Concept Craft is a relatively new Poland-based 3D printing startup that’s developed the GEMform, a desktop 3D printer.
The machine appears to be able to print extremely fine details, so we spoke with CEO and Founder Jacek Stachowski to find out more about the product.
Fabbaloo: Concept Craft® is a new startup company. What were the circumstances that led to its launch? Who is involved?
Jacek Stachowski: Concept-Craft® runs on local market of 3D printing since May 2014. At the beginning we were 3D printing for CAD designers, industrial designers and other person who needed our services. Additionally, the Concept-Craft was selling other FDM 3D printers. In 2015 we were going to start selling the printer called “PirxOne” but the company which was going to launch this very nice printer gone bankrupt and we have bought the project and documentation to finish this project. As we get all rights to the product, we finished it and as “GEMform” the printer comes onto market.
At beginning company was 1-person small company, now we are cooperating with few designers and engineers connected to the old – Pirx’s – project and with professional factory which will produce GEMforms in appropriate way – professionally and high quality.
Fabbaloo: Concept Craft®’s first product is the GEMform desktop 3D printer. Can you describe its basic characteristics? What type of filament is used? Does it use a Bowden extruder approach? What is the build volume?
Jacek Stachowski: GEMform 3D printer connects two types of 3D printers – the closed build 3D printers and open print space concepts. Special construction of rigid steel frame and case gives the opportunity to use the printer in 2 ways: with closed print chamber – if your print need it, and with open chamber with great access to vital printer’s components on level of comfort on highest level.
The printer works on many filaments, as the construction of extruder allows it to use traditional ABS and PLA to the more specific, elastic filaments. The only limitation is a temperature in which filament has to operate. The GEMform has heated bed, can have closed print chamber, 2 cooling fans – it can use wide range of materials.
The build volume is 194 x 250 x 190 mm. The printer has heated bed, LED light, SD card slot, manipulator, LCD screen. Can work on PC (Repetier Host) or from SD card. Spool holder is universal – we don’t want to close this feature to the users. The print parameters can be changed during printing (i.e. temps, flow, cooling, speed, pause).
Fabbaloo: What is the target market for the GEMform? Which industry is it optimized for?
Jacek Stachowski: We have two targets to which we want to address our printers.
First are the person connected with the CAD, designers, professional prototyping and other related branches which need to use 3D printing in their work – we can give them very good, high end quality, precise and user friendly product, which has all features expected from professional machine – we know that some times bigger print volumes are needed, but in most prototyping cases desktop size is absolutely enough. (We do so as we print for our customers).
Some can say that we don’t have the features like autoleveling, auto positioning – but we found that if electronics don’t work properly (it happens not so rarely in more complicated machines) – the simplicity is the basis of high reliability and repeatability of very precise prints. As the professional users of 3D print machines we figured that the better solution is to have stable effects without electronic errors than fancy autobot which showers user with tons of errors.
Second target are people who want to have a very nice gadget – connected with the technology of future, additionally the gadget which is uniquely designed – especially as we are thinking about next step in 3D printing – the machine that will be connected with GEMform but will make a step forward into much eco-friendlier, home production of plastic elements).
Fabbaloo: In a world that seems to be overflowing with desktop 3D printer options, what features on the GEMform can attract buyers?
Jacek Stachowski: First of all, the printer has totally new, never used, design. It looks very different from other 3D printers which are mostly the variations of cubes, boxes or rep-rap frame construction. Additionally, the design is protected on EU’s territory.
Second is that the printer is fully made of metal – the case and the construction of print space are from rigid steel. You can even stand on the printer. Usage of steel gave one non-predicted feature. The printer doesn’t move on even most slippery desks when printing. The printer is really solid – once the prototype has fallen from chair on the floor and nothing happened – still works, no bends or damages thanks to the hardiness of steel construction.
Third is the full metal extruder, which allows usage of many materials – we don’t use printed parts at all especially in so vital thing as printer’s head.
