Founder and CEO Clay Guillory is thinking big -- big 3D printers. His made-to-order machines can print parts that are about 60 times bigger than the industry norm.
Guillory started Titan Robotics while working for Diversified Machine Systems, the Colorado Springs-based manufacturer of CNC routers. The Louisiana transplant had bought an open-source RepRap 3D printer kit in late 2013 and finished making it in April 2014.
He immediately posted an offer on Craigslist to print parts on a contract basis, and soon got a request from an architect, not for a part, but for a super-sized 3D printer -- 30 inches by 30 inches by 45 inches. "He wanted to print giant molds and pour concrete in them," says Guillory.
He took on the challenge and launched Titan down the path it's on today. "It's just scaling up 3D printers and scaling down CNC routers," he says. "I basically just scaled up my RepRap."
After delivering that first machine in September 2014, Guillory got an order from a second customer: The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in nearby Woodland Park wanted a machine that could print two feet on a side to print replicas of skeletons and other jurassic objects.
"I'd just built a printer way bigger than that," says Guillory, noting that the order shipped in early 2015. "They're printing an entire T. rex right now."
Titan's larger scale could be a game changer for a wide range of manufacturers. "The ability to print in one piece is huge," says Guillory. "You're losing accuracies and tolerances all over the place when you glue parts together." Titan's Hyperion and Atlas machines are "way more of an industrial answer for 3D printing."
Tita's machines start at about $14,000, and custom designs can cost as much as $200,000. Customers are using the printers for a wide range of artistic and industrial applications.
Titan's machines can scale up to five feet by eight feet by three feet, and he's aiming to crack into the aerospace market with a printer that can handle ultra high temperature (UHT) plastic.
"We've got some crazy technology coming out," says a tight-lipped Guillory. "I can't talk too much about it. We're working with a really a big out-of-state company. . . . It's a huge project."
As Titan has picked up steam, Guillory left DMS in 2015 to focus on the startup full-time. "It's been a long process since I started and I'm still learning today," says Guillory. "It's been quite the interesting journey -- a lot of work, but we love it."
Challenges: Customer awareness. "It's a whole new market," says Guillory. "Nobody knows what they can do with gigantic 3D printers."
Opportunities: "Just seeing where CES takes us," says Guillory. "It was awesome. It was beyond our wildest dreams." He says that Titan's booth had a great location at the front of the 3D printing area. "Everybody who went into 3D printing saw our machine first."
Guillory points to one especially fertile target market. "Aerospace is going to be huge," he says. Developing the capability to print with Ultem, a UHT plastic, is key. "That's the only plastic approved for aerospace use."
Another opportunity is "making large-scale 3D printing exponentially faster," he adds. "That's going to be the game changer."
Needs: Sales. The cycle can be notably long, says Guillory. "One of them we've been working on for nine months."