This is a guest blog post from our friend and customer Jeremy Proffitt. We have a little bio for Jeremy at the end of the article. He was lucky enough to attend the first Proto-Pasta Experience Group Workshop
You can find more information on their workshop at the link above
Printed Solid has been a partner with Proto-Pasta since 2013 and you can find all of their filaments here: Proto-Pasta Filament
Below is his writeup:
While we can tweak and modify our printers and slicer profiles for a great print, it’s that unique quality of the material which can bring a print over the top! The Premium filament market has grown so quickly in the past few years, and it’s given us new and exciting ways to explore strength, color and finish.
For years, in my shop, if I wanted that unquestionably finished look, I always grabbed a roll of Proto-Pasta. A few weeks ago, I heard Proto-Pasta was offering their first-ever filament-making class. Having seen Tom and Joel make their own filament at Proto-Pasta, I knew it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!
I grabbed an empty suite case (more on that later) and hopped a flight to Portland, Oregon. When I Ubered up to an unmarked building and saw Alex’s car out front with a Proto-Pasta banner taped to the window, I felt like a kid at Christmas! Alex gave me a hearty greeting and offered me locally made donuts and a cup of his self-roasted coffee, so good, it lacked the need of my normally required cream and sugar. Then, I started quietly taking in everything Proto-Pasta.
As everyone arrived for class, the comradery grew as we all told our war stories, traded pictures and spoke of all things 3D printing. From content developers, robot makers, designers and just all around cool people, the class was a great mix of the diversity of this craft. Alex gave us a schedule, talk and, of course, a tour of the ProtoPlant!
My attention was drawn to how organized and methodical everything was as we walked around from their inventory shelves to the palette extruder that’s used to mix color, additives and plastic together into concentrate. Next, we visited the “line” where their custom-made filament extruders were sitting lined up for our little day of joy! Alex reminisced about the Kickstarter, talked of iterations of their extruding screws machined in-house and shared his passion for how the creation of filament has been a journey for him.
Then we filed back into the office. Some of us picked out development rolls of filament as inspiration and others took colorful bits and pieces out of their pockets. We filed through one at a time and began working with Alex to make our own custom filament recipes. Then we moved out to the line where Keith, the newest member of the Proto-Pasta team, met us to measure a bit of this and that into our little plastic jugs. As we talked and joked around, we all milled around the extruder line, and, one by one, we poured our mix into the extruder hoppers. We Ooh’d and Aah’d at the color, texture and sparkle of our creations as our filaments went down the line and coiled onto the infamous cardboard spool. And we just kept making spool after spool! My choice? A magnificent translucent, sparkling purple.
Soon Keith ordered some pizza from a little mom and pop place down the road. We all took turns visiting a pizza box as the machine kept flowing. We ate on the fly as we all chatted with Keith and Alex on our second formula. This time, I choose a translucent, sparkling orange. As the day went on, we all solidified our new friendships, shared samples of our own creations and got to know more about the journey of Proto-Pasta. They’re trying to balance being a filament manufacturer as well as a force of creativity!
As we started winding down our day, many of us took the opportunity to place an order for a roll or two or twenty-seven – remember that empty suite case? I picked up some of my favorites, including High Five Blue and Rustable Iron to Iridescent Ice and Silver Smoke to fly home with me.
For me, this entire day was exactly what Proto-Pasta’s filament is all about. From Alex’s own self-roasted coffee, locally-made pizza and donuts, to making our own unique masterpieces of filament and talking to people truly passionate about the craft, the filament-making class was an amazingly unique experience of manufacturing precision, creativity and bright, bold, shimmering color. That, for me, is everything that is Proto-Pasta!
An accomplished "Renaissance Geek", Jeremy has a broad background as a technologist and currently serves as Lending Tree's lead Senior Site Reliability Engineer and as a board member of the Charlotte Internet of Things group where we is responsible for civic outreach which delivers life changing technology to the disabled build during Hackathons. Jeremy is an avid 3d printer, Internet of Things (IOT) and Alexa enthusiast having released multiple Alexa applications and contributed to many open source projects. Jeremy has even been featured on Amazon's TV Show 3D Print the Future and often presents on a diverse assortment of topics from Alexa and Arduino to Enterprise logging and alerting. Some call him a Rock Star but for Jeremy, it's just about never stopping with the thinking or the doing.
See what he is working on at his github profile.