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3D Tooling Printing Technologies With Darrell Stanford and Jack Stanford (MFGMonkey Episode 14)

MFG Monkey | 3D Tooling Printing Technologies

Today we are sitting down with Darrell Stanford and Jack Stanford from Catalysis, a 3-D print tooling company. We discuss all of their capabilities, from vacuum forming, plastic injection, to composite forming. Go check them out on their website

The Catalysis Additive Tooling advantage is that we offer the complete solution for our customers’ tooling and part needs. We can support development and engineering needs in addition to 3D direct printed parts, designing a 3D printed tool, printing the tool, and manufacturing the mass production level parts/parts quality confirmation.

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3D Tooling Printing Technologies With Darrell Stanford and Jack Stanford (MFGMonkey Episode 14)

I say this, I think every podcast but it is exciting to bring yet another company Catalyst. We met a couple of years ago through a mutual friend of ours and your attorney engineer, Tyler Donald, who will be on the show here in a couple of weeks. Jack and I just met you today. Welcome to the show. I really appreciate you guys coming on and just learning about your technology and it’s so unique in the marketplace. 

It has a lot of interest to me because we work with vacuum forming and plastic injection molding. There’s just so many different things even in the casting world that you guys are taking from the casting world with coring and implementing into your tooling. Darrell, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and just a little bit about the company and we’ll get going.

Darrell Stafford, president and CEO of Catalysis. I’m 31 years retired from Honda mechanical engineer. I was lucky really it’s a really good company. They move you all around different locations. I have a lot of manufacturing experience but I was lucky the last seven years to be in charge of research and development for added manufacturing at Honda across all the business teams from styling to tooling to product development and use parts packaging. My first two years was trying to bring all that together under one group, which is difficult in a decentralized company like Honda.

Once we did, we had all the resources and manpower to do with some really interesting things. When I retired about 15 years in my career was at Honda Engineering which was tooling. That’s kind of why I focused on the company, Rick Shipko, who’s not here with us today. He has 29 years of Honda purchasing business background. We have a really good synergy to two of us. I think as far as how to develop a company from a technical side in the business side. 

We did this. We’ve been about four years now. Our business model is we use 3D printing to make tooling to make Parts. We didn’t invent 3D printing. We didn’t invent plastic injection, or vacuum forming, but we’re using 3D printing a lot of different technologies to make tooling, vacuum forming tooling, plastic injection molding tooling, and composite part layup tooling to make parts for we always say part-time low to medium volume. Load and meaning volume could mean a lot of different numbers.

That means something totally different to one person than the next.

I’ll let Jack introduce himself and talk a little bit more.

Jack Stafford. I wish I had some long extravagant work history like Darrell don’t yet. I’m starting my career out here at Catalysis. The cool thing about what we do is I’m learning a lot about tooling, vacuum forming, the whole manufacturing process. I’m really getting out well-rounded education, I guess through all this. I haven’t been in the industry as long as others, but it really does amaze me I guess how we do what we do and the time that we do it, the prices we can provide them at. Just learning more and more every day and how we can revolutionize the drilling industry.

It is fun just to see you light up when you talk about the product and about the process, just walking through your guy’s shop. How long have you been here? 

We moved here about five months ago.

Right at the start of the year. Yeah. That’s too long. 

We were about 6,000 square feet now. We have a larger manufacturing area and design offices here. We start out small like everybody. We’ve grown to this size and we honestly can scale quite a bit in just our 6, 000 square feet because of our business model. We’re sort of reluctant to purchase much 3D printing technology because when you d,o it’s obsolete because technology changes so fast. If we do buy a certain technology, then we’re locked into using that for our tooling. 

The rapid pace of innovation in 3D printing makes us hesitant to invest heavily, as any technology we purchase could quickly become obsolete. This locks us into specific tooling approaches, which we want to avoid in order to stay at the forefront. Share on X

We never want to be locked into that. We always want to be in the front end. We have strategic partners, which we’ve been working together for years. If it’s a binder jet or it’s plastic printing or metal printing we, have partners that we’ve worked with that were very high on their priority list. We’re strategic partners not just a partner for somebody who orders parts of them. That’s one of the things that we developed through the Years. Again, we’re not really intensive and capital equipment because technology changes so quickly.

