AON3D closes $11.5M Series A, partners with Astrobotic to send 3D printed parts to the moon – TechCrunch

3D printing is gaining a lot of attention. This is because the technology allows for new shapes and geometries and uses lighter materials than traditional manufacturing counterparts. Many companies are still unable to access additive manufacturing training or need to use materials not suitable for traditional 3D printers due to high barriers of entry.
AON3D, a 3D printing startup, wants to eliminate both those barriers. It has raised $11.5 million in Series A to achieve this goal.

The company produces industrial 3D printers that can print thermoplastics. Kevin Han, co-founder of AON3Ds, explained that the platform is materials-agnostic. This means the printers can accept more than 70,000 thermoplastic composites, or a custom mix. According to the founders, this is the real breakthrough of the company: the ability to make existing materials 3D-printable.

Randeep Singh, co-founder of TechCrunch, explained that the real innovation lies in the material side. We can accept a new material from big companies [] we take the material that a customer might need for a specific purpose, run lots of tests, and then turn it into 3d printing process.

AON3D claims that this opens additive manufacturing up to more companies. This is especially important for those who want to pursue 3D printing, but cannot change their materials fundamentally. Han said that they don't have to with AON3Ds process.

Andrew Walker and Han Singh founded the company. They met while studying materials engineering at McGill University in Montreal. AON3D was founded largely because of a gap between 3D printers with high prices, ranging from hundreds of thousands to several hundred thousand per machine, and printers that can be purchased for as little as $100.

The company started out operating 3D printers for a service. In 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised CAN $89 643 ($71 064) to help bring their debut 3D printer, AON, to backers. Six years later, the company has raised $14.2 million in total funding. SineWave Ventures led this round with participation by AlleyCorp, Y Combinator Continuity and others. BDC, EDC and Panache Ventures were also represented. MANA Ventures was also represented by Josh Richards & Griffin Johnson. SV angels were also present.

AON3D sells printers and custom materials. AON3D also provides ongoing support to companies, providing training in additive manufacturing, and ensuring that their printer parameters are appropriate for the parts they need.

Because of its advantages in weight, the company has gained a lot of clients in aerospace. This is partly due to the fact that space companies have to consider payload size, cost, time, and the ability to use geometries not possible by traditional manufacturing methods or injection molding, as well as the need to find clients.

Astrobotic Technology is also included in this group. This lunar exploration startup aims to launch a lander on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the moon in 2022. There will be hundreds printed parts using the AON3Ds high-temperature printer AON M2+. These parts will likely be among the first to touch the lunar surface. These parts include bracketry components as well as critical parts for the avionics boxes.

Astrobotic can now use materials they need quickly because of this partnership, Singh explained. They would otherwise have to wait for the right material to be made in another process.

The company plans to use the capital raised from the financing round to create a full-scale materials laboratory and grow its workforce. The company plans to fully automate 3D printing using data from the materials lab so that all businesses can use additive manufacturing.