MatterFab wants to change the way metal 3D printing is done by making the process more scalable and affordable. It’s raised $5.75 million in funding to continue to refine its 3D printing technology and get its printers onto the production lines of industrial manufacturers.
The MatterFab 3D printer is aimed at manufacturers looking to create direct production parts out of metal that were either too difficult or costly to create using traditional tool machining methods. By doing so, it has the potential to lower the cost of parts while also increasing the flexibility of parts that can be created.
The Series A funding was led by GE Ventures, with participation from the Innovate Indiana Fund. The company had previously received funding from hardware incubator Lemnos Labs, where the company worked to refine the prototype version of its product.
GE is an interesting investor, considering the manufacturer’s decision to adopt 3D printing for some custom parts was part of the inspiration for MatterFab’s founding. As we wrote last year:
MatterFab CEO Matt Burris got his start after growing up around his father’s CNC machine shop in Indianapolis. That shop specifically built machine parts for the aerospace industry, but about three years ago, GE started to 3D print some of the parts that the shop used to make.
The investment could be used to help speed up availability of MatterFab machines. And for a company like GE, which is looking to do more in the way of 3D printing, that day can’t come soon enough.
“We’ve got lots of other parts under development,” said GE Ventures Sr. Director Steven Taub. He noted that GE is looking for ways to differentiate its products using additive manufacturing (a.k.a. 3D printing).
In addition to the robustness of the parts produced by MatterFab’s printers, GE was also attracted by the flexible nature of the company’s platform. The hardware of the 3D printer is designed to be open and work with third-party apps and developer tools that are already a part of manufacturing company’s internal workflows.
For MatterFab, the funding will be used to invest in engineering and get its 3D printer commercially available and bring it to market. On that front, the company is targeting the second half of next year for when MatterFab printers will actually start shipping to manufacturing customers.