Haley Stump is a new mom, photographer, and the 3D Coordinator at NOA Brands, based in Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado with a BA in Photography in 2014 and has a passion for all things creative. Haley has grown from an intern in the photography studio to being a go-to person for anything 3D at her company. NOA Brands is the world’s largest and most innovative producer of mannequins and other retail merchandising products. Haley has helped develop and refine a digital workflow for producing mannequins, larger-than-life props, and furniture for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, including the likes of Nike, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods. NOA Brands competes in a fast-paced, very demanding sector where 3D printing has helped greatly increase product design capabilities and efficiency.
This digital workflow includes 3D Scanning existing products for digital archives or modifications, live model scanning, digital sculpting and ultimately, 3D printing. Under Haley’s guidance, NOA Brands has adopted several different 3D printing technologies for various project types.
Haley, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
I started with NOA Brands as an intern in the photography studio during college which turned into a job shortly after graduation. I then began to help our team with 3D scanning mannequins for archiving and digital projects such as miniatures for clients. Since then, our adoption of 3D printing technologies has grown immensely to include many machines of various sizes and types. I have managed our machine purchases, vendors, and machine operation to enable us to print anything from a small piece of hardware to an 8ft tall Lombardi Trophy.
Can you describe your very first experience with 3D Printing?
My very first experience with 3D printing was printing miniature mannequins on our 3D Systems machine. It was tricky given that they were very tiny and made of gypsum powder so I was extremely frustrated at how fragile they were. That was when I decided to research what else was out there and could better serve the kinds of things we were printing.
You are now the 3D Coordinator at NOA Brands. Can you let us know about NOA Brands’ business and why manufacturing technologies such as 3D Printing are being used by the company?
NOA Brands is the largest and most innovative mannequin manufacturer in the world which means we are often faced with some challenges from clients that require the latest technology and software to accomplish. For instance, a client may want to develop a highly realistic mannequin of an athlete which requires the latest 3D scanning equipment as well as the ability to print large scale models. Clients also love how 3D printing can help them easily iterate their design ideas and translate them into a physical object in much less time than traditional sculpting. 3D printing has been instrumental in some of our new capabilities such as larger than life props, lattice-work designs, or quick-turn prototypes.
How do you evaluate new 3D printers to be included in the digital workflow?
Evaluating printers for our use comes down to three main factors: cost, efficiency, and added capability. We use many different 3D printing processes depending on the application so I assess our current development pipeline and how we can save time and/or money with a new technology or process. With the help of outside vendors, we are also able to test new capabilities based on client asks or internal art direction before committing to machine purchases.
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
Simply adopting new technology into an industry that has been doing things a certain way for decades is a large achievement in my opinion. Change can be very hard and involves a lot of trial and error but I have been able to greatly increase our capabilities as a company through implementing 3D printing processes into our everyday development pipeline.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
One of my most fond memories of a 3D printing project was completing the 6ft tall high heel shoe for Bloomingdale’s. I was involved in the scanning of the desired shoe and the printing of the final design. It is such a cool feeling to see something like that in person once it is complete. It’s one thing to look at a file on the screen and know it is going to be larger-than-life but it is entirely different to stand next to it once it is all done.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in 3D Printing?
It is definitely difficult to be in this industry as a young woman. I am often overlooked at trade shows and events which can be very frustrating in addition to being doubted on my technical knowledge. I think this is something that is getting better as I am seeing more and more women in the industry but I would hope that some of the leading men in 3D printing would learn not to underestimate someone like myself.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
The sustainability initiatives happening in the 3D printing community are very impressive to me and such an important part of making our industry have a greater positive impact on the world. Seeing how much progress is being made in recycling and using recycled materials for 3D printing is very exciting!
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?
3D printing is so interesting because it is always changing and evolving. Since starting my work in 3D printing, the industry looks completely different today. I follow several 3D printing blogs and am constantly amazed how much innovation is happening so rapidly.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
I would love to see sustainability be more of a priority for our industry and be more widespread through some of the larger 3D printing companies. I am also very excited to see the Women in 3D Printing community grow as more women feel welcome into our industry.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
I think that if women who are currently in the industry are more vocal about their positions and accomplishments, other women will feel more welcome into the industry. Many women I have spoken with assume that this is a very male-dominated industry which is steadily becoming less and less true, we just need to keep putting ourselves out there!
Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)?
My Ultimaker 3 Extended
Favorite moment in your day job?
Coming in to a perfect print first thing in the morning.
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?
Maddie Guillory with Titan Robotics