3D Printing - Rapid Prototyping - Additive Manufacturing

How I help others with 3D Printing:


- Provide candid information about the technologies, industry and business models

- Reference my 30+ years in the industry as a technologist and entrepreneur

- Share my experiences in working with the industry leaders

- Correlate the visions of the 90's with the realities of today

- Identify strengths and weaknesses in business models that apply to the sectors of the industry.



If you would like to discuss how to GROW your business, email me at ron@ronhollis.com or go to the contact form.



About Me and 3D Printing:

I have been fortunate to have been involved in this amazing industry since 1992 while I was a young buck working for Boeing. I saw a SLA-250 working away one day and fell in love!  From that point on, I was committed to working with the technology and figuring a way to achieve my personal goals using it.


Today, I work with 3d printer manufacturers and service providers to leverage my experience in the industry and entrepreneurship to reduce mistakes and solve tough business problems. It's fascinating how many "new folks" are entering the industry and making basic mistakes and working on problems that were solved in the 90's.


I also consult investors on wall street on the current market maturation and future opportunities with 3D printing. The public markets have really adopted the 3D printing industry and pumped enough money into it to make it over $5B in market cap. I'm excited for the early pioneers, including 3D Systems, Stratasys and Objet to be able to reap the financial rewards for their contributions.



Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in many areas of 3D printing. The following are some of the ones that come to mind:


  • Developed one of the first build time estimators to provide estimates for how long it will take for a build to complete. Amazingly, in the early days, we didn't have this information and had to make wild guesses for scheduling builds.
  • Founded one of the 1st value-added resellers (VAR) for 3D printers. It was the Actua and Thermojet systems, which were the first multi-jet modeling (MJM) printers by 3D Systems and the 1st generation to current 3D printers for the Projet line.
  • Author of Better Be Running!: Tools to Drive Design Success which was written for the common user to better apply additive manufacturing technologies in their product development systems.
  • Patented inventor for Instant Quoting for Custom Parts, which was critical to allow e-commerce to occur for custom parts with 3D Printing. Back in 1999, it was not easy to buy 3d printed parts from service providers, so we (Michael Maurice and myself) decided to develop the ability to analyze CAD data in real-time and generate quotes for the Internet.  U.S. patent No. 7,305,367, Instantaneous price quotation system for custom manufactured parts, details a system and method for generating instant binding price quotations for custom manufactured parts using the Internet.
  • Founder of Quickparts.com, which transformed the industry by applying our patented technology to the market. This allowed the world of designers to easily quote AND buy their custom parts anytime from anywhere. By having an Internet interface, we expanded the market for 3D printer users by making it easy for everyone to experience the power of additive manufacturing.



If you would like a free e-copy of Better Be Running! Tools to Drive Design Success, please feel free to download it here.



Better Be Running! Tools to Drive Design Success
Better Be Running by Ron Hollis.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 12.8 MB

The following is an article that summarized Better Be Running in Inventors Digest.

Inventors Digest Review of Better Be Running! Tools to Drive Design Success
Adobe Acrobat Document 574.3 KB

Ron's Blog for 3D Printing





Weak documentary on 3D Printing- Netflix  "Print the Legend"

Netflix recently released a documentary on 3D printing called Print the Legend.  The following was my review on Netflix. I'm a big Netflix fan but this really damages their brand equity.


Review for Netflix:

This movie was an absolute injustice on the power and beauty of 3D Printing. It was a piss poor soap opera that served to illuminate a few neophytes instead of talking about the true pioneers of this industry. Other than Reichental, there was no education on the pioneers that actually used the past 30 years to develop one of the critical technologies of the advancement of product development. Where is the story about Hull and Crump and the countless others that actually spent their careers building an industry instead of 99 minutes of babbling about a few folks that were late to the party and spent their time “stealing” the technology that others had already developed? It was about the re-packaging of other companies intellectual property under the pretenses of “open-source”, which is a great idea when you have nothing to share and then becomes an easy change in philosophy when you think you have something special.  There was nothing shared in this movie about the innovation, the technology, the process or the real applications.


Summary: This was a crappy infomercial to promote a few folks that are not innovators or visionaries. The only credibility was the inclusion of  Avi Reichental, who has made bold decisions (not necessarily harmonious decisions) and deserving of much credit for the advancement of the industry in the past few years.



As for the reviews, they must be from the mommies of the guys in the movie. You definitely didn't learn anything of substance about 3D printing in this movie.






3D Systems CEO on 3D Printing

Well produced video interview of Avi Reinchental, CEO of 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), on the frontier of 3D Printing with Peter Marsh from the Financial Times.








3D Printing and Open Source- an opinion

There was an article on 3D Printing Industry this week about some guy wanting push more about open source.....I'm amazed at the utopianism folk espouse about open sharing innovation.


The article is here.


and my rebuttal...


Just my 2 cents… the adoption of open source seems to receive the most support from those that don’t really have much innovation to share. Once these open source supporters actually develop something of true value, then they quickly change their position to being less than open source. Makrbots Replicator 2 is a decent and pertinent example of this behavior. Real companies are less inclined to giving their innovation away since they have made the real investment to create their innovation. Other than being a services play, such as Redhat, there are few real businesses able to be created in a pure open source world.


And another penny….the point about the influence of the media on the 3d printing industry is excellent. They are pushing the positive side now, since that this popular. However, after many of the unrealistic claims by folks that don’t know what they are talking about fail, the the media will shift to the negative side and start to tell us they told us so.







3D Printing and China- Ron's Input

I read a blog recently on China and 3D printing. It was a well written report of the plans of China for 3D printing. While the report was quite general and vague, it was informational.  I took exception to the latter points about the threats of China with 3D printing and how the Western world needed to wake up in their preparedness of 3D printing and prduction.


The blog was posted here.


My comment is:

Respectfully, your position is quite general, leaving the predictability of the future wide open to interpretation. It would be informative to be exposed to the latest, real, innovations that have originated in China, or elsewhere. The vast majority of AM "innovation" has originated and evolved out the US and Germany.

The largest known production factories leveraging AM are in the US. So, throwing out an edict "mature your RP technology.." is out of sync with current reality. For clarity, the operative word here is innovation, not duplication, copy, or replication. Also, it does not mean that change is not imminent and that China will not strive for their plan. However, the first step would be to catch up, which I'm sure they are aware.