There's a reason why 3-D printing is often used for prototypes. The quality of the product is typically shoddy because of the materials used, and MadeSolid is hoping to change that.
Presenting at Y Combinator's demo day Tuesday, MadeSolid cofounder Lance Pickens said the company has researched and created three new materials that are compatible with existing 3-D printers. "It's essentially an upgrade for the 3-D printer you already have," he says. "The materials that are being used right now are essentially designed to be garbage. They spend most of their life in landfills."
Brian Martinez, another cofounder of MadeSolid, told Fast Company existing materials used in 3-D printing are PLA, a type of thermoplastic used to make the lids of plastic cups, or ABS, another thermoplastic used to create Lego bricks. In contrast, the materials sold by MadeSolid are designed to be flexible, durable, and able to withstand impact. Below are some of the products created with MadeSolid's materials.
Based in Emeryville, Calif., MadeSolid has shipped its materials to 25 countries, reporting 16% growth week over week. Pickens says the company has 80% profit margins.
"The ultimate value in a 3-D printer isn't the printer," he says. "It's in the output, and the output is ultimately determined by the input: the bits and atoms."