When you talk about low to medium volume, what does that mean to you? What is low to medium volume in your world? 

Thermoforming is a good one. Prototype low volume could be 50 to 100 parts. We’re up to over 3, 000 parts off of our tooling and that’s a production, that’s a project from a customer but we’ve designed our proprietary coding packaged to last theoretically forever but everything breaks. It’s a high enough TG. It’s over the 350F thermoforming temperatures and it’s strong enough that we can drive a truck over it. We don’t on paper see any failures, but the highest volume project is 3, 000 parts, but we’re very confident to go higher but we’re looking for different projects to go higher.

That’s in a vacuum-forming world or is that with your plastic injection molding tooling as well?

No. That injection molding, we have different technologies, some plastic 3D printing where we can get a couple hundred parts off of those which are very quickly we can polypropylene those types of things not like a nylon that’s maybe 600 degrees F injection temp. For 50F, we can a couple of 100 parts, but when we do get a high temp or high volume, we’ll use metal 3D printing. In that case, it’s the same life as a standard A2 tool steel. We can Harden that up to mid-50s HRC.

Are you also 3D printing a metal tool for permanent or as permanent tooling as you can make? Is that replacing a machine tool then?

One of the things we want to talk about was the PPE we made 50 thousand of the face Shields. It was a 3D-printed tool. It’s on our website. You can see 3D printed DMLS out of maraging steel. It’s about 30 Rockwell sea as printed. That tool was, I tell you $18,000 standard manufacturing six weeks. We were substantially less and we got it done in two weeks and the cost was substantially less. It’s got conformal cooling and things in it. That’s the power of 3D printing the metal, but you can only print a certain size. You can’t print it through a three-foot-by-three-foot 3D-printed metal tool. It’s not cost-effective. 

What is the envelope? 

Our partner is about 10 inches high. For that, it was the perfect size. That’s kind of our size for that and there’s a lot of we’re doing some other projects with other companies for high volume tooling. 

Is that tool still up and running for the face shields? 


It is supporting local businesses here in Columbus, Ohio.

That project was made for a customer. They want 50, 000. Honestly, it’s not what we do. We packaged everything individually 50,000 of them as a company, but we did it to support our customer so that tool was made for that customer, but the tool you can see there’s no degradation to it. They only want a 50, 000. 

It is interesting with all of the PPE stuff that everyone just kind of jumped on and figured out super fast with everything that we’re dealing with. This is literally the first podcast I’ve done in person since March 17th with Phoenicia in Wisconsin, and we did a show in my hotel room. That was the last in-person podcast so it was right before everything was locking down. This is the next one that I’ve done. It is just good to be able to sit at a table and talk instead of on a Zoom call or whatnot and be able to touch and feel parts of this Corona stuff is has changed everything for us. I think. You mentioned your website and why don’t you tell everyone what your website is and we’ll list it, as we always do, in the description. When we do our posts and stuff, it’ll be clickable.

It’s Catalysis because that’s not an easy thing to spell. and you can get on there. We do a lot of social media, LinkedIn. There’s a lot of videos on there. We use a lot of what they call binder jet 3D printing with other technologies, but most people don’t know binder jets. It’s kind of it’s made for casting. Making a coping a drag one of 3D print so it’s kind of common and that we use it to make tooling and that’s not common. We spent three years developing and what we have done with it.

Then you take that 3D printed, what I would consider as a core, a lot of coring and aluminum and steel casting is made out of the same material but then your secret sauce is actually coating that to make it rigid because you could literally can break those chords into with your hand. You can just crumble them. Then your secret sauce that you developed is the coating to make that durable and long-lasting.

