Nick Katsoulis, owner of GiMp3D, and several drone canopies.
GiMp3D is a Texas-based premium 3D printing design and services shop that designs, prints, and sells custom 3D printed components for drone racing. They use 3D printing and Palette+ to create low-volume production runs of custom, multi-color drone canopies made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane, a flexible filament). Read the story below about how Nick Katsoulis started GiMp3D.
Status Quo & Challenges
GiMp3D started making models in multiple colors before owning a Palette+. They made multi-color models by manually pausing prints, unloading filament, and then feeding in a new color. This process was cumbersome and was limited to layered color changes.
Why did you get a Palette+?
“For me it was the manual effort. In my day job—Nick describes himself as an IT/systems admin person—I try to reduce manual effort as much as possible. I look to automate anything I can. When I saw the unit [Palette+] and saw that I could do different colors on different layers, and that I could program Simplify3D to do the layers as I wanted, I just bought a Palette+. Now as far as multiple colors in the same layer, that’s what really brought me to it. A lot of people came to me saying: ‘racing stripes would be super cool. Can you do that?’
“In drone racing, everyone wants to customize their parts; everyone wants their own color. I have all of their colors, and people can choose these pretty easily from my website [http://GiMp3D.com].
“I bought a second Palette+ because when I started selling multi-color prints, they were very popular… people want customized stuff.”
GiMp3D’s Nick Katsoulis at one of his print desks, using one of his Palette+ units.
We asked Nick more about how he got into drone racing:
“I was really interested in helicopters and things like that. But even though I have a pretty decent day job, helicopters are really expensive. I started watching an ESPN drone racing league and they’re similar to helicopters—so I got interested in that. I got into some local Facebook groups here [in Fort Worth, Texas]. Spent more time learning about it. I spent 2 months hanging out with guys from the local [drone racing] chapters. Kind of just started getting into drones. I bought my first drone parts from a friend. He had a 3D printer and was selling me parts that he printed. I bought a Duplicator i3 for $250. Started with that in 2016. Now I have 7 FlashForge printers, my old Duplicator i3, I just bought a CR-10, and I have my 2 Palettes. I try and use my stuff to sponsor and help out local chapters of MultiGP [a drone racing league with 22,000+ members and 600+ chapters]. We have a group here and I try to help out.”
How do you come up with your designs?
"I work with Emiel, a talented designer—he does the pod designs. He owns Q Frames [Instagram: @q_frames]. He designs his own pods—he has designed a few of the pods for drone frame manufacturers like Xhover—they do a lot of ready-to-fly drones for x-racing. Emiel has done all my multi-color designs. I told him I had the Palette+ and told him we can make some cool designs with it. He was really excited when we made the first one."
An assortment of GiMp3D drone canopies, designed by Emiel Pijnenburg (Q Frames) for GiMp3D.