In January, Stratasys asked me to help them with the new Mojo software Beta test. Part of the test was to print constantly for a week. I decided to print all the toys and fun parts I’ve had for years that I never had a chance to print. I was so impressed with the space ships and dinosaurs I was printing that I figured posting them on Instagram would be a great way to show off the Mojo’s capabilities.
With the use of hashtags, I started growing a 3D printing following and I started following others that were also printing parts. Last week I noticed someone posted a few Zcorp printed models and I commented that I used to work on these machines. This guy asked me for my email address as he had some questions he needed to ask me.
I obliged and learned that this guy Will, had just bought a used Z450 and within a week it broke down. He had tried calling Zcorp directly; they refused to help and pawned him off on his local Los Angeles reseller who also didn’t want to help fix a used machine. I knew Will was in trouble, he had a new business venture and the cornerstone of his business was broken. I helped him figure out the problem which was either material clogging his ribbon cable connector or the ribbon cable was bad.
There was no way for him to order just the ribbon cable from the manufacturer. They required that he spend over $2000 on a new printhead assembly; he just didn’t have the funds at the time. I knew I had a lot of old parts in the basement, or somewhere in storage and I was just about to throw out some old boxes so I checked for what Will needed.
I did find two used assemblies with ribbon cables, I knew that for one reason or another they didn’t work. I was told to dispose of them years ago and never did. I sent Will a picture of what I had and let him know they might not even work but if he paid shipping I’d send him these old useless parts. Over the weekend Will worked on his machine and was able to get it running again, he called me very excited that I helped him where nobody else would and I didn’t even make a profit. I probably could have charge him more, but if these parts didn’t work, I would be in the same boat as the others that wouldn’t help him. Will explained to me that he’s just starting a service bureau and he was going to be purchasing a Stratasys machine in the next year or two but had no idea who he would buy from until now.
You never know where your next customer might be lurking; I never thought I’d be meeting customers from posting on Instagram.