Freeform Emerges With Software-Defined Autonomous Printing Factories

Investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Fund and Threshold Ventures back Freeform to impact additive manufacturing.

Investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Fund and Threshold Ventures back Freeform to impact additive manufacturing.

Freeform, a metal 3D printing company founded by engineers from SpaceX, announces its official launch out of stealth. The company is deploying software-defined, autonomous printing factories around the world, bringing on-demand production to mainstream industries. Freeform's advanced printing technology is designed to allow manufacturers in any industry to quickly go from idea to volume production, the company says.

Freeform's autonomous printing factories and manufacturing-as-a-service business model solve these challenges. Its technology stack brings the scalability of software to physical production by leveraging advanced sensing, real-time controls and data-driven learning in a scalable factory architecture. The company is producing digitally-verified, high-quality parts, Freeform says. 

“While at SpaceX, I leveraged metal 3D printing to accelerate the development of numerous rocket engines. We founded Freeform to solve this problem and to make this transformative technology available to all industries, giving anyone the ability to rapidly take an idea and produce it at scale,” says Erik Palitsch, co-founder and CEO of Freeform. “We're bringing the best talent on the planet together to disrupt the manufacturing industry, and with our recent fundraise, we're excited to scale production capacity to make printing at scale available to all industries.” 

“As Embark brings autonomous trucking technology to market, we need the ability to seamlessly scale up from prototype to production,” says Brandon Connors, head of Programs and Manufacturing at Embark Trucks, developer of autonomous technology for the trucking industry. “That means sourcing commercial-grade metal parts on short timelines, consistently and at a practical cost. Freeform's printing service enables us to meet our manufacturing needs, improves supply chain reliability and gives us the ability to change designs without impacting delivery time, so that we can accelerate the deployment of our technology.” 

Freeform is enabling customers to easily scale from initial designs into high-volume production. “Freeform offers us the ability to scale up from prototype to production.” says Nick Doucette, chief operations officer at Ursa Major. Ursa Major is an American aerospace company that works with Freeform for the manufacturing of rocket engine parts. “Freeform's printing service gives us the ability to change designs rapidly without impacting production cost or delivery time. We are able to get consistent, high-quality metal parts in days instead of weeks.” 

Freeform has gone from initial concept to deploying its first production-scale printing factory in a couple of years, and has paying customers across advanced energy, automotive, aerospace, and industrial sectors. 

“Freeform has revolutionized the additive approach,” says Scott Nolan, investor from Founders Fund. “Others have tried addressing one component or problem at a time, like thermal stress, but no one else has rethought the entire architecture and approach. Freeform has created more flexibility for how parts are printed, and their cost-effective model has opened up a whole new class of 3D-printable parts.” 

Partner at Two Sigma Ventures, Dusan Perovic, who led Freeform's most recent round similarly affirms that Freeform is the right company to scale metal printing for the first time. “Freeform represents a quantum leap forward for additive manufacturing. And perhaps just as importantly, Erik, TJ, and the team are the right people to bring this technology to a range of industries–blending expertise and engineering savvy, with a mindset of constant improvement.”

Freeform's team comprises industry leaders from the likes of SpaceX, Velo3D, Carbon, Tesla and Apple, who have successfully overcome the disruption. Freeform has raised $45M to date and is backed by Silicon Valley investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Fund, and Threshold Ventures. Mo Islam, partner at Threshold, and Dusan Perovic, partner at Two Sigma, are on Freeform's board of directors. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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