December 22, 2017

Barre’s Filabot founder nets ‘Under 30’ award

Tyler McNaney, founder of Filabot, poses in his Barre plant that makes 3-D printing filament from recycled materials. Forbes Magazine chose McNaney as a young entrepreneur to keep an eye on. JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR / STAFF PHOTO

BARRE — Tyler McNaney, the 25-year-old founder of Barre-based Filabot, a company dedicated to advancing the science of plastic extrusion for the 3-D printing market, can scratch one item off his bucket list.

He has been included on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list in the manufacturing and industry category.

“It was amazing to receive the nomination a few months ago — it was on my bucket list. … I only hope it advances our mission. We strive to utilize the widest range of plastic, because we feel like plastic is an under-used resource and it’s not getting used to its fullest potential,” said McNaney, who grew up in Milton.

The Filabot was designed to reduce waste by recycling plastic. The machine takes plastic, such as water and soda bottles, and converts it into plastic filament for 3-D printers, enabling a sustainable system for additive manufacturing.

“We have two main types of users. One, recycling users — these are customers that use our systems to recycle plastic into the filament. The other is research-and-development laboratories and research facilities, who use our systems to make new polymers. Both users are creating filament for their application,” McNaney said. “Filament builds on layers — fused deposition modeling. It acts like a hot glue from a hot glue gun on an object, building layers.”

Filabot began as a startup in 2011. McNaney’s ideas became a reality through a Kickstarter campaign. Within the first month, he had filled his pledge and raised $10,000, which eventually grew to $32,000. He was on his way.

“I pre-sold 67 units and built the machines with the funds I raised through Kickstarter,” said McNaney, who developed his products in college.

During his time at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, McNaney couldn’t keep up with the growing need for his newly developed gadget. With one class left to fulfill, he decided to drop out and put himself “all in,” to Filabot.

“There was a huge opportunity within this company and I was afraid of missing it,” he said.

He started his company in Montpelier, but eventually moved to Barre, as it was more convenient to the Vermont Tech campus.

The Filabot can be found at universities across the nation, including Harvard, Yale and MIT. Companies include NASA, Toyota, Apple and Google, he said.

“We have over 3,000 systems out in the world,” McNaney said.

The company offers machines ranging from $650 to $9,500, as well as materials, parts and servicing. The company has six employees.

As a kid in Milton, McNaney recalls always building “stuff,” always taking things apart, always tinkering.

“I think that’s really where the idea came from; taking things apart and reusing it,” he said. “Also, as a kid and as an adult living in Vermont, a place where things are utilized. It’s a green economy and a green space here.”

The seventh-annual 30 Under 30 list features 600 of the best young entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders in the nation across 20 different industries, in categories that include the arts, music, consumer technology, food, health care and the law.

“This is the ultimate club — the people that will reinvent every field over the next century,” said Randall Lane, Forbes magazine editor, and creator of the Under 30 franchise, according to a news release.

According to, more than 15,000 online submissions were received for 600 slots.

The state had a role in McNaney winning the distinction.

“We reached out to all of our known economic development partners in the state to ask for nominees, and then sent our list to Forbes,” said Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development.

McNaney said his future plans are to grow and stay in Vermont.

“Vermont is an ideal place to start and grow a business. There are numerous technical-assistance providers and mentors that will help entrepreneurs. Additionally, there are lenders and investors who are interested in funding new ventures, and there are government contacts who are receptive, approachable, and available to help with financing and grants programs,” Goldstein said.


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