Alumnus Parlays Interest in 3D Printing

By Penn State News

Wednesday, November 11th 2015

Original Publication: http://news.psu.edu/story/380243/2015/11/11/academics/alumnus-parlays-interest-3-d-printing-prototyping-business

While a student at Penn State Berks, Joseph Sinclair had his first encounter with a 3-D printer in the college’s Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Center. It sparked an interest but it wasn’t until he attended a career fair and had only limited success that he decided to take matters into his own hands by taking that interest to the next level and starting his own company.

Sinclair started a rapid prototyping business and advanced it to the point that it could support itself, all while he was still a student at Penn State.

The prelude to Solid Dynamics was a dorm-run business called Joe’s Rapid Prototyping. By December 2014, Sinclair had three 3-D printers running in his University Park dorm room. He knew he needed a change when his room started smelling like plastic, so he decided to rent space, purchase commercial software licenses, and form an LLC. Since then, he has expanded to use more printers and printing at higher qualities. He has also hired students to work as contractors.

 Joseph Sinclair prepares a 3D-Printer in order to showcase a mobile training unit that will be used to teach students about 3D Printing in a Solid Dynamics "Introdudatuion to 3D-Printing Course" offered at Penn State Berks.   Image: Penn State

Joseph Sinclair prepares a 3D-Printer in order to showcase a mobile training unit that will be used to teach students about 3D Printing in a Solid Dynamics "Introdudatuion to 3D-Printing Course" offered at Penn State Berks. 

Image: Penn State


In addition to Solid Dynamics’ day-to-day business, Sinclair is pursuing other projects. He plans to “forward-fit” an older machine to 3-D print metal, built at a significantly smaller expense than other models on the market. He has already built what he calls his “presentation box”– an entire rapid prototyping kit in one portable box, complete with computer, software, and the printer.

He states that he has other projects in the works, too, though the details are ones he is not ready to share—yet.

Sinclair shares a piece of advice with entrepreneurial students who aren’t sure about which direction to choose: “Pick something that is cheap to get into, but so technically oriented that no one else will want to do it.” Sinclair learned all the in’s and out’s to operating and repairing his printers—a skill that took thousands of hours and has paid off immensely.

“What you see here is a prelude to the future,” said Joseph Sinclair of his Innovation Park office.

Sinclair recently paid a visit to Penn State Berks’ Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Center. He stays in touch with the faculty members who ignited his passion for 3-D printing and inspired him to follow his dreams.