The Student Who Made His Own 3D Braces Has Something to Smile About: A Great Job

Amos Dudley became an internet sensation for making his own braces. And out of that he got what he wanted most: a great job.

Amos Dudley took the Internet by storm when he used a 3D printer to make his own braces and straighten his once crooked teeth -- all for just $60. He documented his project on his blog, where he posted before and after photos of his teeth.

NJIT posted a story about Dudley, which a national reporter read. She also saw Dudley’s blog. In turn, she did a feature about him for CNN.com, after which his story went viral; hundreds of publications, both here and abroad, wrote about him. Though pleased with the attention, Dudley, a senior who majors in digital design, refused overtures from orthodontists and entrepreneurs to commercialize his braces. He also refused to do some interviews.

But then he received an offer he couldn’t refuse: Formlabs, a Somerville, Massachusetts-based company that designs and manufactures 3D printers, offered him a job.

Soon after he graduates from NJIT on May 17, Dudley will move to Boston and begin working as an appication engineer for Formlabs, a startup that raised nearly $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign and created the so-called Form 1 3D printer.

Formlabs was founded by Max Lobovsky, Natan Linder, and David Cranor, three innovative techies who met at the MIT Media Lab while taking the How to Make (almost) Anything class.

Dudley’s Orthoprint post crossed the radar of Max Lobovsky, co-founder and CEO of Formlabs. Impressed by both Dudley's work and documentation, Lobovsky reached out and invited him in for interview. So on a Tuesday morning in March, Dudley took the train to Boston and spent the day interviewing with Lobovsky and the Formlabs team. A few weeks later, in early April, they contacted him and said they wanted him to join their product team. He happily accepted. It was a perfect match: an innovative student and a company known for innovation.  

"Amos's work pushes the limits of 3D printing applications," said Lobovsky. "That kind of inventiveness is exactly what our customers hope to achieve with our products."

Dudley is thrilled to have a great job with a leading company. The outcome of his 3D braces project, he says, could not have worked out any better for him.

“Formlabs is a great company,” says Dudley, “and this is biggest and best thing that ever could have happened to me.”

By Robert Florida (robert.florida@njit.edu)