Arthur Cassaignau : 4 years of 3D printing
Today, after 4 years with us, our Product Owner and former Marketing Manager Arthur Cassaignau leaves to start another adventure. 4 years, for such an innovative technology and such an innovative company, that’s a lot. It was the perfect occasion for us to ask him a few questions on the way the 3D printing field evolved over these past few years, on what he foresees for the future of this technology, and on his experience at Sculpteo.
4 years of 3D printing
Why did you choose to work in 3D printing?
When I finished my studies, I wanted to work in one of these 4 fields: the personal fabrication revolution, new solutions of urban transportation, energy, or urban agriculture. For my end-of-studies thesis at the Celsa, I worked on Open Source developments. Also, during my studies, I was really into design. These two topics just converged in my mind, and I started asking myself what would happen if we applied this Open Source logic to the real world and not only to the virtual one. At that time, the Makers movement was rising, and I started to get closer to it. That’s how I ended up working at Sculpteo, through various encounters.
How did the world of 3D printing look like 4 years ago?
4 years ago, the visible part of 3D printing was what we were hearing from the media: everyone would soon have a 3D printer at home, there would be marketplaces like iTunes to download or sell 3D files, and it would be possible to 3D print anything easily, either in local labs, or at home.
The professionals of this sector quickly understood that this vision would have difficulties to become a reality due to the problematics related to education around 3D modeling, to the difficulty to find an easy-to-use software, and to the cost of 3D printing which was quite high at that time.
What has changed?
The whole sector soon believed in this promise of a massive mainstream revolution. It was particularly attractive since it echoed many issues that we still don’t know how to address today. For companies: being closer to the consumer. For consumers: benefiting from a more personalized, less standardized and more responsible consumption.
We saw important fundraisings in 3D printing, beautiful projects entirely based on this vision. But the issues previously mentioned are hard to solve in only a few years. Step by step, the reality of the market started to be more valorized, and the professionals from this field succeeded in imposing more industrial stories, depicting better the reality of 3D printing, with everything it can bring to fields like automotive or healthcare for instance.
Do you think you could have foreseen these changes?
When I started working in 3D printing, my knowledge of what had been made in the last 30 years was incomplete: dozens of technologies already existed, the choice of printers was vast, with prices going up to millions of euros, a complete industry already existed, from software development to worldwide distribution through part manufacturing. I entered the 3D printing world through the path of media, then I discovered this other angle. I don’t think that it took us a while to switch to this industrial vision at Sculpteo, focussing more on companies than on individual consumers.
How do you think the world of 3D printing will look like in 4 years?
During many years, the world of 3D printing evolved quite slowly. The SLS technology didn’t change much over the last 15 years, and neither did the ZCorp, patented 25 years ago. But the recent boom in the sector led to the arrival of new technologies like CLIP (DLS) by Carbon, and Multi Jet Fusion by HP. They are very competitive in terms of cost and are truly easier to use. The dynamics are changing and I don’t think it’s going to stop here. Impressive evolutions in terms of materials and technologies are coming, especially with materials that can be used for finished products and not only prototypes. Leaders in terms of 3D printing software are also going to be challenged by newcomers.
Which project struck you the most in 3D printing during these 4 years?
At Sculpteo, I worked with Claire Chabaud, Endeer‘s founder, which is a startup creating custom-made underwear thanks to 3D printing. This project sums up pretty well what we can expect from this technology. It’s a very specific application of a technology to a specific field: creating high-value underwear in a field where technology had a very poor impact for a long time. Thanks to a different manufacturing method, we can recreate some value in a field where it used to be based only on the brand and on appearance.
4 years at Sculpteo
How was Sculpteo when you arrived 4 years ago?
When I arrived, Sculpteo was a team of 15. The 3 pillars of the company were already clearly defined. One third was dealing with the production of 3D printed parts for our customers. One third were engineers working on our own 3D printing software. And the last third were support functions (marketing, sales, and customer support). That’s the true added value of Sculpteo: these 3 pillars are still our strength, even today.
What has changed?
The more Sculpteo grew, the more each function grew in the same proportions, with ambitious changes for each one of us. For instance, we opened a factory in the United States, we developed a powerful 3D printing software, and we launched a 3D printing consulting service to share our expertise with our customers. We all collectively tried to push our limits all the time. And I clearly saw that our capacity to attract talents improved strongly, step by step, all through our development.
What is Sculpteo’s identity according to you?
Sculpteo was founded by engineers, for engineers, and that’s central in our culture. That’s why we understand well our customers’ expectations and we find the right solutions, either in terms of production and of software. That’s also a company where human values are really at the core of our culture. A huge trust is given to each employee, we’re all really autonomous, we get to be in charge of ambitious projects and we only hire people with whom it will be a true pleasure to work. In my opinion, Sculpteo is a company made of people that are smart but who don’t take themselves too seriously.
What do you think Sculpteo brought you?
A bit everything. What I will keep the most is the notion that each problem has a solution and that you can deal with complex issues if you fragment them in small problems that can be solved. Engineers have to work that way all the time, but that’s also very useful in any job. I used to have a very global approach to things, and the people I met at Sculpteo showed me that no matter the level of complexity of something, you can have a simple approach.
I also got the chance to work with very different types of people, which is a true richness. Knowing how to surround yourself well and to create a panel of talents allows you to be really ambitious and innovative.
Your best memory?
There are so many, of course. But I would say that the opportunities I had to be an ambassador of Sculpteo have been truly important for me. Showing to the world what we have to offer, our strong values and our ambition have been an honor and a true mark of trust.
One last word?