I caught up with Voodoo Manufacturing CEO Max Friefeld to learn more about a newly launched Shopify App, how to manage a print farm with over 200 3D printers, and learn his thoughts about a perennial 3D printing forum favorite – food safety and 3D printed cookie cutters.
By means of introduction Shopify is an ecommerce platform with approximately 600,000 vendors. The new app created by Voodoo Manufacturing allows those vendors to fulfill orders via Voodoo’s FDM/FFF 3D printer farm. It joins services like Sculpteo’s cloud based 3D-printing solution as a way for vendors to lower inventory holding requirements and also allows agile vendors to quickly respond to opportunities.
3D Printing Industry: I’d like to know more about the decision to launch the app and whether this has been influenced in anyway by recent changes at 3D Hubs?
Max Friefeld: The app is the next step for us in expanding the applications of Fulfilled By Voodoo which we announced back in April. We wanted to open it up to people who did not have 3D design skills to make their own 3D printable products. Our shopify app is built to bring 3D printed products to the masses by making it fast and free to launch custom 3D products and sell them online.
3D Printing Industry: What is the reason for the focus on cookie cutters and how are these materials made food-safe?
Max Friefeld: Cookie cutters are just the one product in a long lineup of products we plan to launch. We are starting with cookie cutters, coasters, wall hooks, but we have dozens more products lined up after this.
We use food safe PLA plastic, and have tested our printing process with external vendors to verify that our parts are non-toxic after they leave the factory.
3D Printing Industry: Some have concerns about the suitability of FDM 3D printing for making food-safe objects and whether a cookie cutter should used more than once. In particular, the porosity of the filament and gaps between layers having potential for bacterial growth, the type of hot-ends (i.e. low levels of lead from brass nozzles) used on the printers and whether the printers are used for other purposes than making equipment intended to be used with food.
Max Friefeld: As long as customers follow the guidelines, the products are safe for use. Our cookie cutters are not dishwasher safe, but should be cleaned with warm soapy water after each use. We do not recommend anyone eats raw cookie dough ever, always bake your cookies before eating.
3D Printing Industry: Will plug-ins for other platforms be released?
Max Friefeld: We wanted to start with Shopify because they are an industry leader in ecommerce, but we hope to launch on more platforms in the future.
3D Printing Industry: What has been the experience of the beta users, in particular can you say anything about the volume of orders coming via the Voodoo app?
Max Friefeld: Our beta users have been using the app for a little over 2 weeks. Although we cannot comment on the sales volume at this time, we are very excited by the early results. Integrations, # of designs, and sales are moving about twice as fast as we originally projected.
Our early beta users, like Lucy Hutcheson, and their customers have all expressed a lot of excitement about what we are working on.
3D Printing Industry: What can you say about how automation (such as the Universal Robot’s robot arms) is used at Voodoo Manufacturing?
We have built the first fully-automated manufacturing pipeline for Shopify. It’s amazing to watch. If you place an order right now, it will enter our order queue, be assigned to a printer, and start printing automatically. No human intervention required. If a Skywalker printer has the right color on it, your part will also be automatically harvested and sent to our QA and shipping processes. This is how we can handle thousands of unique orders every month without error.
We know that fulfillment for retail in the holidays is always a difficult time, which is why we’re excited to be using Skywalker with our Shopify integration. We are built for scale.
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Featured image shows Max Friefeld CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing.