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3D Printing Blog

Printing in the Blood at Midlands 3D

The team here at Midlands 3D is both virtually and in a very real sense, a family. With our origins of the business in the garage of our family home (not unlike the start of HP – the makers of our MJF machines), our team includes not only me, but my wife Deborah and daughter Megan. My son Jake helps out too when we’re busy and he’s not at college. Even my brother, Andrew, has been known to help with our marketing from time to time.

Not one to be idle when visiting, we even managed to rope in my now retired father, Ron, into a shift on a recent trip to Staffordshire!

A history in print

Maybe a career in printing was inevitable for at least one of us three siblings, after all Dad spent his entire career in the print industry – the “2D”, ink on paper variety. Starting first on the shop floor, he moved into sales in the 1980’s. Maybe printing is in the blood indeed.

During that time he worked for some of the world’s biggest print companies including BPCC and Canadian HQ’ed Quebecor. At the time Quebecor were the world’s largest commercial printer, with more than 200 printing plants and shops in over 15 countries on three continents. Back then, I seem to remember, some of the biggest and most hotly contested contracts were for the big mail order catalogues that it seemed every home would have at least one of. It almost became a Christmas tradition to circle items for “Santa” to select from! 

Printing parallels

When I look at how that industry has changed over the years and think about our world of 3D Printing, I guess the biggest parallel is the growing use of “print on demand”. it offers numerous options for individuals and businesses to print brochures, business cards and even books and merchandise as orders are received, and in locations close to the point of demand.

For us, online ordering via our website and membership of the HP Digital Manufacturing Network, for international customers delivers just that.

Maybe printing is in the blood, maybe not. Great to see the old boy back on the shop floor though, even if it was just for an afternoon!