As well as a design with that. We’ve kind of gone over it. It’s a series of things of why we design it the way we do it for strength as far as tools to make sure that the tools it’s all tied together is the big thing and also harvesting the tool is another big reason why we do what we do on the on the design side.

Tell us more about that for people who don’t know what harvesting a tool is.

The binder jet world, it’s like think of it as like a big pool of sand and as the print is going up, it’s an arm goes back and forth and it’s going to put a binder glue down where that sand once to stick. When you get it all the way up, it’s you really have to actually vacuum out the sand and they have to locate the actual print, and then from that they have to take the print out, but it’s filled with sand all over the place. It’s very heavy. When you harvest it, you can’t just take it right out. It would fall apart. That is why we designed that way we do to add strength for when we were to pull that out of there. 

Are you adding your coding once it’s still in the 3D printer so you can actually take the tool out or harvest it as you’re saying?

No, that’s why we design it. The design is the strength to harvest it. We have coatings when we get it back here in our office.

Darrell, you were explaining this to me where you guys are very much like McMillanCo, where you work a lot of strategic partners where you’re very different as you do a lot of work in-house where McMillanCo we’ll get some things in our facility, but we don’t do any manufacturing. You guys here we’re walking over into the toll room and you guys are sanding down tooling and you’re prepping it and you’re doing the build. What is the main function that you guys are doing here in this location? 

We call ourselves a One-Stop shop. This means a customer comes to us and they, a lot of times, one of 50%, they just want 50 parts or 100 parts or 2, 000 parts. We designed the tool from their part. It’s the tool, we design it, manufacture the tool, post-process it, and then we’ll thermalform or injection mold parts for the customer. We call ourselves the One-Stop shop, but we have very strategic partners that we’ve been working with for years printing or manufacturing the parts together. It’s seamless to the customer. That’s one of the interesting things. 

We call ourselves the one-stop shop, but we have very strategic partners that we've been working with for years to print or manufacture the parts together. It's seamless to the customer. Share on X

Rick, we started this he came from Honda purchasing and he understood what we were doing, but we were talking to a very large 3D printing company and they 3D print tools and he asked them, “Who designs this tool?” He says, they told him, “You do,” and then he said, “Then you’ll print this tool,” and they go, “Yep.” He says, “Who makes the parts because of what you do?” Right there is where click for Rick being a big company. They only want to write one PO for their 100 parts, 200 parts, 3, 000 parts. That’s when it clicked to him and that’s what we’re all about the One Stop Shop seamless to customers.

I think that’s why you and I have that camaraderie because we’re very similar, we’re very fortunate to be doing a project with Rudder Robin right now and they’re the same way. We’re having a post-fabricated forum and then there’s 3 or 4 other parts that go in but they want to do the same thing. 

They want to cut one purchase order and we managed everything and brought it in and then we got it and shipped it to each restaurant as they needed it and we helped them through the design. It is interesting how our companies are so similar but yet so different in the same aspect. I just think it’s with what we’re seeing, I certainly see where this can save companies millions of dollars in tooling. I don’t know if you can say this while we’re recording but how much is Honda’s tooling budget for a new project?

It’s a lot. We know exactly but let’s just say it’s a lot for the new quarter new Civic and probably 20% of that cost is to make prototype tools and to make prototype cars or it can be a car or refrigerator. It can be anything. IPhone, you have to make functional prototypes to test. The cars are going to crash-test them and V8 heat-test cold. Even refrigerators we’ve made parts for the big refrigerator companies. They have robots that open and close the doors millions of times that simulate that. You have to make functional parts. That’s where that cost. You take that tooling and throw it away. Then you make mass production tooling a thousand a day. We don’t make tooling for a thousand a day. We make it for prototype medium volume.

Before you develop your technology, is that what companies were doing is making production-style tooling and using that and if it failed then they would throw that tooling away and start over?

Typically, a type of automotive like for stamping parts. Like I said, we spend Honda hood everybody spends a lot of money in Prototype tooling stamping, curtside tooling typically, it’s a lower cost and like 80 tool steel. That’s lower cost and fast, but it’s still very expensive and takes weeks and months to make. They do lower-cost tooling to make those low-volume stuff, but then they’ll go to make a production tooling which is very expensive.

