Startup credits the support of Invent Penn State ecosystem
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Matt Woods built his first 3-D printer as an undergraduate in a Penn State dorm room with just $700 in materials.
“I was enamored with the idea of a 3-D printer,” says Woods, who was introduced to the concept as a mechanical engineering undergraduate at Penn State Berks. 3-D printers can produce complex metal or plastic objects in small batches, allowing for quick experimentation with new products and prototypes.
Woods transferred to the University Park campus as a junior, where he joined the Lunar Lion project and led 3-D printing of rocket components. “I had phenomenal experiences as an undergrad, getting access to University resources to print rockets with advanced alloys. It only led me to more,” says Woods.
He later completed internships at SpaceX in California, and at Penn State’s CIMP-3D, a world-class additive manufacturing research facility, before earning his degree from the College of Engineering. That deep experience led him to identify a marketplace need: Most high-performing 3-D printers are prohibitively expensive for smaller companies and research facilities to purchase. With experimentation, Woods developed a unique variation on existing metal-printing technology. His new approach reduced costs without sacrificing precision or quality.
Today, Woods is the chief technology officer of Xact Metal, a startup that has recently introduced the XM200, its first 3-D printer. The XM200 will be the first in a family of printers that share Woods’ patent-pending process.