Compound dynamics

Jared Wesenick, president of Compound Dynamics, said his company expected rapid growth in 2020 but was slowed by COVID-19.

Industrial 3-D printing has the opportunity to prompt the fourth Industrial Revolution in altering how companies conceive, design, produce, distribute and repair everything.

Just ask Compound Dynamics LLC, a Rothschild-based manufacturer of industrial 3-D printers using fused filament fabrication or fused granular fabrication technologies to meet needs in the one-cubic-meter market. The company’s core competency is in the design and manufacture of world-class additive manufacturing equipment — 3-D printers for producing everything from engineering prototypes, to marketing displays, jigs and fixtures, props, custom furniture, short-run production parts and more, said Jared Wesenick, president.

Compound Dynamics comes at it from a different perspective than many creators of 3-D printers, however. Wesenick’s vast background and experience in custom machine design and development in additive manufacturing held him to tap his knowledge of industrial CNC machine builds in developing Compound Dynamics’ printers. Among other things, the company’s 3-D printers feature a number of design aspects common to industrial CNC machines but rarely used on typical industrial 3-D printing equipment. It was part of Wesenick’s answer to the question of, “How can we do this better?”

“I looked at the other options in the industry and believed I could put together a package better than all of them,” he said. “I believe we have specifications that meet or exceed all of them.”

That included creating 3-D printers with better components (for accuracy and reliability), better design (for rigidity and speed) and better software (for functionality and connectivity). A key differentiator: coming at the challenge from a machine-tool background.

“Many printer companies were started by software personnel and the mechanics of their machines aren’t very solid,” he said. “We come at it from a machine tool standpoint and create a solid machine with industrial components, a relatively low entry price point compared to others and use of open-source materials.”

Compound Dynamics advertises three variations of 3-D printing machines right now, but custom builds are also always an option. One of the most popular 3-D printers is a combination machine (pellet and filament), the RMC-30X 3-D printer nominated in the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest. It “As far as I know, there’s only one other manufacturer that does that,” he said. The printer is considered the most flexible printer in additive manufacturing.

Compound Dynamics fulfills Wesenick’s desire to be a niche machine manufacturer with printers in the large-format print category at a starting price of just shy of $100,000 and costing upwards of $200,000.

“Remember, that this is not a consumer-model product; it’s not something someone is putting in their basement,” Wesenick said. “A 3-D printer of this type can be used in any market with a need for full-size prototypes; we don’t have a single target market. We have interest from a lot of universities, which is to be expected since they’re an early adopter of technology. Manufacturing tooling and the casting industries are using this; they are probably one of the bigger segments.”

In normal times, appealing to various segments is a function of attending the trade shows that were cancelled in 2020. The company also contracts with a reseller and can appeal via its online presence. At the end of the day, he said that the industry itself is a pretty intimate one. “There’s really only a handful of companies and everybody knows everybody,” Wesenick said. “Leads come in from the industry that way, too.”

Opportune clients are companies that have a need for just the right application. Wesenick recognizes 3-D industrial printing isn’t going to replace high-volume manufacturing methods. In contrast, engineering prototypes is probably the number-one application. “Another ‘best’ is to use 3-D printing to produce something that can’t be produced through other methods,” he said. “We’re starting to print full-scale human body models that can be used for practicing surgery. They take actual information from an MRI to produce a model that’s so intricate, I don’t know how else you’d produce something like that.”

Compound Dynamics expected very rapid growth in 2020, having launched the company in mid-2018 and selling its first three machines by the end of 2019, only to have things slow down significantly. “These machines take about five months to produce, so we were very busy until mid-2020,” Wesenick said.

Compound Dynamics expected very rapid growth in 2020, having launched the company in mid-2018 and selling its first three machines by the end of 2019, only to have things slow down significantly. “These machines take about five months to produce, so we were very busy until mid-2020,” Wesenick said.

Looking further ahead into 2021, Wesenick is hopeful about attending trade shows such as the RAPID and TCT Conference and FABTECH2021. In the meantime, he and his team are staying up to date with the latest trends and changes in the industry. “It’s a very interesting industry, and I don’t think anyone can predict where it will be in 10 years.”

It’s a broad-based one as well, and while Wesenick’s career has taken him to manufacturing locations all over the United States and into China, Mexico and India, he says he wouldn’t have wanted to establish Compound Dynamics anywhere but in Central Wisconsin.

“The great thing about being in Wisconsin is the supplier and support network,” he said. “We have great employees and I can do as much local business as I can. I can get all my metal cut and bent in Merrill. I get finished components from a company in Schofield. My machining work is handled between Schofield and Abbottsford and my painting is done locally by several one-man machining shops. Wisconsin is fantastic for manufacturing; I don’t have to send anything and wait for weeks to get it back.”

Compound Dynamics also has great access to URL-certified electrical shops right in the Wausau area, something that isn’t true in most parts of the country.

“To have all those resources here in Central Wisconsin, well, I can’t put a price tag on that,” Wesenick said. “It makes so much more possible.”

In 2021, that includes work by the six-member team on a new machine that takes Compound Dynamics out of its one-cubic-meter business and into the quarter-cubic-meter market. Not only is the machine broad in terms of application because of its size but features high-temperature printing that allows for printing of high-end engineering materials, some of which are used in automotive engines, that need to have great heat resistance.

“It’s always exciting when you’re producing something for the first time,” he said. “We’re developing new models right now, some of which are growth out of existing products and some of which is entering new markets. The industry is growing so fast that it’s hard to know what direction it will go but large format is going to be [important]. The sky is the limit.”