A COLLEGE INTERNSHIP THAT FUELED A GLOBAL ASSET ACQUISITION
Rich Wetzel, CEO and co-founder of Freshmade 3D, started out at the YBI in 2014 as an entrepreneurship intern, before becoming a business coordinator in the additive manufacturing (AM) department, and that AM exposure blossomed into his first startup Freshmade 3D.
“We’re so proud to be a part of Freshmade 3D’s success,” said Barb Ewing, YBI CEO. “Two of the three founders started their entrepreneurial career as part of our team. They are proof that Northeast Ohio is fast becoming the epicenter for additive manufacturing in North America.”
The first iteration of Freshmade 3D focused on 3D printing consultation for users in the high-end auto restoration industry. Then, when the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber commissioned Freshmade 3D (along with Humtown Products and Youngstown State University) to make life sized 3D printed bobbleheads of presidential candidates, their brilliant team of engineers created a new material product – AMClad.
AMClad, which is an extremely strong, affordable solution, uses a binder jetting of sand through an ExOne machine, followed by resin impregnation. The bobblehead project was intended to showcase the advanced manufacturing capabilities in the region, and it led to the creation of a revolutionary product!
While visiting the YBI in January 2018, Rick Lucas, CTO of ExOne, had a chance to see some AMClad parts on display and found them impressive. This led to prototyping, which developed into on-going business for Freshmade 3D, and, most recently, ExOne’s of Freshmade 3D’s AMClad assets.
The patented AMClad tooling process will provide ExOne with the ability to scale up for a global aerospace customer and help accelerate adoption of 3D printed sand tooling solutions. The acquisition of Freshmade 3D gives ExOne the ability to offer the patented AMClad process to customers starting immediately.
“We are delighted to add Freshmade 3D’s patented process for creating durable 3D printed tooling to our portfolio,” said John Hartner, ExOne CEO. “We plan to scale up this process for a global aerospace customer that intends to use this tooling for composite layup of parts. This is an ideal solution for companies looking to shorten supply chains and produce tooling and final products locally.”
Rich has expressed his appreciation to the YBI for the connections he has been able to make, such as partners like ExOne and big name companies looking to use 3DP. The connections from AM (additive manufacturing) cluster meetings often lead to additional connections. The AM cluster did a great job at bringing referrals and exposing them to new market opportunities.
2021 Updates: SInce the big acquisition earlier in the year, ExOne has been on somewhat of an expansion drive itself over the last six months, acquiring the ‘AMClad’ assets of Freshmade 3D, with the intention of scaling the technology for a global aerospace client, as well as launching its Metal Designlab 3D printer.