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An Interview with NVBOTS COO Chris Haid

Chris Haid recently sat down with Joe, a high school student, to discuss NVBOTS and 3D printing in general. Below is an excerpt from the interview we thought would be beneficial to share with the NVBOTS community!

Q: How did you get connected with NVBOTS?

A: I am one of the four co-founders of NVBOTS. We have been working on 3D printers for roughly 2.5 years now, but I have known the co-founders since my freshman year at MIT.

Q: What is the goal of NVBOTS? And what exactly do you do?

At NVBOTS, our mission is to bring the ideas of the world to life. Our approach is to first bring student’s ideas to life, encouraging the adoption of 3D printing as a mainstream technology by providing products designed with ease of use and ease of sharing in mind. Personally, I am the COO of NVBOTS. This means my current role is to serve as the interface between our customers and our manufacturing group. I lead up sales/rentals and also have my hands in the manufacturing process, all the way down to product development.

Q: How soon would you say the everyday family will begin owning 3D printers and what would the families use it for? 

Before we have 3D printers in every home, everyone needs to have had access to a 3D printer. This currently takes the form of Printing as a Service companies (i.e. Shapeways) but will evolve into print centers adopting 3D printing technology. This is currently happening with companies such as UPS. Eventually, we will begin to see 3D printers made for home use – and not just for the techie hobbyist, but for the everyday consumer.

This may take up to a decade, but if 3D printing companies can truly be creative and innovative with the applications of the printers they sell, then 3D Printing in the home will happen sooner. I would say a good parallel is the Apple and Android app marketplaces. This is where either the company itself or the community actively supports efforts to develop applications for the product. 3D printers are like phones in this way: they are useless to most people until actual applications for them are made, and then they become useful and provide value. It may take ten years until we see a true marketplace for 3D printing apps.

Q: I have read about how some printers have “open source” software and other printers do not. What exactly would the advantages be with open source software? Or are there no advantages? 

A: There are advantages to open source solutions and to closed source solutions. Open and closed source solutions also apply to hardware, not just software. What are the advantages of using each as a solution? The answer depends on who is using this technology. If the user is someone who has some free time on their hands and is willing to do a bit of debugging and troubleshooting themselves, then an open source solution may be the best solution for them as it is cheaper than the alternative. On the other hand, if your user doesn’t have much time on their hands to deal with software bugs and simply wants a solution that works out of the box, then the better answer is probably a closed source solution. It will cost these users money, but it will save them the time they aren’t willing to spend.

Q: What would you say is the best home 3D printer on the market right now and why? 

A: This depends on the user. In my opinion, the best home printer on the market right now is one that comes as a kit. Getting a printer in kit form means you need to build it yourself, which gives you the satisfaction of creating something yourself and also the understanding of how that machine works. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing your first print come to life on a printer that you built yourself.

 Q: How would a student leaving high school and heading to college get connected into the 3D printing world? 

 There are so many ways for students entering college to immerse themselves in the 3D printing community. My suggestion: go to a maker faire or 3D printing conference. As a student you can get in for very little money (if not for free). This is a chance to meet the people who are doing it, which yields loads of insight into 3D printing. On campus, find access to 3D printers. Start creating your own projects. Think of ways to take advantage of this new technology that is at your disposal. Be vocal about your projects: post to your choice of the numerous online channels that center on 3D printing. The 3D printing subreddit on, the Reprap community, 3Ders, and other online communities are really taking off. Look at what folks do on these sites. Learn from them and share what you create so others have the opportunity to learn from you. If you create enough interest through the projects you create that involve 3D printing, the more you will become not only engrained in the community, but you can become a leader of it. At the end of the day, the best way to get involved is to bring your own ideas to life and share those ideas with the community. As you do this, you will be surprised at all of the experience you are gaining. This experience could even lead to an important role in a 3D printing company, where you have a direct hand in how 3D printing develops as a technology and as a tool to help people.