Maine 3D printing services at STEAMfruit
Prototyping, Design, and 3D Modeling with STEAMfruit
Michael’s studio, where he provides 3D printing services, is just down the hall from my own, and Tina has seen him at Engine for years. But it was only recently, during the Mill Project that we took some time to stop by and see some of the amazing things that he’s doing at STEAMfruit.
Building 15 Suite 212
Who are you and where are you from?
I am Michael Vickery, a native Mainer, currently residing in Saco with my wife & partner, Laura, our teenagers, Max and Pearl, assorted dogs and cats. I am a life-long artist/designer/maker with a well-rounded background in art & design, various print production processes, operation & production management, AV/IT/tech, blown glass production, 3D modeling & animation, simulation, carpentry, ceramics, and more.
Tell me a little about your business?
STEAMfruit has established and quickly secured a place in the nascent digital manufacturing landscape. Our primary focus is product design, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering utilizing the latest in Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing, and 3D scanning technologies, among others. I get asked about our name a lot— “STEAM”, as most educators know, is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, all of which are employed toward achieving an ultimate design/product, or the “fruit” of our labor.
Individuals and businesses with problems to solve, or product ideas for doing so, often don’t take that next step into design and prototyping because it is historically time-consuming and expensive. We minimize both of those barriers by providing consulting, design, and rapid prototyping services so that you can have a proof-of-concept in your hands within days vs. weeks, months, or even years. At our core we are about solving problems with beautiful design, all the while identifying efficiencies in processes, and manufacturing.
We’re building partnerships with local industrial/product designers, tool & mold makers, manufacturers, and suppliers in order to provide complete “art to part” services quickly, effectively, efficiently, and economically.
We provide high-end design and functional prototyping services that catalyze traditional manufacturing toward the new paradigm of agile manufacturing— faster and more effective design iteration, accurate functional prototypes, reduced tool & mold costs, short-run production, one-offs, all leveraging the existing local service and supply chain. Basically we help you get your beautiful product ideas to market fast and economically.
Additionally we maintain a consumer-facing service— 3D selfies; in particular, personalized wedding cake toppers. We perform an actual 3D scan of the individual or couple, edit and process the resulting 3D digital model, then 3D print it in one of a variety of available materials, and apply a finish according to the customer’s desire.
What made you choose the mill for your business?
I love the eclectic community within the mill as well as the energy that continues to build around Biddeford’s renaissance, or “Biddesance” as it’s come to be known. There’s an exciting and inspirational vibe going on that is energizing. It’s also very central to my network of partners. We have a complete Maine-based design and manufacturing ecosystem within a 5-mile radius.
How long have you been doing this?
Not quite two years.
What makes your business interesting to you?
It is a culmination of nearly everything I’ve endeavored to do. It incorporates many different processes and technologies that fascinate me. Also, no two projects are alike. A love to share the enthusiasm and “ah-ha” moments with clients as we work through their projects toward a tangible solution. I thrive on creative and technical challenges, solving problems.
I especially enjoy forming new partnerships and business relationships with the people and businesses of the area and exploring how our specialties can mesh or compliment one another.
What makes you stand out from others in the same industry?
I run a nimble and responsive lab that focuses on building relationships with clients and gaining a thorough understanding of their needs and challenges. I approach everything with one eye on design, the other on function— whether it be a peanut butter sandwich or a complex mechanism. There is this accepted mantra that “form follows function” that often minimizes the importance of design and the human interface.
I strive to maintain balance in that mixture. I also bring a lot of experience with processes, production, materials, and systems to the table. Not to mention, I am obsessively detail and quality oriented.
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