An analysis of 32 3D Printer Kickstarter projects, that were successfully funded with more than $100,000, showed an amazing diversity in geography. 26 of the 32 projects were from USA. In the US, the projects locations ranged from Missoula (Montana), Little Rock (Arkansas), Deadwood (South Dakota) & Gold Hill (Oregon). The below map shows you the locations & the funding size category of each project.

Of the non- US projects, 3 are from Canada, 1 from the UK, 1 from China & 1 from Taiwan. The below detailed chart shows the 32 projects, their locations & the funding amount for each location.

Of the 32 projects, The Micro based out of Bethesda, MD raised the most at $3.4M. This was followed by Form 1 (Cambridge, MA) & The Buccaneer (San Francisco) who raised $2.9M & $1.4M respectively.


Here are five really inspiring backgrounds of people & teams behind these projects who show that the 3D printing revolution could come from anywhere.

Michael Lundwall (Rigidbot - $1M) based out of Springville / Provo, Utah

Project: A sturdy, customizable 3D printer that is easy to use and affordable for all. 3D print almost any object. There are no limits!

Bio & Background:

I started rapid prototyping in 2006 while going to BYU. I became the TA of the school’s RP lab and was able to learn a lot about the different processes and the importance of prototyping. Later in 2007, I was able to get an internship at Tangible Express, one of the largest 3D printing service bureaus in the USA. I worked with equipment that ranged from $30,000 to over $1,000,000. After graduating in 2009 with a Manufacturing Engineering Technology degree, I started Invent-A-Part. Over the past three years I have printed tens of thousands of parts and shipped them all over the world. I married the love of my life in 2007, and I am a proud father of two beautiful children.

Michael Joyce (B9 Creator -  $513k & $290k) based out of Deadwood, South Dakota)

Project: DIY 3D Printers based upon the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) concept simply can not match the higher resolution capability of the B9Creator.  We utilize a powerful Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector to shine a 1024 x 768 pixel image onto a layer of photo-initiated polymer resin.  The result is a quick solid cure of the entire layer in one operation.  The layer thickness is typically 100 microns but your model can be sliced even thinner if you need even higher resolution.  Note that 100 microns is .1 mm or about 0.004"

Bio & Background:

I LOVE to make things, always have. Growing up in the 60's and 70's I watched in awe as my Dad and others built jets and rockets. Rockets which allowed men to walk on the MOON! I was torn between wanting to build rockets and wanting to ride them... so, I ended up flying aircraft in the US Air Force for a few years. That was great fun, but it eventually became apparent that NASA wouldn't be sending me or anyone else to Mars anytime soon... so, I went back to civilian life and enjoyed coding software for awhile. I've always loved robots (especially "Space Robots") and I discovered I was pretty good at making them. Good enough that I've been able to make a pretty good living building and selling the "Lost in Space" Robot Model "B9" from the old TV series. The call to space caught my attention again in 2007 and I founded team "Next Giant Leap" to compete in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. From that I learned that robotics and 3D printing are key enablers to the future of space exploration... so, I've combined my passions to work on 3D printing. I LOVE this stuff.

Chelsea Thompson (QU BD - $413k) based out of Little Rock, Arkansas

Project:

The QU-BD One Up is the world's first production ready 3D printer to break the $200 barrier.  It uses industry standard technology and electronics and everything is OPEN SOURCE!

Bio & Background:

Our team has grown since last time to now include 10 people. Our primary business is serving the OEM manufacturing needs of other 3D printer companies and a few Fortune 500 companies. We are a full service machine shop that uses precision, industrial CNC machines to produce parts in a wide range of fields. We all share a passion for what 3D Printing can do for the world!

Uberclock / Mark Cooper (Smoothieboard - $110k) based out of Gold Hill, Oregon)

Project:

Easy to use open source G-code interpreter for all 3d printers, laser cutters, mills, and other CNCs. Modular, powerful, and smooth.

Bio & Background:

Uberclock, LLC was founded by Mark A. Cooper to help bring open source hardware to life. The recent growth of maker culture has made creating things that were out of reach for an individual just 10 years ago seem downright trivial now. We are here to give back to the maker culture that has so suddenly made this all possible!

Acuity Design (Helix - $125K) based out of Missoula, Montana

Project:

Helix is a professional 3D printer designed to be a versatile, robust, and affordable asset to your business. Architects will benefit from quick, inexpensive scale models, captivating their clients' imaginations and converting more sales.  Engineers and manufacturers will save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours annually by printing in-house what they once had to outsource.  Educators will finally have a 3D printer versatile, durable, and safe enough for use in all grades and subjects.

Bio & Background:

ACUITY DESIGN is a product development firm in Missoula, MT that goes by the motto "Challenge Normal." Its made up of two partners, Michael Manhardt and James Fields, who collectively have nearly 18 years of product development and manufacturing experience. After helping dozens of clients launch their products, Acuity recently launched its own product for the first time, the Helix 3D printer/additive manufacturing machine.

MICHAEL MANHARDT earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and has worked in product development for over 10 years. He has spent time at world-class manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, Polaris Industries, and Waukesha Engines in various capacities that allowed him to gain expertise in all aspects of the product development process. He received his MBA from the University of Montana in 2011 and founded Acuity Design shortly thereafter. In between working and caring for his two dogs, Michael can be found in his garage with a cold can of PBR in one hand and a wrench in the other. He has been an avid mechanic and fabricator that has led him to owning various motorcycles, bicycles, junk cars, and even a kids dirt bike that ran exclusively on jet fuel. In order to justify his facial hair growing Michael explores the back-country on snowboards, cross-country skis, and mountain bikes, plays hockey, and harvests ungulates.

JAMES FIELDS holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, an MS in Education from Concordia University Wisconsin and has done further graduate work in applied mathematics at the University of Montana. He has worked as an engineer at Mercury Marine and Kohler Engines and then as adjunct faculty teaching math at the University of Montana before his best friend, Mike Manhardt, lured him away from teaching and working toward his PhD in applied mathematics to join Acuity. When he's not in the office over-analyzing the inefficiencies in anything he can think of, he enjoys racing and not racing on bikes, afoot and on skis. He also likes edgy political commentary, good beer and hunting, especially with his father. Somewhere amid all that he finds insufficient time to spend with his wife, who seems to love him despite regular disappointment, and young son, who seems to love him despite not quite as regular disappointment, which will probably turn to more regular disappointment as his brain development makes him more cognizant of his father's nerdiness and disconcerting sense of humor.