The printer can print with 0.05mm layer – even when using 0.4mm nozzle (some of 3D printer enthusiast say that this is impossible to print that layer with this kind of nozzle).
Two cooling fans make possible to print long bridges without support, and to make 70 deg. overhangs (effect depends on layer size).
The printer will be fully made in Europe to be sure that parts manufactured specially to the GEMform are best quality possible.
Fabbaloo: Where do you develop and build the GEMform? Do you have a manufacturing partner?
Jacek Stachowski: We have developed the printer by ourselves in our office in Krakow, Poland, but we established the cooperation with professional manufacturing partner – the company which builds electronic and mechanic features since 1970’s – which will produce GEMform on industrial scale with industrial precision and care known from many electronic things used in modern life.
We want to certify the printer to be sure it will not harm the user or his place. Additionally, we are going to give proper attention stickers on dangerous parts of machine (hot end, moving elements). The comfort and the safety of usage are equally important to us.
Fabbaloo: What steps do you take in the factory and design stages to ensure the product is of the highest quality?
Jacek Stachowski: The project was tested by more than 2 years – currently we use the final prototype almost all around the clock from more than 1,5 years, printing for our customers or for ourselves – we can say that this is very long stress test. The only things that has broken are typical usage things like clogged nozzles – it happens in all FDM 3D printer and is connected with the parameters and used materials. Intervals of nozzle change (working 20h / day, 6 day/ week) when using our dedicated PLA material are about 3200h of printing when running on dedicated parameters – the test is still going on and the final interval is still growing.
Metal made elements are picked out from many kinds of materials to be sure that parameters are the best possible for vital parts.
We always want to buy certified parts and components, so we are looking only for good suppliers which has all of documentations, test and certifications for their products.
Prototype was duly tested in climate chamber, we’ve sprayed the water on working machine, over heated it few times to be sure that it will auto-stop when find temp error. In 1.5 year of working on GEMform we had much less problems than good known machine starting with “M” generates in 3 months.
Fabbaloo: 3D printing startups often have challenges getting product to all the markets - what is your sales distribution strategy? Do you sell online? Use resellers?
Jacek Stachowski: We are elastic as to the selling model. We want to cooperate with everyone who want to sell our products. As we will focus on shipping we will not sell much by ourselves, but we have local internet store. We prefer few kinds of cooperation with our selling agents.
First is drop shipping – you sell to your client, you pay us lower price, we ship directly to your client.
Second is reseller – we will go to make cooperation with companies which will be able to provide service on other continents than Europe – we will provide the service instructions, parts etc. to them. The selling is as normal, shop one. You buy with lower price to your stock and sell with higher price, which don’t need to be the same as our RRP.
Third idea is to run a campaign on Indiegogo or other portal, connected to 3D printers and our planned devices connected with 3D printing technology. We will give vouchers as an opportunity to get great discounts.
Fourth way we are thinking about is to cooperate with schools, foundations which are teaching children about mechanics, engineering or so. We are thinking about organizing this kind of activities in cooperation with people connected with education.
Fifth one we are considering is to get the group of freelancers to sell our product when they will have the opportunity – but we need to think more about that.
Fabbaloo: Has the market caught on to the GEMform? How have sales been so far?
Jacek Stachowski: We haven’t sell yet. We are going to start pre-sale with discounts, extra gear. We need to get some money to start the production in cooperating factory. Now we are focused to give the GEMform chance to show on the market in media like Fabbaloo.
Fabbaloo: Finally, why is the machine called the “GEMform”?
Jacek Stachowski: The genesis of the GEMform’s name is quite simple. As you can see the printer looks like the gem when you look at the front of it. The second aspect to name it GEMform is the great effects of prints made by this device, and the third aspect was to make some unique name which doesn’t sound like other “Bot” “Maker” and other, very popular names on the FDM market.
The printer has unique design so the name had to be different from other printers.