Pittsburgh-based PieceMaker, one of the first companies to allow you to walk into a storefront and purchase your own customized 3D printed retail products, has just announced that they will now be taking their material capability even further, thanks to a new collaboration with industrial printer manufacturer ExOne. The resulting partnership will see ExOne’s metal 3D printing material into PieceMaker’s consumer 3D printing kiosks.
PieceMaker has been a staple in customizable 3D printed toys and fashion accessories geared toward “tweens”, and have seen their 3D printing retail services within well-established stores, such as Toys R Us. ExOne, who are also a Pittsburgh-based company, are renowned for their binder jet metal 3D printing machines. And, now, they are giving PieceMaker access to their metal 3D printing processes. Their metal 3D printing technology will eventually be implemented into the “PieceMaker Factory”, allowing consumers to personalize the designs of different retailers and brands with ExOne metals. This is one of the first instances of consumers having such direct access to metal 3D printing for personalized goods.
But before PieceMaker launches the ExOne metal materials in their 3D printing kiosks, the company will unveil the new collaboration at the 2015 Maker Faire Pittsburgh, taking place from October 10th to the 11th. Representatives from both PieceMaker and ExOne will be present at the Maker Faire booth, within the Innovation Works Zone, and will be raffling off a 3D printed “Tech Belt” to festival attendees, which is said to be a symbol of expanding technology within the area of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the Maker Faire raffle will be donated to the Project Olympus Spark Grant Fund, an early-stage incubator from Carnegie Mellon University that, as a matter of fact, helped PieceMaker get their own business model started up.
The PieceMaker team is certainly excited to be presenting this hometown collaboration between two Pittsburgh-based 3D printing companies, not just for the expansion of their retail capabilities, but also for the attention this will hopefully bring Pittsburgh as an American tech hub. “We look forward to a growing relationship with such pioneers of in-store product customization and expanding our technology for metal printing into the consumer market space,” says Tom Pasterik, Manager of PieceMaker’s Business & Process Development. “Joining forces with a local company for this project just proves how innovative and tech-centered Pittsburgh is becoming.”
The collaboration between PieceMaker and ExOne is evidence for how important building B2B tech relationships is, especially at the local levels. Not only will PieceMaker now have a more superior product, but the city of Pittsburgh will also be likely to get some time in the tech spotlight as well.