In the past few years, 3D printing has matured beyond its initial hype cycle. While there isn’t going to be a 3D printer in every home any time soon, 3D printing has started to appear in small and medium businesses, classrooms and labs, around the world. When you consider the “use case potential”, this makes sense – there isn’t much you can 3D print for your home, but rapid prototyping, STEAM education, architecture, product design, and many other fields have real use cases for 3D printing right now. However, as 3D printing is often used for rapid prototyping or one-of production, a significant amount of waste can be created – enters ReDeTec to the rescue with its recycling solutions for 3D printing.
To solve the wastage issues and the higher costs associated with 3D printing, ReDeTec has developed a technology that recycles the 3D printer waste back into filament for FDM 3D printing. This is known as ProtoCycler, which eliminates all printer wastes, reduces printing costs by over 80%, and allows full-fledged control over the color and material used in 3D printing.
A Leader who Experienced Joy of 3D Printing before People Heard of it
Dennon Oosterman, CEO of ReDeTec is one of the very few people, who has been lucky enough to experience the uniqueness and joy of 3D printing before most of the people even heard of the technology. However, while experiencing 3D printing, he also came across how much it costs and how quickly the obsolete and nearly useless prototypes start filling trash cans, which eventually led to the foundation of ReDeTec. Dennon’s prior experience in two other start-ups and a brief stint in Venture Capital have helped him and other Co-founders to guide the business since the time of its inception. However, thanks to the healthy dosage of technical know-how in the funding team and brilliant support network of advisors on the business side helped the company reach where it is today. Dennon is an engineering graduate from The University of British Columbia, he loves to make stuff in his free time- which can be anything from wooden boats, to vintage guitar amplifier, or even beer. According to Dennon, making something by himself is more satisfying and affordable than buying off the shelf, which even allows to get the desired thing.
Rising above the Challenges to Achieve their Vision
Since its very inception, ReDeTec has had a very tumultuous journey to reach where it stands today. From cash flow gaps in manufacturing to the almost torturous process of safety certification; to last minute experiment failures or shipping logistics and fulfillment; the list of challenges they had to face goes on.
A recurring theme among all of their obstacles and struggles has been the fact that no one had ever done or attempted this before in the 3D industry. Their vision of recycling plastic with consumer appliance was something unheard of before and to implement the same with 3D printing further complicated the process. ReDeTec had to invest a lot of effort in R&D and even in-house production, as no one else in the industry was able to produce their envisioned technologies at their price point.
Company Philosophy Summed-up in Two Words – Creative Empowerment
ReDeTec facilitates freedom for everyone, everywhere, to make almost anything. Irrespective of the pollution that it may cause, the expenses that it may bear, or the number of attempts that it may take, ReDeTec ensures democracy of fabrication where everyone has the freedom to make anything.
ReDeTec wants waste pickers in developing countries to be able to make custom prosthetic hand; they want NASA to be able to recycle waste on the International Space Station into new needed tools; they want children to learn about science and technology in the most hands-on way possible. By giving everyone, everywhere the ability to physically manifest their ideas, ReDeTec believes that they can change the world and it has already begun according to them.
Tackling the Competition and Staying One-Step ahead of the Industry
According to Dennon Oosterman, “I think the future of 3D printing lies in two key areas – usability and colour. Right now 3D printers are like the original dot matrix “2d” printers…they work, but in an extremely limited and difficult way.”
ReDeTec realizes these issues and is now allowing people to tweak the printers for free, as well as allowing customized colors. In addition to these, the company is currently working on a new extrusion technology to allow full colour printing, which as they rightfully claim to be a “game-changer.”
It should come off as no surprise that till date, ReDeTec is the only company in the world that offers integrated recycling technology for 3D printing. There is no other available product in the market like ProtoCycler, which can take 3D printer waste and return it to filament form – from grinding through to spooling phase, completely automated. To stay ahead of their contemporaries and the industry itself, ReDeTec also possess a patent pending plastic extrusion technology. This technology significantly reduces the time and energy required to extrude plastic at any scale, and is the only filament extruder in the market to be certified for safety by UL, FCC, CE, etc.