Alexander Hussain, CEO of 3d Chimera discusses the benefits of 3D printing prototype machine parts.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com being the website. I’m your host Matt Register. Jay Curry is one sitting over there in the cohost chair. We are at the turbo show here at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. That is the 47 turbo machinery and 34th pumps symposium, brought to you by the turbo lab at Texas A and M university, which is part of the College of Mechanical Engineering there at Texas A and M. So we’re talking about rotating equipment. We’re talking pumps and gearboxes and turbans and anything that goes round and round, which is a big, big part of the economy here in Texas. We’re going to spend a minute and talk about some 3-D printing. We’re bringing you kind of the best of this show and as we’re walking around talking to these guys some things caught our eye as very, very interesting. 3-D printing is a technology that’s coming on strong. It’s changing the way that engineering departments are designing parts. We have an expert in here to talk to you a little bit about that. What do you think, Jay?
Jay Curry: This is revolutionary stuff. It’s amazing and it’s just beginning. I mean, you gotta hear it.
Matt Register: Yeah. We have Alex Hussain who is the CEO of 3-D Chimera, out of Florida that is here in the booth talking to us a little bit. Talk to us a little bit about your company and what do you do and who do you do it too?
Alexander Hussain: Gotcha. Yeah. So 3-D Chimera we’re a 3-D printing company, we specialize in identifying the types of 3-D printers that are perfect fit for engineers for applications like this. Here at the show we’re showcasing our German Rip Rap 3-D printers. They’re designed and built in Munich, Germany. They can print all sorts of really interesting parts.
Matt Register: Well, we were talking during the break. And one of the interesting things is the sticker price of this are these machines are relatively small considering some of the parts that are being made on them.
Alexander Hussain: Absolutely.
Matt Register: Now these aren’t necessarily production runs of parts, but they’re certainly, this is a great tool to use to mock one up into, to build prototypes, correct?
Alexander Hussain: Absolutely. Yeah. Engineering prototypes, jigs and fixtures, even production parts in a very short runs one, five, 10 pieces. No problem on a 3-D printer.
Matt Register: Well, we have some of them here in the booth and I tell you what, for an engineer to be able to take it from a CAD cam drawing, and turn it into something that you can fit in your hand that you can actually use in a very short period of time. It’s something that hasn’t existed for that long, right?
Alexander Hussain: Yeah. I mean, these printers are pretty amazing. Something like this, you know, you gotta design it up in CAD during the day. You’re gonna set your file up in the evening. And you can print something like this overnight. This particular part is a printed out of a composite material. Carbon fiber, nylon. It’s going to be super strong. It can withstand temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius. So you know, this is no joke, 3-D printing.
Matt Register: Well, and with that kind of material, you actually can use this for actual parts in a machine, maybe non critical parts, right?
Alexander Hussain: Sure.
Matt Register: Parts that don’t need the strength that carbon steel would have or something like that.
Alexander Hussain: Sure. Sure.
Matt Register: But it’s certainly viable parts to put into a piece of equipment. Correct?
Alexander Hussain: Absolutely. No question about it. Whether it’s something super strong like this or something super flexible like this. This is an engineering grade, a flexible material from DuPont. The DuPont high trial material. So we have all sorts of options available for us on these machines.
Matt Register: Now these machines, you can put various different kinds of materials in it, right?
Alexander Hussain: That’s right.
Matt Register: So you can create parts made out of different materials, but all of them are a plastic, is that correct?
Alexander Hussain: That’s right, yes. So the common thing across these printers is going to be that they print thermo plastic. So one of the magic things about German CAD. Part of the reason that we selected them to really introduce the to the US market is that they’re a totally open materials system. So some of the old school 3-D printing companies really forced you into using their materials and they’re super high priced. That’s not the case with them.
Matt Register: Yeah, it was the HP printer model, right? Where they give you the printer, but you got to buy the ink, right?
Alexander Hussain: Yeah.
Matt Register: So, but these guys you can buy, you can buy the ink, right? You can buy the plastic that goes into it from anywhere and basically put anything through with. Is that accurate?
Alexander Hussain: That’s right. Yeah. So these 3-D printers, they run on what we call filament, kind of looks like a weed wacker line. And that filament, we of course produce our own. We have all sorts of varieties that are available. They’re super easy to work with, but you can purchase on the free market. You could even extrude your own. Let’s say you’re working with proprietary engineering grade of plastic. Something really unique to your application. No problem. You can get that extruded into filament and running right through the 3-D printer.
Matt Register: That’s interesting stuff. How has this changed the way that engineering departments are working?
Alexander Hussain: The main thing is speed. What we say as engineers that are able to take their product development cycles and just put them on hyper speed. So a process they maybe took two to six weeks, to come up with an idea, design it up in CAD wait for the machine shop to send you a part back, tweak it, fix it. That kind of stuff happens in the course of a day or the course of two days, as opposed to the course of a week, two weeks, three weeks.
Matt Register: Well, and like I said, the cost of this thing is, I don’t wanna say insignificant, but it is not a significant emotional event.
Alexander Hussain: Yeah. I think for these types of 3-D printers in a professional application, uh, they started around the $14,000 range. They ended up in about the $60,000 range. So, it’s a tool as part of the engineering process, so it’s an investment just like a CNC or a CAD system, but it’s a tool that allows you to speed up your process and to quickly and efficiently develop new products.
Jay Curry: So Alex, it’d be a situation where if you just needed a few, if you were going to do a large production now that wouldn’t apply. But if we’re going to do a few, which is perfect for research and development.
Alexander Hussain: Oh yeah.
Jay Curry: Let’s knock out a few of these, test it.
Alexander Hussain: Oh yeah, it’s fantastic for R and D work. Let’s take this impeller for example. Let’s say an engineer wants to test, a six blade, a nine blade, eight blade impeller, right? And so they can print all three of them overnight on the same machine, get them in the morning, do their engineering tests, compare the results. Then you go, “Hey man, the nine blade is the way we want to go.” So you go ahead and print maybe a half a dozen of them and you’re ready to rock and roll. Those are out there …
Jay Curry: You mean go to actual testing. Unbelievable.
Alexander Hussain: Yeah, it’s super fast.
Matt Register: No interesting stuff. What’s the easiest way, Alex, for somebody to learn more? Should they want to learn more?
Alexander Hussain: You guys can reach out to our website. It’s 3dchimera.com, through there, there’s a contact page that’s easy. Or email Alex@3dchimera.com.
Matt Register: 3-Dchimera.com. 3-D-C-H-I-M-E-R-A-.com. We’re going to have that link right from Texasbusinessradio.com if you’re driving and can’t take notes, I will have it linked right from there. Alex Hussein is the CEO of 3-D Chimera, dealing with 3-D printers and a very, very interesting stuff. Thanks for joining us.
Jay Curry: Thank you for coming.
Alexander Hussain: Thank you guys. Appreciate it.
Matt Register: All right, we’re going to go to a quick break. We’re going to bring you a whole lot more from turbo show here on Texas business radio. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.