Interview with Iain Mcleod: AI for CAD

Iain Mcleod is originally from Scotland and studied B.Eng. Computer Engineering and Electronics at Napier University Edinburgh. On graduating in 1994, he became a founder of a software company specializing in hardware simulation. He then moved to Denmark in 2004, joining 3Shape back in 2007 to develop 3D scanning and CAD software for the digital workflow in audiology. After completing an MBA at Copenhagen Business School in 2019, he got even closer to the world of 3D printing and material development by joining the 3D printer company Formlabs. Iain is now the CEO of H3D, a SaaS company that has developed a fully automated high-volume AI solution that removes the need to use CAD software in the digital dentistry workflow. Iain spoke at our recent Dental 3D Printing event.

When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?

Iain: Visiting a 3D printing lab in 2007 that was using a 3D Systems Viper. Was mesmerized by watching that laser dance over the surface of the resin.

What inspired you to start your journey in 3D printing (bio-fabrication/bio-printing)?

Iain: It improves patients’ lives by making medical applications more accessible – hearing aids in my initial case. And the future potential of scanning, CAD, and 3D printing in general.

Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)?

Am inspired by customers using the technology in their daily work life, and patients wearing the final product – I find that very fulfilling.

What motivates you the most for your work? 

Iain: Seeing the work you do used by people every day. It’s the best job satisfaction you can get.

What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions? 

Iain: There can sometimes be skepticism in the adoption of new technology for some users, such as switching from manual to digital production – this is understandable, so you just need to work through their concerns. These obstacles are less now that 3D printing is fairly established.

What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Iain: Removing the post-processing step for resin printers, especially with the use of IPA as this makes the workflow physically messy and also impractical in some situations

If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be? 

Iain: No need for CAD, no need for post-processing, and a “desktop printer” that doesn’t use up the whole desktop.

What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore? 

Iain: 3D printing is not just hardware and materials – software and integration with other parts of the digital workflow are just as important. 

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