Our Story

What is Proto-pasta?  Can I eat it?

While our filament may resemble spaghetti, Proto-pasta is not actually pasta. The name is a combination of our company, ProtoPlant, and the pasta-like shape of filament. #donteatthepasta

Where is Proto-pasta made?

Proto-pasta is manufactured by ProtoPlant, a small professional engineering firm in Vancouver, Washington, USA founded by Dustin Cram.

Proto-pasta: Powered by ProtoPlant Extrusion Technology

Dustin Cram and team have an endless passion for designing, building, and tinkering.  What began as an exploration into creating extrusion machinery, resulted in the Kickstarting of 3 new materials for affordable FFF/FDM Style 3D Printers such as Lulzbot, Makerbot, Printrbot, Robo3D, SeeMeCnc, Type A Machines, Ultimaker, etc. Since Kickstarting Additive Manufacturing's First Carbon Fiber Composite Reinforced PLA, the Proto-pasta brand has evolved into an expanded palette of materials including Steel, Iron, High Temperature, and Conductive PLAs (with more to come).

Proto-pasta is powered by ProtoPlant's self-made industrial extrusion technology. It's what makes making Proto-pasta pastable (that's fun to say)!

Creating our own extruders is awesome for a couple reasons:  First, bragging rights.  Seriously, what other filament manufacturer can claim they make their own industrial-grade extruders?  Moreover, this gives us more control over what we can both process and the quality of the end result.  It's a huge freedom and scalable foundation (investors?).

We actually setup a production line at our local 2014 PDX (Portland) OMSI Mini Maker Faire.  Here is an informative blog by John Biehler who captured the Maker Faire experience, explaining well "How 3D Printing Filament is Made" on a previous Raspberry Pi powered version of our technology.

Proto-pasta: 3D Printer filament for makers, by makers

The Proto-pasta brand was born from a unique intersection of passion for making, access to technology, and growing online communities. With a mission to make 3D Printing more interesting and useful, through improved access to unique materials, we continue to innovate and extend our reach through partnering with new communities such as 3D Hubs.

Born on Kickstarter, we owe our success to the many communities of makers and 3D Printing enthusiast from around the world who believe in what we we are doing.  Little known fact, all of our test prints for our first crowdfunding were made on a 1970s end mill retrofitted with numerical control and an E3D hot end.  We mixed materials on a hot plate and did small test extrusions using our lathe. Yup, we've added some printers and purpose-built machinery since then, but doesn't get much more maker than that!!!

To our first customers and those who continue to support us, thank you!