With your technology, it allowed people to make parts to print just they cut a lot of the budget out of the tooling.

It’s the exact material. Thermoform part injection molding has to be the exact materials used in production. There’s two things that we do either lower cost because we’re low cost and we’re very fast turnaround. You can do some things on the design side. Maybe you can have 2 or 3 design iterations. Design it, make the part, and do some testing. I want to optimize strength or wait and then you can do another design and make some more prototype parts so you can do 2 or 3 design optimizations or you can reduce costs.

The main technology or the main capability that you guys are focused on is vacuum forming and then plastic injection molding. You had some things pulled up on your screen a little bit ago that you’re developing. Tell us about the other processes that you’re developing.

We’re new some interesting thing is that we got another coating package for composite part manufacturing. Right now, we’re testing out of autoclave. That’s about 250F, not yet full autoclave pressure 350 degrees F out of autoclave. Air Force is actually a testing tool for us because they’re very excited and I don’t want to get technical. It’s isotropic in build nature versus other 3D printing is not isotropic in the Z. Good strength X, Y, and Z is a different strength. 

A different thermal expansion is isotropic in all directions. It’s a big deal for composite part manufacturing. They’re very excited about that but that’s in development. We do some metal forming. A single tool using a high-performing bladder, not tube hydroforming. It’s only a single-sided. It’s about 11, 000 PSI and you can form over our tools. We’ve done it but that’s in development. The issue honestly is there’s not a lot of people with these bladder hydroformers. 

They’re out there. A lot of them are aerospace. We don’t have a strong partner to go beyond proof of concept with them, but it’s very interesting. We know exactly how much tooling costs for stamping and that’s very expensive. That’s a huge opportunity that’s down the road. Our main thing is probably 80% is a vacuum-forming thermoforming 20% plastic injection. 

Let’s talk about that real quick as far as the partner that you’re looking for and maybe somebody that’s listening to this. We’re very fortunate that we have listeners all over the world now mainly here in the States obviously, but we have listeners in Japan, China, and India. It’s growing all over the world. If you’re looking for a partner, tell us a little bit more about what you’re looking for, and if you’re listening and you think that you might be able to help these guys out, shoot us an email at and we can get you in touch or go to their website that’s down in the description and reach out to Darrell or Jack directly.

Maybe the way we’re trying to scale our company is we’re now reaching out to a lot of big thermoformers who just want tooling because we’ll supply parts or just the tooling and thermoformers just want tooling. We’re reaching out to them, but what we’re doing is kind of unique is we have demo tools which we have actually six of them now. 

Well that a thermoformer or somebody who wants our tooling, make sure they’re interested in us, understand what we’re talking about. We’ll give them a tool and let them form part off of that tool whatever material however many they want so they can kind of vet our technology and so they can validate what we say It’s true. I can tell you 100% of people once they’ve done that, have started placing POs with that. That’s what’s a little different about our business and how we’re trying to scale. It’s disruptive.

Once you get your sample tooling into their hands just for them to play with, 100% of the time you’re getting a purchase order out of those companies.

I wish we could say we did that for four years. For the last six months, we’ve been doing that. Everybody fails. We always make a joke, we’ve never failed. We broke a lot of tools. Over four years, we’ve broken a lot of tools. They say in 3D printing often fails fast because we’ll have a failure. We’ll analyze it, get the root cause, and redesign it. We’ll print a tool the next day and we’ll do some more testing on it. That’s how we’ve learned. We’ve had a lot of failures but the whole point is you learn from that. 

We've had a lot of failures but the whole point is you learn from that. Share on X

One of the big reasons that I didn’t start the podcast earlier is because I was afraid of failing, and I always talk to people about how you shouldn’t be afraid to fail and then my own head trash got in my way. We launched it in January and it’s been fun. We’ve had a lot of great people come on like you guys and I’m sure there’s critics out there that I don’t listen to but you have to be willing to fail and you have to be willing to to step off that ledge and have that just conviction and in yourself and what you what you’re able to do. Once you get over that head trash, it’s amazing how life changes.

