The people on the support team at FATHOM are not only experts with using professional 3D printing equipment by Stratasys, they are also personally passionate about additive manufacturing and industry-leading 3D printing technologies. Randall Oglesby is part of the support team and he comes to FATHOM with technical expertise from a variety of industries and related innovations such as 3D scanning. In this interview, you will get to know Randall and why he is a key member on the FATHOM team. To connect with Randall on LinkedIn, view his profile.
FATHOM is a company driven by advanced technologies with an expertise in 3D printing and additive manufacturing — tell us about your background and why you got into the 3D printing industry.
Randall: After I graduated from Cal Poly, I was looking for interesting ways to apply my degree in physics to modern technologies. When I came across 3D printing, I knew it was the market I needed to be in. I quickly found out that my degree applied to the technology in ways I didn’t expect. My experience with optics gave me a clear understanding of how 3D scanning works; and my work with lasers and astronomy gave me insight to how photopolymers are cured by UV in the PolyJet machines. I started in the 3D technologies as an intern at a small 3D scanning and printing business in the Silicon Valley. The more I learned about the technology, the more I wanted to be working with top of the line equipment. This desire eventually led me to FATHOM as a Customer Support Engineer.
FATHOM’s offering includes professional Stratasys 3D printing equipment sales and production center services from it’s Oakland and Seattle locations — what do you think is the biggest misconception of 3D printing?
Randall: As somebody who started out working with small hobbyist 3D printers, I had the misconception that all 3D printing was limited to the reliability and capabilities of these small machines. I think this misconception applies to most people who aren’t aware of what the advanced 3D printers that Stratasys produces can do. The reliability, quality, and repeatability of FDM- and PolyJet-based 3D printers by Stratasys from FATHOM is serious digital manufacturing. I especially used to think that all FDM printers had to be carefully monitored like the hobbyist machines do, but that is not the case when you are using professional additive manufacturing equipment.
FATHOM’s machine owners and manufacturing service customers come from a wide range of industries with varying application specifications and challenges — what are the most interesting examples using 3D printing that you’ve seen? Many of our projects are under NDA but are there a few you can talk about?
Randall: I came to FATHOM thinking that most of our customers would be printing simple prototype enclosures like cell phones or other small handheld devices. I’m constantly surprised by the creative ways engineers and designers are using their 3D printers — from electronics and consumer products to medical applications and manufacturing tools.
One of my favorite examples has to be 3D printing CAD models from one of our customers who is 3D scanning statues by Michelangelo like the Pietà and Bacchus. The 3D printed models are made in PolyJet materials and is being used as masters for molds at a bronze casting foundry. It is really interesting to see a project that combines metalworking, historical works of art, 3D scanning, and additive manufacturing. That application is a great example of how traditional methods can greatly benefit from advanced manufacturing technologies. Can you imagine from Michelangelo’s perspective what he might think of 3D CAD modeling and 3D printing compared to how he crafted those marble statues? Amazing stuff.
Not every FATHOM team member gets the opportunity to visit our customers’ facilities — what do you like most about traveling to some of the most innovative companies in the world using 3D printers from FATHOM in ways never imagined?
Randall: I love having the privilege to not only enter the buildings of top notch technology companies, but getting to enter the rooms where they design and test so many of the technologies we use in our everyday lives. I’m always surprised and excited to see that familiar devices were designed and prototyped using the machines that we are so passionate about. Sometimes I’m given a sneak peak of what the next generation devices will look like, but the worst part is that I can’t tell anybody about it!
Motley Fool interviewed Rich Stump on why FATHOM prefers Stratasys [ Read: 3D Printing Authority Reveals Why It Chose Stratasys Over Competitors ] earlier this year — what do you think makes Stratasys equipment standout the most from competing 3D printers?
Randall: I think Stratasys is driving the technology further by listening to what their creative customers need. In the past year, I’ve seen Stratasys push out new materials and capabilities that are not strictly confined to their new machines, but are actually backwards compatible with the machines that customers already have. It seems like modern technology is outdated as soon as you buy it, but Stratasys’ 3D printers are staying relevant and are pushing back against the current competition.