Houston Innovators Podcast Episode 51
Aside from collecting their plastics throughout the week and dragging the bin to the curb, people aren't usually preoccupied with the recycling of materials. Houston-based Re:3D wants to change that.
The company was founded in 2013 by NASA contractors Samantha Snabes and Matthew Fiedler to tackle to challenge of larger scale 3D printing and give people the power to create things larger than a breadbox. The bootstrapped company has received grants and crowdfunding and grown to a 20-person team with a lab in Clear Lake.
Over the past seven years, Re:3D has evolved its technology, from enhancing its GigaBot 3D printers to print from recycled materials to creating larger devices, like a six-foot-tall 3D printer. A true testament to its growth, Re:3D was recognized as the Company of the Year for 2020 by the Consumer Technology Association.
The company has completed accelerators and pitch competitions and even recently finished The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator this year, which has really set the team up for new opportunities in sustainability.
"We're keen to start to explore strategic pilots and partnerships with groups thinking about close-loop economies and sustainable manufacturing," Snabes says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.
Of course, like many startups, the emergence of COVID-19 affected Re:3D's sales cycle, but the pandemic did open a door to an opportunity to 3D print personal protection equipment. Through a partnership with Impact Hub Houston called PPE for the People, Charlotte Craff, who oversees community outreach, Re:3D started a months-long mission of printing PPE for at-risk workers who otherwise couldn't afford it.
"As the pandemic continued, the data was emerging that people of color in Black and Brown communities and underserved communities were at greater risk of critical illness from COVID-19," Craff says on the podcast. "We wanted to specifically target people of color who were working as Texas opened back up its doors."
PPE for the People is still hard at work — and even seeking donations and volunteers to help print and deliver the equipment — as the need to help keep these communities safe continues to be imperative.
Craff and Snabes share more about Re:3D — from its success on TripAdvisor as a top educational tour attraction in Houston to the future of 3D printing — on the episode. The duo even discusses an upcoming virtual tour of the Re:3D lab that's open to anyone on the Re:3D website.
You can listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.