Explain the one customer that was only metal tools. 

I guess in my times of reaching out to potential customers, you’ll get a whole bunch of them and they hear 3D printing and they automatically think FDM, which is great technology just for what we’re doing. We don’t do much with FDM printing. In this case, I’d reach out to a customer and I actually went to them with a potential project in which this customer needed some thermoformed parts and I explained, “This is the tooling that we would be supplying you to make these parts. It’s a little different than you’ve probably formed before and I kind of went into it.” 

He kind of shut me off halfway through he’s like, “Sorry. We’re not interested in forming anything or doing anything unless it’s an aluminum cool tool.” I kind of said, “Let me send you just a little bit of information. Maybe you might see something that might catch your eye.” I did that and this customer is probably been sending me stuff to quote at least once or twice a month which isn’t too much but definitely it works out really well. It’s a huge educational process but I think once people actually sit down kind of actually want to learn what it is and it works out really well.

That’s the thing was sales as you have to be willing to be told no, and more importantly you have to be willing to be told no like eight more times before they tell you to F off, and then you ask a couple more times.

Then when they tell you no, you got to kind of be, “I understand. This might be a little something different kind of get there the edge of that there might be something different here than what you’re thinking about. Check it out and maybe you will be interested.” In that case, they were very interested.

Especially when you bring a new technology to the table. There’s a lot of skeptics out there, right? I mean, there are and that’s natural because people are so used to doing it this way. This is the way my grandfather did it or not changing because we’re afraid and at the end of the day, what they’re afraid of is making a financial mistake that harms them, and their sustainability. Once you get past that, you can make it risk-free for them where you’re sending out these test tools of no obligation. 

Here’s a test tool, make a part of it and if you like it then, let’s keep talking. That’s an amazing idea that you guys had because then it takes they’re like, “What the hell do we have to lose? We’ll do this on a Friday and I’m sure that there’s guys standing around drinking a couple of beers like let’s try to break this damn thing.” Then it doesn’t break them like holy crap. This is how this actually works. Then you have a partner for life. 

Then we can continue talking according to projects but Jack was saying about education that’s kind of hit the head of the nail is that’s the whole thing. We’re trying to educate people. It’s a very disruptive what we’re doing. Once we start on that education and then they’re like, “Let’s have a meeting with 4 or 5 people in the room, virtual, conference call and they have their tooling Engineers and we’re answering those questions, and somebody in leadership they’re like, “Let’s send you a tool.” It takes time. 

Maybe everything takes time sales, anything but when you’re trying to sell something disruptive, it takes even longer because you got to educate people. Everybody knows about 3D printing but they don’t know about binder jets. Then once they understand that and how we use it, it’s a little longer because everybody thinks 3D printing is cool and it really is. 6 or 8 years ago is going to change everything in manufacturing in Water Street went ballistic and all the stocks went here and then it crashed because it’s not going to replace manufacturing but it’s a good supplement. In 25 years, it’s going to be a whole different world. With 3D printing, there’s a lot of applications. 

Jack, what have you found is the biggest objection when you’re out talking to customers as far as that educational piece? What do you find yourself like this is the exact same thing that I explained to company A where you have the same objection.

I think a lot of it. There’s a couple of really big things that the new companies are skeptical about. One of them is I guess how big can you print the tool? We’ve pieced many tools together. Actually, we just did a tool that was 102 by 50 inches wide and it was 16 inches tall. I guess getting them around that we can 3D printing I can print something bigger than this. We can get some really big parts out of these. Another thing I think the biggest one is probably how we manage heat through thermoforming. That’s probably one of our biggest-asked questions.

