Stratasys Partner Kickoff 2018 in Miami

My first time to Miami was a success! Last year, Stratasys held the partner kickoff in New Orleans and that was when they launched the F1, 2, and 3 series. Since then they have sold over 800 units of these types of FDM 3D printers in the USA. This year in Miami, they did announce something new but it still has a few quarters to go until there is an official release. To say I am excited about what is coming is an understatement! In fact, Stratasys is going to be releasing one new printer here in a few weeks. I am excited for the direction they are going. During this partner kickoff, they mentioned a huge price drop on all of their Polyjet printers! Send us a message for the latest pricing at

As for PADT employees that were in attendance, we had quite the representation this year. Rey Chu (Co-Owner of PADT), Mario Vargas (Manager of Hardware Sales), Norman Stucker (Colorado Territory Manager), Anthony Wagoner (Utah Territory Manager), Kathryn Pesta (Sales Operations Manager), and me (James Barker, Sr. Application Engineer).

Pictured above from left to right is Mario Vargas, Kathryn Pesta, James Barker, and Anthony Wagoner.

Above is a picture of the Stratasys Panel that was open to some Q&A. 2nd from the right is S. Scott Crump who is the inventor of FDM (fused deposition modeling) printers 30 years ago. Below is a picture of the anniversary info for Stratasys along with Objet (Polyjet technology 20 years) and the merger between the two companies is now 5 years old!

My introduction to 3D printers started 8 years ago with an Objet Eden 500 printer at L-3 Communications where I ran their 3D print lab. 6 months later we got an additional Polyjet printer which was a Connex 500. Amazing that we were able to justify purchasing another high quality machine after a few months of operating the Objet Eden 500! A few years later we got our first Uprint FDM printer from a sister company that no longer had a need for it. After using the Uprint for a few months, I was made aware of some of these thermoplastic materials that could only be printed on the production grade FDM machines. I created a business case to get the Fortus 450 and had every material option available at that time to print with (ABS family of materials, ASA, PC, Nylon 12, Ultem 9085, and Ultem 1010). I love both of these technologies and am confident that they provide the best solution for either rapid prototyping or tooling applications. We even have many customers that are printing production parts with these very precise 3D printers.

One customer that is printing production quality parts is Laika Studios, who has produced these movies: Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline. The presentation they made for us on their stop motion animation was so much fun! 10 years ago for Nightmare before Christmas there were 800+ hand sculpted faces made. For Kubo and the Two Strings, there were 64,000 facial expressions that were all 3d printed with a Stratasys J750. Another fun fact about the movie is that it took 60 hours of 3D printing for one second of film time to be created which is why it takes 2-3 years to complete a film. Moonbeast is a 3ft long puppet that is entirely comprised of 3d printed parts which is the largest character they have done to date. If you have watched Kubo and the Two Strings, it appears to be computer animated but in reality it is stop animation with 3D printed parts! Here is a fun short video (13 seconds) of what the Stratasys printer looks like as it is printing and then support material being removed from the head with different facial expressions.

Matt Gimble, who works for Penske as a Production Manager, shared with us many of the different applications that have helped them save a lot of money since they’ve incorporated 3D printing. Racing is rapidly evolving and is very technical nowadays with a huge emphasis on engineering. 3D printing gives them the tools to meet the new challenges. There are many different great uses they’ve had for 3D printing – from a redesigned rear gear pump design, to a new exhaust tailpipe. Even production parts are made with Stratasys’ newest material, Nylon 12CF. This is a high strength chopped carbon fiber filled Nylon 12. Many that use this material are awe-inspired with its performance! The Superspeedway side view mirror is made out of this material and saved Team Penske 4-6 weeks – which is how long it takes for the mold to be made. Then what if the mold needs altering? Crew Helmet Light/Camera mount is also made in this great thermoplastic/composite material called Nylon 12CF.

The above Fuel Probe was re-engineered and is lighter than its predecessor, plus more ergonomical to help with delivering fuel in a timely manner. Pre-preg carbon fiber sleeves when wrapped around a soluble support material and after the autoclave heating process, the soluble core is dissolved in a sodium hydroxide cleaning tank leaving only the carbon fiber. PADT is a manufacturer for the cleaning tanks that are sold with any Stratasys FDM 3d printer. The core is made out of ST-130 material which is perfect for this application or sacrificial tooling. Ultem 1010 was used as well to create carbon fiber layup tools in a fraction of the time it would have taken for the steel molds to be made. Typical turnaround is 1-3 days, as compared to 4-6 weeks. These are all great applications by Team Penske! Well done!!

We learned a lot at the partner kickoff. Luckily I was able to get this great picture with S. Scott Crump and Mario Vargas! To this day Scott is still inventing and is a major contributor to innovating at Stratasys. While talking with him and Mario, he started talking about these many adventures that he goes on. Scuba diving off the island of Tortuga and having many sharks swimming above isn’t for the faint of heart, yet it is where Scott seems to find his happy place. 

My wife flew out Thursday night to come see Miami with me. It was my first time visiting Florida and we had a phenomenal time there. We put 800 miles on the rental car driving all around. Driving down the Florida Keys all the way to Key West was a blast and if you ever go to Key West, make sure to get a Cuban sandwich from the restaurant Bien! It is MUY MUY BIEN! The islands are so beautiful! We also went to the Everglades where we got an airboat tour and where I even held a 4 year old Alligator and gave it a kiss on the back of its head. My little girls shriek every time they see the picture!

We had a great time in Florida! As we now look to the future, watch out for some exciting updates about new products that are coming! Stratasys, in my opinion, is going to continue being a leader in the Additive Manufacturing realm and I can’t wait to help announce some of the new equipment once it is available!
Any questions you have, you can direct them to me at Thanks!