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January 31, 2021 3 min read

Some of you may be wondering where MOFCO 3D came from. What was the inspiration to launch this veteran owned and operated company? Who were the people behind the company and what obstacle did they have to overcome?

The purpose of this blog is to take you through the formation of MOFCO 3D from concept to reality. It’s also remarkable that the founding team was composed of mainly car sales and finance executives and a marketing and branding guy. I’ll let you in on a little secret. We went from concept to reality (warehouse, equipment and materials) in THREE (3) short months! Isn’t that incredible?! (Especially with a team that didn’t even know about the space before April, 2020.)

History

MOFCO 3D was the brainchild of Founder Mike Cipriani (me). While on a mission to purchase a heat plate for my pending Trademark application during the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, the seller was a commercial 3D printer. This guy had at least 10 3D printers going in his garage printing everything from auto parts (with ABS) to a unique wristband gizmo for cosmeticians made from PETG!

Now being inquisitive by nature, I started asking questions. I discovered that there would be a shortage of 3D printer filament due to all the restrictions on products (raw materials and finished filament) from China.

As I was a casualty of the pandemic (the former Chief Revenue Officer for a trucking compliance company) I soon realized there was a very limited need for a Sales Executive at this stage of my career. So, although I continued to apply for jobs, I focused on learning the 3D printing market and its feasibility as a scalable and profitable business venture. I spent every spare waking moment learning the 3D printing space. Everything from the resins, the machines, the finances need to start up and the potential profits.

What I discovered was the 3D printing industry in 2018 was an $11.4B industry and is expected to grow to $29B by the end of the decade and 25% of that industry, was consumables…3D printer filament. I also discovered that unlike traditional laser printers, the filament was universal in size. What’s even more amazing, that every single person I ran this idea by, without exception said the idea of manufacturing 3D printer filament that was 100% Made in America, with 100% American raw materials and supplies that was veteran owned and operated was brilliant!! After several more meetings between the founders (sadly, I’m the only one left), MOFCO 3D was born.

What I’m about to share with you are the obstacles we faced on the journey from concept to production that almost buried us before we could sell our first Kg of filament.

SIDE NOTE: ALL of the following obstacles were figured out and completed by me without an operator's manual or support from the manufacturer. The only assistance I received was from my raw material supplier and Seiman’s the company that manufactures the drive motors!

The machines

We finally settled on buying two (2) used machines that were once used by a very successful filament company. I knew these machines existed but stumbled on them once I realized new machines would set us back over $600,000! The first setback was the manufacture stopped providing any assistance as soon as they learned we wouldn’t be purchasing new from them. We had to figure out the alignment of the equipment with only crude drawings the manufacturer sent us in the spec sheet.

Machine Setup

Once we had power to the machines, we couldn’t figure out how or why the accumulator and spooler weren’t being recognized by the computer. It was only by circumstance that one of the founders asked “hey, what’s this cable for?” Well, it had Ethernet cables on it so it was assumed it was attached to a computer to monitor it. WRONG! I was able to figure out that that cable fit exactly to a hole in the side of the spooler. But I couldn’t determine where the ethernet cable connected. I then realized there was a large coil of wire at the other end of the line. I uncoiled it and it matched to another hole in the accumulator. Low-and-behold, there were matching power wires that were simply cut when dissembling the machine. I re-attached them and BOOM! The computer recognized the entire line!

In Part 2, I will explain some of the obstacles we had from equipment failure to computer errors!

If you have any further questions, drop me a line: mike@mofco3d.com

Mike Cipriani
Mike Cipriani


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