3D print industry comes to Burlington

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The nationÕs first retail 3D printing shop has found a new home on BurlingtonÕs own Church Street, and the duo behind Blu-Bin is determined to put the curious technology Òin the hands of the average customer.Ó

ÒEssentially weÕre a creation center,Ó said co-owner and COO David Newlands. ÒWhat that means is someone will walk into the store with an idea and we produce that final idea into a final object using 3D technology.Ó

The store, nestled at the top of BurlingtonÕs Church Street, is fitting for a city marketed as a hub for young, creative talent. But while Blu-BinÕs approach to the recent phenomenon of 3D printing is design-oriented, the technology itself may be the ultimate attraction.

As the companyÕs website states, ÒWe are the conduit between your imagination and reality.Ó

With that in mind, Blu-Bin allows customers the chance to see just about any of their ideas come to life, Newlands explained.

While most retail 3D print shops only print what buyers already have in mind, Blu-Bin has set itself apart for what he called Òthe package dealÓ: customers can work with any of Blu-BinÕs designers on staff to create a design that will then be printed in a matter of minutes or hours, depending on the object.

ÒTechnically, we can print anything,Ó Newlands said. Weapons and other dangerous or illegal objects? Not so much. ÒAs a company, we want to represent the good things about 3D printing,Ó he said.

When it comes to 3D printing, there is no one type of customer, Newlands said. From older Vermonters who want to create fishing gear to young people who might want to design an iPod case, Blu-Bin plans to serve the creative whims of all customers.

ÒAnd Vermonters are creative people! We couldnÕt think of a better place to move our shop,Ó Newlands added.

The first iteration of Blu-Bin came in September 2012 when founder Daniel Riley, an alum of Green Mountain College, created the company in Poultney.

ÒI started this company because I was tired of the sticker shock associated with 3D printing. I wanted to bring this creativity to the average person,Ó Riley said.

Riley said Blu-Bin was fated to happen in a place like Vermont because of the stateÕs tradtionally eco-friendly politics and economy. Blu-Bin sources its materials from places as local as possible, though some plastic comes from small companies in New England. Other plastic that they use is from recycled materials, he said.

Despite the growth of the nascent 3D printing industryÑ a March Forbes article reported that the industry would reach $3.16 billion by 2016Ñ Blu-Bin is uniquely focused on making the cost of printing affordable to customers, and especially the many young students that call Burlington home.

The cost of printing, measured by size, can range anywhere from $5 to $30.

And if Newlands and Riley have their way, Blu-Bin will prove to be a creative opportunity for area students as well.

Some of the storeÕs contracted designers are students from UVM and Champlain College. If a customer chooses a studentÕs design to print, the student receives a commission, Riley explained.

ÒThis benefits both us and the students. The student will spread the word about their work and we produce the designs that consumers demand,Ó Riley said.

Blu-BinÕs grand opening will be held Sept. 6. For more information, visit the companyÕs website at www.blu-bin.com.

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