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    • Please join me in welcoming Samantha Snabes, Co-founder and Catalyst at re:3D for a Cake Panel!

      About Samantha: Samantha Snabes is a Captain in the Mississippi Air National Guard. In her civilian capacity, Samantha is the CEO for re:3D where she facilitates connections between others printing at the human-scale and/or using recycled materials to access locally driven manufacturing in 53 countries. As a serial entrepreneur, she currently volunteers as the Global Chair of the IEEE Entrepreneurship Steering Committee. Previously, she served as the Social Entrepreneur in Residence for the NASA HQ and Deputy Strategist supporting the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Space Life Sciences Directorate after selling a start-up for a DARPA-funded, co-patented tissue culture device. Samantha holds a BS in Biology, BA degrees in International Relations & Hispanic Studies, a MBA with concentrations in Supply Chain Management & International Relations, and certifications as a firefighter & EMT-B.

      About re:3D: re:3D® Inc. is committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. After pioneering the world’s first affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D is now enabling 3D printing directly from reclaimed plastic pellets or flake.

      Welcome Samantha!

    • Sure! re:3D had its genesis in 2013 when Matthew and I were working at NASA Johnson Space Center, and we were both part of Engineers Without Borders NASA JSC, and met a lot of like-minded people who saw translations between working in space and unique environments worldwide. In that experience we had the chance to travel to Nicaragua, Uganda, Rwanda, and we saw a lot of frustrations around dependence on aid and imported goods, and we saw a lot of plastic waste. We also noticed that there was high unemployment. And what I think is most important is that the people we met were innovative and brilliant. We’d used 3D printers professionally and as the Maker movement was getting started, Matthew had one of the first open-source 3D printers on the market. It didn’t take us long for us to start talking about what it would be like for people to be able to make their own stuff independently with 3D printing. And what we learned was that the things our friends wanted to make were bigger than the desktop 3D printers on the market. And we also learned that for a lot of purchasing thresholds, it’s better to have the price point be under $10,000. Unfortunately, the industrial 3D printers on the market were much more expensive, and not modular, so it’s difficult to deploy them. We started to envision the idea where there’d be a “toilet size 3D printer” under $10K that would be open source so it could be easily maintained and hacked, with a broader vision of being able to 3D print from plastic waste. And we started to meet with friends, share the idea online, and received support from people we’d never met who said it was a great idea. Eventually we
      applied to Startup Chile, which offers $40,000 to start or scale your idea in Latin America. After being accepted we quit our jobs, moved to Chile, and started the company. 

    • re:3D is committed to making 3D printing accessible worldwide. We do that in two ways: by addressing cost as well as scale barriers to 3D printing. So anybody, anywhere, anytime has a tool to help solve their own problems independently.

    • Yeah! They’re really amazing humans who are based in Austin, Houston, and Puerto Rico. Our factory is in Houston, we have 7,000 square feet, where we design, fabricate and assemble and ship our Gigabots worldwide.

    • You've also been committed to supporting Puerto Rico since the 2017 devastation of Hurricane Maria. Can you share more about what's inspired that commitment and where do you hope to take it next?

    • Yes, we actually moved to Puerto Rico before the Hurricanes. In addition to Irma and Maria, Hurricane Harvey hit our factory first in Houston. So the Houston team experienced a hurricane firsthand, and then our Puerto Rican team and office were hit by Irma and Maria. Afterwards we were committed to trying to support our friends impacted by the devastation in TX and PR. We offered 3D printing for free for a period of time to support response and recovery for locals, and we learned a lot in that process. What’s interesting is we always had a vision to 3D print from plastic waste, and with no recycling for the all the waste water bottles in Puerto Rico, we’re committed to piloting 3D printing from plastic bottle waste with the Puerto Rican Science and Research Trust. And we’re also talking to a lot of manufacturing companies on the island, because we’re learning that even more than water bottles, a lot of waste comes from big brands manufacturing goods, so we’re looking for ways to use that waste from the factories either for internal needs or to create new jobs for others to use it. 

    • 2 things! We thought we’d have to create pellets as a path to using recyclables, but we’ve found we can take plastic waste and shred or grind it up and print with that directly. So that further increases accessibility. We learned that this style of 3D printing is a lot faster than filament, and a lot cheaper, because the material is more accessible and doesn’t have to be processed. And we’re finding out from early customers that this platform enables  “materials mixing” - you can take a material and add in other chemicals and materials real time, to
      make a new material. You could also add a colorant to change the color, or you could add a chemical to help degradation of polymers that have been sitting in a waste heap. You can do a lot more than with extruded filament!

    • I think the most interesting application that really stood out to me was when the Texas A&M professor used a print to treat cancer on a dog. It's just really mind blowing- you never think about a 3D print in that way. And so as you start to think about 3D prints as more than
      rapid prototypes or research but as healthcare or construction solutions, it’s really fascinating. 

    • I think now that the pellet printer is being refined, in the short term we’re delivering beta systems and getting feedback from the customers. We’re also learning we have to build some of the hardware that goes with it - like the shredder, dryer and feeding system. So we’re focused on that right now. And we’re focused on doing pilots with municipalities
      and industries to see what jobs can be created and materials can be up-cycled. And we only see ourselves going bigger. Printing out of shipping containers, going bigger, and learning about the customers that need our solutions.

      Hopefully we will be able to continue to characterize a LOT of types of plastic waste. There’s so much trash out there. We're also building out 3D printing education modules, and studying economic opportunity. We’re becoming more academic, publishing and sharing with the community, so we can learn together. Because we make mistakes along the way, and we want to share and learn with the community.

    • I would say think about who you are as a person, and your company’s focus, and as entrepreneurship is becoming more and more of a conversation, there’s groups for everybody to support who you are, where you want to go, and network, that want to advocate for your success. We’re a spinout of NASA, so it’s not surprising we’re super passionate about IEEE. Being a reservist, I get a lot of value from meeting other reservists, and there are several other socially driven organizations that are helping companies like us who are for-profit who are trying to do well, do good. And I think every company is unique, every founder is unique, but recognize there are people like you out there, and there are communities behind those organizations who want to help you be successful. And it’s also really inspiring to meet people at different stages whom you share something with. So I urge anyone to find their tribe, because you need it as an entrepreneur!

    • I would say there’s a lot of conversation about women in STEM, but what’s been helpful for our team is being coed. And a lot of companies we know that are successful are co-led as well. What seems to make a good company is having divergent perspectives. So if you’re a woman in STEM, there’s value in using that male representation on your team, just as you would value insights from those from different economic or cultural perspectives. Really celebrate that. And with all the resources out there for women in these fields, participate in events, get your story out there. There’s a lot of communities out there that want to see women be successful in STEM, so don’t be shy about participating in them to amplify your voice.

    • Sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, and we are hiring, particularly machinists, and if you live anywhere we’re based, Austin, Houston or San Juan, PR, we have meet ups, so we love getting to know our local community - please stop by our offices, say hi, and we’re working on building out our forum, so if you have a technical mindset, and you want to contribute to what we’re building, we’d love to see you there as well.