Chris Prucha and Joel Ong left their tech industry jobs in the fall of 2015 to focus on their 3D printing start-up, Origin. They knew 3D printing had the potential to rival the quality, capability and low per-unit cost of traditional manufacturing techniques and were determined to bring their vision to the market.
The opportunity to prove themselves came fast. Chronicled Inc., a technology company based in San Francisco, came to them with a unique challenge: producing a run of their patented authenticity tags designed to accompany the limited edition Marshawn Lynch Beast Mode shoes. The shoes, released on Black Friday, would come with the guaranteed authenticity tags, giving consumers the ability to authenticate their collectible sneakers with an iPhone or Android device. The Chronicled platform incorporates smart tags, an open registry, and the app to document and guarantee product authenticity, ownership, and provenance.
Origin got to work. After testing numerous options, they found that SLA 3D printing with Ember was the right solution to deliver the surface finish they desired. Furthermore, because Ember is open, Origin was able to create an automated workflow with custom software and hardware additions that provided the ability to create multi-colored tags, seamlessly insert microchips and engrave them with custom serial numbers.
“In the past, consumers have had to rely on imperfect solutions when purchasing high-end items." said Chronicled CEO Ryan Orr. "Especially online, buyers have had to gamble on the trustworthiness of often anonymous sellers in a world where the quality and preponderance of counterfeit goods in increasingh with each passing year. These 3D printed smart tags solve that problem by giving each item a unique, unforgeable identity running on a blockchain backend."
Origin delivered the 500 smart tags for the initial order, but that was just the beginning.They proceeded to enhance their customized workflow, expanding on the open Ember system to develop their own platform designed to couple the speed, customization, and flexibility of 3D printing with the quality and scalable pricing economics of mass-manufacturing. Creating new software on top of the open Ember system allowed them to minimize failures so they are almost non-existent. They were also able send print jobs to a network of printers and customize each file automatically to provide a unique code on each print, a process that would be completely un-scalable manually and undoable with traditional production methods.
“We built on the Ember open system, creating a system for personalization, essentially eliminating failed prints and ultimately launching our business in a bigger way that we had initially imagined.”