Voodoo Manufacturing raises $1.4 million to make a factory full of 3D printers

Max Friefeld, Jonathan Schwartz, and Oliver Ortlieb aren’t just co-founders – they’re roommates. These three former Makerbot employees are working on creating Voodoo Manufacturing, an effort to “combine software and hardware to build a new-age robotic factory.”

Say, for example, you wanted to build hundreds of small velociraptors. You could make a mold and create a few hundred chunks of plastic or you could talk to Voodoo and they could 3D print them at a fraction of the cost. That’s what Universal did and they came away happy, tripping over armfuls of velociraptors. That’s how Voodoo Manufacturing works: you can essentially mass produce 3D printed parts by connecting multiple printers at once. Now the trio raised $1.4 million from Y Combinator and KPCB Edge to make even more velociraptors.

They have 1,200 customers including Mattell, VH1, and Microsoft.

“Voodoo is the only high-volume 3D printing provider that we know of. Instead of focusing on low volumes of high-value parts like prototypes or jet-engine components, we are making ‘everyday’ plastic parts,” said Friefeld. “We use a 160 printer cluster of regular desktop 3D printers and control them with software that we write in-house to produce parts. By number, this is the largest cluster of printers in US, possibly the world, and they are all co-located so that we can ensure the best prices with top quality and consistency for our customers.”

The product is based on work the team did at Makerbot on the idea of Botfarms. The company let the trio spin out a bigger Botfarm solution and they’ve been independent since May 2015.

“Voodoo is trying to build a next generation of factory. We are a manufacturing company born out of software, and we want to make hardware as easy and scalable as software has become in the last 10 years,” he said. The plan is to create massive factories that speed up manufacturing by 90%. This means you can have your hundreds of velociraptors in hours and not days or months. Expansion of the product is in the works and perhaps the future of manufacturing will truly depend on Voodoo economics.