By Audrey Dutton
The Idaho Statesman.
Lynn Hoffmann and husband Brian Hoffmann opened Intermountain 3D Inc. in December. Lynn Hoffmann retired two years ago from leading the Idaho Nonprofit Center, after having worked in marketing and business management for Hewlett-Packard. Brian Hoffmann worked in 2-D printing for HP. They decided to finance the business themselves.
“I never thought I’d go back into the for-profit world, to tell you the truth, but this business with my husband is a great adventure I couldn’t pass by,” she says.
The business sells new 3-D printing equipment from 3D Systems Inc., and it provides rapid prototyping services for customers who need 3-D-printed parts.
This kind of 3-D printing isn’t for doodads and paperweights, though. The printers at Intermountain 3D are capable of serving the needs of engineers, product developers, industrial designers and manufacturers, using specialized print files.
If the Hoffmanns’ business can’t fulfill an order, it taps into a network of peers across the country.
Locally, they’ve developed an affiliation with Boise State University’s TechHelp, a collaboration between Idaho’s three state universities aimed at advancing Idaho’s manufacturing sector. TechHelp has committed to buying a multi-jet 3-D printer and locating it in Intermountain 3D’s offices, Lynn Hoffmann says.
Q: How much did you have to invest to open this high-tech business?
A: We purchased three commercial 3-D printers and associated digital workflow products to operate our service bureau, and we equipped our office with production and post-processing areas. The printers range in price from $5,000 to $250,000. Because our business serves Idaho as well as the Intermountain West, we have invested in a robust website, including an online quoting tool to provide instant quotes for parts production and an online store for equipment and consumable sales.
Q: When do you expect to turn a profit?