It began with a printer...
Excitement and Disappointment
After exposure to 3D printing in industry, Aaron had purchased his first consumer printer in 2016. It was a new product to the market that made bold promises and grand claims, but when he finally got it 2 years later, it managed to fall short in every way.
Finding a Solution
Of the printer's many flaws, paramount was the weak extruder that could not effectively push filament at any speed. The unique design of the printhead made full replacement difficult, so Aaron set out to design a drop-in solution.
Taking advantage of the Makerspace at the office he was working at, he explored laser-cutting a gear system to improve the performance.
Meeting Paul & Joshua
In a search to improve the design Aaron met a co-worker, Paul, with access to a full machine shop through the FIRST Robotics Competition program that he mentored.
Paul introduced Aaron to a fellow mentor, Joshua, who was a Mechanical Engineering student and a machinist. Together they refined the design to use an aluminum body in a sleeker profile.
It worked! But how to share...
We worked with the robotics students to build and sell the new gearbox design to the printing community as a fundraiser. Students were able to learn how to create and manage a product, and the owners of this printer were able to make it usable.
We raised over $10,000 in only 4 months...
A Team is Formed
Aaron, Paul, and Joshua were disturbed by the lack of quality engineering and innovation in the consumer 3D printing space. They were confident they could do better and chose to tackle one of the greater engineering challenges: the hotend.
A Fateful Email
Early into hotend R&D, the team happened to make contact with Mike & Will from B3 Innovations: the creators of the Pico hotend in 2013. They had worked on a new design but chose to pivot away from 3D printing.
With a shared vision and design philosophy, the team spent 9 months collaborating with Mike & Will before deciding late 2019 to take on the Pico Hybrid concept, polish it, and bring it to market.
A Company is Born...
Pico Hybrid Launches
We debuted on Kickstarter and successfully completed our first campaign.
A Manufacturing Journey
We made the choice to machine our hotends in-house to ensure we could create the best products and iterate quickly from customer feedback.
An early challenge for us became an opportunity to learn and build a better company for our users.
Pico Hybrid released on December 2021
...and we are just getting started. The journey continues...