It’s kind of a long explanation but the big thing is number one is our tools are porous. Instead of being a cast aluminum toy, the aluminum is going to retain heat it drags heat in because it’s metal. Sand isn’t it’s non-conductive. If you were at the beach and you were to go walk on the sand, the sand is really hot on top, but if you put your feet under a little layer of sand, it’s actually cold. 

That’s not me saying that our tools are cold, but when they’re forming, the porosity tool really helps release the heat in the tools. We don’t have any need for I guess aluminum cool-like channels throughout the tooling. We also appeared that way if the customer runs like two seconds of air blow, it releases a lot of hot air so it helps out that way. The only time we’ve ever had heating issues is with forming like a thick like 300 gauge, 350 gauge HTPE on a rotary machine that gets hit every single cycle. 

From that, we’ve really just learned. I guess we’ve been working on developing ways to reduce that but what our customers do is they’ll kind of skip every second or third cycle and kind of allow a little bit more cooling time on the tool. That’s probably one of the biggest ask questions from customer to customer. We don’t have any cooling lines so what do you do to cool the tool? It’s really the same as like, I guess a wood tool but with the wood you can get elimination and stuff like that.

I guess let’s go down that path a little bit and talk about the advantages of what you guys are doing toward versus other traditional short to medium-run tooling. You bring up wood tooling. What are some of the other tools that you get into? 

Wood is probably one of the biggest things that we get compared to because a lot of times if they’re going to make a metal tool, they’re looking to make thousands and thousands of parts going to be a lifetime of the tool. If they’re looking for a prototype, they’re really comparing us to wood rent tooling. Where wood and rent tooling really make sense is when you’re running low volumes. When I say low volumes, maybe 25 to 50 and under depending on the material. It’s a noncomplex part. If it’s really simple, I guess it don’t kind of shape. It doesn’t have any deep draws or tight values or anything like that. Wood is a really good option. 

You’re not going to, I guess not that you wouldn’t be deprived but for what these guys are doing and a lot of them have it in-house, it makes a lot of sense for them to do that. It’s when you get into some big deep draws and any sort of like a logo or any sort of like complexity in the tool, that’s really where it makes sense for a company to start looking at us and kind of outweigh the pros and cons. With wood, you’re going to start seeing elimination and you’re going to have to patch that up a lot. 

The number of parts that you’re able to get off of your tooling is hundreds or thousands of parts, right? Then with wood, you are?

It all comes down. It’s case-by-case. If you’re using just for instance something that we talked about yesterday a customer came to us, it’s a pallet it’s actually very complex and they themselves told us they’re like, “We might get 3 to 5 parts off of this wood.” That’s thick gauge HTPE, yeah. It sits on there and as it’s sitting on the tool, it heats up. It does a whole bunch of not damaged but it’s rough on the tool. You gonna kind of outweigh how many parts are looking for and stuff like that.

Just lead time for tooling, how long does a wood tool take to make versus what you guys are making?

It varies again. Typically, our average is two weeks. We’re really turning tools around in a week, seven working days because we’re very fast in the design process. It’s 2 to 3 weeks on wood. Like what Jack was saying for the palettes they can get their 3 to 5 prototypes. That’s fine. From that, then they’ll have to make a metal tool. Cast off of that and now make that casting. It can take 6 to 8 weeks. We make our production tool in less than two weeks. The benefit is very quickly. We can make a production tool and it may take them 6 to 8 weeks total to make a wood tool and then the cast off of that. That’s where we have an advantage in speed there.

Have you guys made tooling for the casting industry like for aluminum sand casting or iron?

The technology that we use is the binder jet, which is 3 or 4 companies that make it. It’s very common. That’s what these companies do. The casting foundries will design the 3D and they’ll get printed and they’ll cast your part off of that. We don’t do anything with casting.

We work with Buddy Bar Casting out in LA and one of their biggest claim to fame is they will take a drawing on a napkin and they will cast part within X number of days and always screwed up. Let’s just say seven and then Kyle correct me later, but when they’re able to do that specifically when a large car manufacturer has an issue with the block or a water pump or something and they can make a part in that short of a time span because they’re 3D printing their own tooling in-house. I don’t know what kind of technology they’re using. 

