Pasadena’s New Matter Donates 3D Printers to the Columbia Memorial Space Center

Published : Thursday, August 10, 2017 | 5:43 AM

MOD-t 3D Printer, Image from New Matter Website

Pasadena-based New Matter, makers of the MOD-t desktop 3D printer that provides the first and so far only affordable, fully integrated end-to-end consumer 3D printing experience, has donated five of its flagship 3D printers to the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey.

The new printers will immediately be integrated into the Center’s 3D printing summer camp and will be used to help teach the basic of 3D printing as well as 3D design and prototyping.

“Because this is a relationship between Challenger Center, New Matter and the Space Center, we’re going to be integrating them into our Challenger Center program,” said Ben Dickow, Executive Director at the CMSC. “As far as new stuff goes, the 3D printing class summer camp is a brand new thing that we’ve started; we’ll be doing more than that. Eventually, we do want to remake the first floor into a public makerspace, and we hope that there will be more than the five printers there for people to work on.”

Dickow and New Matter CEO Steve Schell announced their partnership recently at a press conference at the Space Center.

“We believe that 3D printing is a transformative way to bridge the divide between the digital and physical worlds,” Schell said. “Working together (with the Challenger Center), we can drive STEM learning programs in meaningful new ways.”

The donation is part of the initial phase of the new Challenger Center-New matter partnership.

The MOD-t printer creates objects using a thermoplastic base that is heated and dispensed through a precision nozzle. Successive layers of the material are laid down in different shapes according to the user’s software instructions, and built up vertically to create the product.

Surrounded by a plastic casing, the printer can take anywhere from 45 minutes to six hours to create a product. The plastic used to create an object costs around $2.

The 3D printers can be used in classrooms to create everything from replicas of artifacts to scaled-down versions of space shuttles. At home, the printers can be used to make many diverse creations including jewelry, containers and covers, and even replacement handles to the kitchen cabinet.

Serving as the national memorial to the Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew of STS-107, the center is both a space museum and hands-on learning center. The space shuttle broke apart as it returned to earth on February 1, 2003, killing all of its seven crew members.

Dickow said they’re still working on details on how the day to day operations of the printers will unfold; he said any museum guest should be able to come and use the printers “for the most part,” with some kind of timing control involved.

New Matter recently unveiled a new hand-held Quil 3D Printing Pen that can be used to decorate 3D-made creations or to simply make a 3D drawing.

For more information about New Matter, visit

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