Matterhackers—a company created by Cal Poly graduates Michael Hulse and Kevin Pope, along with former Reflexive Entertainment CEO Lars Brubaker— provides 3-D printing services. MatterHackers/Courtesy Photo

Lauren Piraro
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3-D printing has become a fad in technology, and Cal Poly graduates Michael Hulse and Kevin Pope, along with former Reflexive Entertainment CEO Lars Brubaker, have joined in on the trend.

The three entrepreneurs started an Orange County-based 3-D printing company in 2012 called Matterhackers.

Power to the people

According to Pope — one of the Matterhackers co-founders — 3-D printers have started to become more available to run-of-the-mill consumers.

“3-D printing is kind of an old technology that is becoming more consumer-available,” Pope said.

Pope and company have gone from being the underdogs in the 3-D printing world to the creative forces pushing the technology industry forward.

“We work with people all the time that are prototyping ideas that are creating some really cool stuff,” Pope said. “Our software is open and available for anyone and is completely free.”

Not having the luxury of a software or computer science background, Pope flourished in this business venture with the fact that the 3-D printing field was “an intersection of what we were passionate about and what we were good at.”

3-D printing in academia 

Cal Poly graphic communication department chair Kenneth Macro was persuaded into the 3-D printing fad.

“I would have parents of prospective students that will come through and say, ‘Hey, are you into this 3-D printing thing?’ because it’s trendy now,” Macro said.

In response, Macro purchased a MakerBot Replicator 2 — a 3-D printer — for the department’s use. It now sits in Cal Poly’s University Graphic Systems (building 26, room 212A).

Macro said he has been seeing a lot of printing facilities such as Kinkos buying 3-D printers for prototype services — using a printer to create a prototype of the end product.

The 3-D printer Macro purchased will be the department’s newest addition to their specialty printing lab, and it will primarily be used for prototyping services provided by UGS.

“We do a lot with printing technology, most specifically ink jet printing technology, and (3-D printing) just goes hand-in-hand,” Macro said.

Correction: A previous version of this post stated Lars Brubaker was a Cal Poly graduate. It has been changed to indicate he isn’t. 

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