They maybe using who we use to make our tooling. Like I said, it’s 3 or 4 companies that may be using one of their printers. I would bet you they are turn around that quick. There are people like that and that industry that are very aggressive and going after using that technology because it’s relatively new 12 years, 15 years that go from CAD drawing and make a 3D printed open drag. It’s fairly new. 

It is really interesting and they are all about customer service as all of our other partners are. That’s one of the consistent things with our partners is everyone is so customers focus even like you guys just really understand what the need is and then how to deliver on that need. I was asking everyone this question, but what’s your favorite project that you worked on? What was probably the most rewarding project that you guys have worked on? They probably gave you the most headaches too.

There’s two, the machine covers. 

A company that makes a metal 3D printer that’s coming out with their new metal 3D printer. We made all of their machine covers for the outside. How big would you say that was that Tyler machine?

Eighteen of them the machines. It was each. There were 18 tools and they were 77 by 56 each toll. Eighteen tools.

The machine itself. I don’t know the actual dimensions, but I mean if you were to stack two Honda Civics on top of each other, that’s probably how big it was. It was a big tool. We actually designed, got the tools printed, manufactured the tools, and assembled and got the parts for him. All in about three and a half weeks. Then after that following that, we assembled it and probably 2 or 3 days which wasn’t exactly on the agenda for that but we got stuck doing that which was no big deal. The rapid 3D printing show is where it’s probably one of the biggest Expos for all 3D printing and big-name companies kind of go out.

Is that every year that they hold that show?

It was until this until this year.

This year even IMTS. I was so disappointed that IMTS got shut down this year, but where is the rapid? 

I don’t know. 

Do they change the locations every year?

That Rapid and the other one that’s called A Mug. Those are the 2 or 3 printing expose conferences. They move around.

Have you guys heard of the Made USA show that’s in Detroit?

I don’t think so. 

We signed up for it. It just popped into my brain for whatever reason but I wonder if that show still going on. They had not announced that they had closed that show yet. It’s I think in October or November timeframe. I think there’s still holding on hopefully things are cleared up enough that they can still hold their shows. The show is always interesting. I always learn a tremendous amount. 

I do. I get overloaded. I go there and we know a little bit about 3D printing, we know how to use it to make tooling but I’m flabbergasted when I go there. I feel dumb because there’s so many technology and I was like, “What’s that they’re doing? They’re printing ceramic or they’re printing brass or bronzer or whatever.” There’s a lot of technologies out there. Doesn’t fit what we do but you need to know.

There are many emerging technologies out there, and staying informed is crucial, even if they don't directly apply to our work. Share on X

It’s just so cool to see it’s like going to IMTS. One of the other podcasts I listened to making chips and you guys are probably heard of that one. Those guys talk about the IMTS hangover and I had a chuckle listening to it. It’s like, “I totally agree.” I’ve been to it a couple of times now and you do, you just feel like you are you’re overloaded. Jazz usually goes to Chicago with me and she’ll go do her thing and shop and I’ll go walk the show and spend a few hours there and I’ll come back and she’s like, “Let’s go,” and I’m like, I got to lay down for about an hour and just because I’m just so drained. 

You’re wanting to look at everything and we were super excited to go this year. We got a media pass. We got proof for that and my plan was to do podcasts at the hotel with different people just random people that we met. I think it would have been a lot of fun. Everyone’s shopping at the bit to get to get back. It seems like the markets coming back and people are just tired of sitting around waiting.

There was an AIX show in Germany actually. Its airline’s interior is exposed. We’ve been doing some really unique things with one of the material manufacturers partnering with them and they were making a new feat for that show and we made some tools for them very quickly. All excited and everything and then they canceled the show.

It was probably a couple of days after we had sent the tools to them that we had made. 

Were you guys going to Germany? 

We were been in good PR and then represented us in their booth and their big suppliers but didn’t work out. 

