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HartSmart Products is providing 3D printing services to Iowans

After buying his own 3D printer, Brandon Hart quickly became completely immersed in the hobby of 3D printing. In 2015, he decided to start his own 3D printing business, HartSmart Products.

“I was running out of things to print and decided to jump on 3D printing hubs and take jobs for people,” Hart said. That started going really well and eventually, I decided to start my own business. From there, it sort of evolved into a whole lot more than just contract 3D printing.”

HartSmart Products is a design and prototyping firm based in Des Moines. Originally focused only on 3D printing and design services, the company has evolved to provide a wider array of prototyping capabilities and product development services.

“I sort of backed into the prototyping and design stuff,” Hart said. “I had a lot of customers who wanted contract 3D printing but when I asked them for the model they wanted me to print, they would start describing what it should look like which is not the same thing as actually having a model.”

“Working with inventors who have these ideas locked up in their head and being able to pull those out and make something they can hold in their hand has been really cool,” Hart added.

Offering more than 3D printing

In addition to providing design and prototyping services, HartSmart Products also offers exclusively eco-friendly 3D printing filaments.

“As I started trying to find options for eco-friendly materials, I discovered there just isn’t much out there,” Hart said. “So when I find a few options that work, I want other people to use that stuff too.

Hart also leads the Des Moines 3D printing meetup every month and has a youtube channel called ECOstruder where he shares new 3D printing techniques and best practices to reduce your impact on the environment while 3D printing.

“Eventually, I want to support the community that’s interested in 3D printing in more ways than just printing stuff out for them,” Hart said. “I’d like to do more community outreach and educational classes. Basically be the center for everything 3D printing in Des Moines and Iowa.”

HartSmart Products is providing 3D printing services to Iowans | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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