A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Tom Meeks and showing him around our facilities, Tom wears many hats but one of them is technology and blogging. Tom has been a fan of Cube® printers and runs the blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/ , along with that Tom is heavily involved with The YouthQuest Foundation which supports the academic, vocational and life-enriching development of America's at-risk youth. If you want to read Tom's account you can find it below or on his blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/2016/06/visiting-makeshaper-and-witnessing.html#comment-form
Visiting MakeShaper and Witnessing Resilience Firsthand
Last week, I was teaching in the Virginia Beach area and decided, since I was already more than halfway there, that I would make a visit to MakeShaper's headquarters in Sanford, NC. I like to get to know the people behind the products that we use and talk about in this blog. I expected a find evidence of a commitment to quality. But, nothing could prepared me for the lengths to which MakeShaper is making to ensure THE highest quality is delivered to their filament customers. A Tour to Remember
While I can't discuss all the steps that I saw being taken to produce the highest quality product, I can say that they even go so far as to build their own proprietary machinery if that is what it takes to better their peers. MakeShaper is a division of Static Control Components, which began in a garage about 30 years ago. They sure have come a long way since then. The facility, which creates 2D printer cartridges as well as the 3D filament that are of interest to us is absolutely massive! Touring the facility is not only enlightening, it's exhausting for an old guy. But, it was well worth it.Resilience and Perseverance on a Grand Scale And, speaking of old guys, one of the most impressive aspects of the tour came in the form of a piece of art and a photograph memorializing a day that could have been the end of Static Control Components (SCC). In April of 2011 multiple tornadoes touched down in Sanford and decimated SCC's facilities. The founder of SCC was 75 at the time and the damage was so severe that many thought he simply might walk away. But, he did not. They were contacting customers and shipping product in days. Please read this story and view the images of the devastation. Here is a link to a news video that is well worth visiting if you want to understand the company's character.MakeShaper for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro - More to come The Makeshaper division is relatively young when compared to the age of parent organization. So, their product line is still growing. We saw 3D printers of virtually every make and model being used to develop and test new products. The current filament choices available for the 1st and 2nd Cube and CubePro are limited to Red, Green, Blue, Black & White in PLA and ABS. But, I expect that more choices will be forthcoming after extensive testing. More than Just Filament Joining me on this visit was Jeff Epps of the Richmond County school system just miles from MakeShaper's headquarters. A good deal of the time of the visit was devoted to talking about how 3D design and printing can literally change lives of at-risk students. Both of us came away impressed by what we heard from MakeShaper's management. They 'get it'. So, I don't expect that this meeting will be the last time we meet together to talk about our common goals in the communities in which we serve. Bottom Line for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro Owners. The reason why I made the trip was to see if I could find evidence as to the steps MakeShaper was taking to ensure that we could trust their products in our printers. I came away feeling that they are striving to be the manufacturer of THE most reliable filament available. The comprehensive testing is there. In fact, the level of testing is so much higher than the industry norm that I cannot even write about it in detail. The construction is there. Every cartridge contains a bag of moisture protection INSIDE the cartridge for continuous protection. The moisture protection bags are much heavier for additional storage protection. The price is there. Currently, a 2nd Gen Cartridge is just $25 with free shipping on orders over $50. So, I would urge you to consider trying MakeShaper. And, let me know what you think. After all, the real testing is in YOUR hands. Only you can attest that the MakeShaper alternative is right for Cube owners. But, I trust you will find my assessment to match your own. Let me know....