Is that an annual show? Will they do that again next year?

They have one in North America. There’s a big one in Germany is international one. You have to spend a little money and time to get your name out there and you got a partner with the right people. They’re going to help you get in front of people. That’s kind of where we spend a lot of time. 

We have done a thermoforming show, vacuum forming show, and SPE for the last two years, but not this year, didn’t have it. It’s been huge for us. That’s been one if anybody’s done shows, you meet hundreds of people maybe you get 3 leads or 4 leads or 10 leads. Honestly, we probably got a good ten projects from that because people kind of see what we do. They can touch and feel the tooling and then we can continue that and that’s been a very good show for us, but they canceled that this year. 

What was the name of that show? 

SPE, Society of Plastic Engineers. I think it’s a thermoforming show.

Where’s that typically held?

One year was Texas. Last year was Wisconsin, I think. Now, they’ve changed it every two years. Now, they didn’t cancel this year. It’s going to be next year. It’s every two years but for us, it’s a really good show. 

That has just inspired you. I mean you guys are always constantly improving. A lot of companies that you go to you can kind of see they’re just stagnant in the technology and everything’s working really well and then one day they wake up and they’re not relevant anymore and you guys are the exact opposite. Constantly every day, you’re developing something new. 

Well, I tell you one of the most interesting things nothing to do with technology, but we took two of our manufacturing guys there and we’re talking to people and they’re talking to us and they’re like bringing people overcome to look at. They saw the enthusiasm of people and they saw the interest. You can’t replicate that. You saw what we’re doing out here if you don’t interface with the customer. They’re sitting out there and seeing that enthusiasm it really is a really good thing. I want to send the whole company there. Honestly, we won’t be able to but it is the best thing in the world to they can see what the customer’s feedback is. 

That positive energy just really builds excitement and pride and what everyone’s doing and when you see other people excited about what you’re doing, it can only excite you. It’s the same thing when somebody’s negative. Call them a cancer. They’re going to bring everyone else down around you is like cut the cancer out, get rid of it, and move on with your life. You find positive people that think the way that you do you hold on to and you don’t let them go and that’s what you put yourself around

Technically, you can teach anybody anything but enthusiasm or that this that attitude.

It’s infections. It’s both ways. Positive attitudes are infectious, and negative attitudes are infectious. You only want one around. Cool guys. Well, is there anything else that we have not talked about? I know that you had some notes pulled up for. Let’s rip through that a little bit and make sure we didn’t miss anything super important that you want to talk about and maybe spur some chatter and get some questions going from the listeners. 

3D Tooling Printing Technologies With Darrell Stanford and Jack Stanford (MFGMonkey Episode 14) Share on X

Some stuff we can’t talk about but yeah, like I said, we do some really interesting things with the 3D printing of metals is really getting exciting inside that envelope what we can do for companies. That’s very interesting and like I say, we’re trying to scale our companies. Is anybody interested to just tooling or do you want to talk about that potential partnering with us for a thermoforming company? We’re very interested to talk.

Awesome. I’m very appreciative that you guys allowed me to come into your facility and do the podcast. It was a good one to get back out into the world. As we just moved into our new facility last Tuesday so weak today, we’re going to set up a full studio so we kind of get rid of the doors dinging and things like that which make it make it live.

Those are customers coming.

It is fun just the energy being across the table from each other so much better than being on a Zoom call and the one that we did with CuGrip a week or two ago. We were talking about all the embarrassing crap that people have done on Zoom. Thank you so much for having me in. Again guys, go and check them out on their website. We’ll have it in the description below. 

Email us at and we can you guys in touch with them or go through the website and ask questions and comments. I think that all of us would be interested in learning what your feedback is or what your experience has been with additive tooling and it’s just it’s such a cool technology that’s taking over everything from additive tooling for surgeries for shoulders and knees to tooling for headgear and in different parts for refrigerators and reusable dunnage and there’s all kinds of applications. I really appreciate you guys coming on and thank you so much. 

Thanks for having us.


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