s huge data breach, making change in a digital era, and how to shop, and build up brands, in today’s social media society. In the afternoons, over 20 companies launch for the first time onstage at the Startup Battlefield. Applications are received from startups all over the world, and the winner not only gets the Disrupt Cup at the end of the conference, but also a $50,000 grand prize.
Collider sells all of its materials, and also leases the Orchid, with its unique two-part process. Inside the same machine, the photopolymer shell is 3D printed, and then injected with traditional plastic casting materials, which are cured through a chemical process. Once the hollow shell dissolves in hot water, a production-quality part is left. The startup is accepting customers for its small beta phase right now, and Orchid delivery is expected in late 2017. The customer-ready machines will be available to waiting list customers, and then the public, in 2018; customers can hold their spot on the waiting list and receive material updates and release dates by signing up on the Collider website. We wish Collider the best of luck at the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield. Discuss in the Collider forum at 3DPB.com.