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Conception’s niche: quick turnaround on 3D printing

Anne Knowles
aknowles@nnbw.biz

Engineers, architects, manufacturers, inventors or entrepreneurs now have another local option for 3D printing services.

Conception is a new 3D printing shop equipped with two high-end, 3D Systems Inc. printers that provide accuracy within .001 inch, or 1/1000 of an inch, says business founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Blacksmith.

“In the past, 3D printing gave you much more a rough draft,” says Blacksmith. “This is a much closer representation of an injected part so you get a real test of working functionality.”

The shop takes STL files, a format created by the 3D Systems, or converts any file format from popular computer-aided design software and produces a print, usually in an acrylic-type plastic best-suited for 3D printing and typically within a day.

“The usual run time is 12 to 16 hours,” says Blacksmith. “So you could give us a part in the morning and have it back the next day.”

Conception is going after business now often sent outside the area. The idea for the business came from Blacksmith’s wife, Metis Black, CEO of Tantus Inc., a manufacturer of adult toys in Sparks, who was sending Tantus’ 3D printing work to California.

“My wife had been outsourcing 3D to San Francisco and Los Angeles,” says Blacksmith. “By the time you get in the queue and get the product back, it’s a week, week and a half later. And you’re paying Bay Area prices.”

Blacksmith plans to distinguish Conception through customer service and competitive pricing. The business will pick up files, or they can be delivered soon via the company’s Web site, and deliver the finished product.

Conception, bootstrapped by Blacksmith and Black, is located in spacious, 50,000-square-foot facility in Sparks, next door to Tantus. Blacksmith has 25 years manufacturing experience, making a range of products from medical devices to race car parts.