Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: Ha. We risked everything to take on the task of starting Tangible Solutions. I had 4 jobs at one point just to make ends meet while we were getting started. We took out a credit account to put the down payment on our first two machines. 80+ hour workweeks 7 days a week for next to nothing. It’s a huge risk.

Chris Collins Interview Series

Mr. Chris Collins, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Tangible Solutions, is an industry leading Mechanical Engineer. Listed on 2 Patents, He has intimate knowledge of Engineering Design for overall manufacturability of products, especially for 3D Printing; and applies kinematic design and analysis techniques through engineering design software. He has significant experience applying and manufacturing trabecular structures for medical implant applications. Mr. Chris Collins will be a speaker at #3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision on the intersection of 3D Printing and healthcare?

A: Right now, I see AM & Healthcare intersecting most heavily in the emergency custom implant arena. There are many articles surrounding the topic. As we move forward with the technology, we will see titanium orthopedic implants taking over.

Q: What do you specialize in? What is your passion?

A: I specialize in mechanical design for Additive Manufacturing. Particularly implementing trabecular (randomized porous) structures in medical devices. This has become a passion of mine through experience. There is nothing like knowing that I contributed toward a design that will soon help improve the quality of life for an individual.

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see 3D printing having on the healthcare industry?

A: In regard to the manufacturing world: I see the biggest impact being on the orthopedic implant industry. There are a multitude of devices, custom plates, etc, that could benefit greatly from design freedoms offered by AM. Something I’m not as familiar with is bio-printing. I think this is truly a game-changer when it comes to growing an organ or other functional body parts is something that isn’t far off — if it doesn’t already exist in some capacity.

Q: What challenges do you see arising in implementing 3D printing in healthcare sector in the next 5 years?

A: Some of the biggest challenges are quality & regulatory. These are seen as hurdles by some, but the safeguards are in place for a reason, and we’ve all just got to work together to reach reasonable solutions through gaining a better understanding of the processes on both sides of the proverbial fence.

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: There have been so many lessons learned throughout the entrepreneurial process… Some of the most important in relation to Additive is that you’ve absolutely got to design for the process. Printing the same part that can be easily injection molded, milled, turned, cut, etc is often the opposite of the correct use of the technology. Engineers must have an understanding of the factors that drive cost in an additively manufactured part, and the benefits associated (often improved performance).

Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: Ha. We risked everything to take on the task of starting Tangible Solutions. I had 4 jobs at one point just to make ends meet while we were getting started. We took out a credit account to put the down payment on our first two machines. 80+ hour workweeks 7 days a week for next to nothing. It’s a huge risk.

Q: What crucial skill should people aiming to work in this industry acquire?

A: There is a huge gap in technical operators of equipment. Training programs are few & far between, and experienced techs are already gainfully employed inside a business that has a demand for that position. This is a big reason that TS is largely involved with local Community Colleges as well as Universities in the development of technical skill-sets.

Q: What is your vision on the next step for metal 3DP in healthcare?

A: I think the next step is production-level capacities for Titanium orthopedic devices. Although I am admittedly ignorant to the state of bioprinting.