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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Pasco Tribune

If you can dream it, 3D printer Object Shop can make it

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LUTZ — Their customers run the gamut from artists to surgeons to aeronautical engineers. At the Object Shop, Pasco’s first 3-D printing company, if you can design it, they can model it.

Brian Zuckerman and Grant Posner opened the store in March. The business utilizes a professional-grade powder composite printer that produces full color objects with a sandstone finish.

“There’s only one other company in Tampa Bay that has equipment like this,” Zuckerman said.

As the technology becomes less of a novelty, demand for new business applications grows every year. It’s that vision that brought the unlikely partners together.

Zuckerman brings decades of business experience to the table, having owned restaurants, telecommunications and consulting businesses. Posner, who is finishing his masters in business administration at Saint Leo University, brings the tech savvy of the Y-generation.

The Object Shop hasn’t done any marketing yet. It’s relied on Internet user groups to attract customers who wanted a quicker turnaround and grew frustrated from working with other providers, Posner said. A single print takes about five hours from beginning to end. The finished product can be shipped within a few days of receiving the order.

“One of the biggest issues in the industry is it’s too expensive and it takes too long and customer service is terrible,” Posner said. “We’ve solved all those problems.”

The technology was quickly embraced by manufacturing companies, who realized they could save money and time to produce scale models of vehicles and parts. The printer can even produce objects with moving parts and gears for a tenth of the cost.

A government subcontractor wanted a model of an existing airplane with specific modifications. “For a model maker to do this, it would take a month and cost between $5,000 and $10,000, and if they wanted to make any changes, it would be another month,” Zuckerman said. “We can save them months of time in making these prototypes, and to them the value is the time.”

The next venture will be medical printing, Zuckerman said. They’re working with an orthopedic surgeon to create a 3-D replica of his patient’s spine based on an MRI. Medical modeling allows physicians to simulate surgeries in advance.

“The printer can handle any intricacy, so we don’t have to price for that,” Zuckerman said. “We charge simply on size.”

One frequent customer from Orlando designs and sells novelty figurines based on pop culture figures, such as “Breaking Bad” character Walter White. A graphic designer from Paris designs video game characters, art pieces and corporate logos.

“One of the things we do is we livestream the print,” Posner said. “The designer in France, he watches it all the time. He’ll stay up all night — he’s fascinated.”

Another customer, a Chicago-based wedding photographer, uses the 3-D printer to create exact replicas of his clients to use as wedding cake toppers. “He has a photo array with 60 cameras that are all synced to shoot together, and he pieces it into a 3-D image,” Posner said. “He was looking for someone who could provide him with quality prints, quickly. We delivered it in a week.”

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1852

Twitter @LKinslerTBO

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