Ryan Dunn of Mantis Composites — The Future of Materials, Step Changes, and Carbon Fiber

What we're really trying to accomplish is, providing another tool for one of these step changes. Something where we go from an expensive & manual process to one that's highly automated to enable the next generation of machines.

In this episode, we talk with Ryan Dunn the CEO of Mantis Composites.

Mantis Composites has developed a 5-axis, 3D printer for carbon fiber parts. In the development of this technology, they're helping usher in the next step change in materials innovation. Innovation that will enable the technologies of tomorrow to be built more efficiently and affordably — technologies like rockets, satellites, hyper-cars, and planes.

In this episode, we talk about the step changes throughout history; Ryan's most anticipated technologies and their implications; and the role that government can play in helping foster the development of these frontier technologies.



  • Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re trying to build at Mantis Composites? [00:32]
  • What might that step change look like? What are the things that we’ll be able to build in the future? [02:00]
  • What you guys are doing is making certain components of certain technologies, to bring the cost down so normal civilians are able to use those things, right? [04:10]
  • What are those next generation machines that get you the most excited? [06:31]
  • What does that world look like when we have supersonic flight? Is it just that people get to travel faster? [10:45]
  • When you think about the category of traveler who is making those transatlantic or transpacific flights, generally the business people who are sitting on those planes they’re doing high leverage work. [12:49] 
  • Can you explain what is so great about carbon fiber? [13:44]
  • What was that moment where it went from carbon fiber is a theoretical thing to real life application? [16:31]
  • If the shift happened 50 years ago, why is the technology that you guys are creating just now starting to come about? [17:55]
  • Can you tell me about some of the parts that you guys have replaced and some of the applications of the technology you are creating? [20:23]
  • Can you talk about any of the work you’re doing now? What sort of companies are you working with? [22:55]
  • If you’re working with most of the big players, there may be some conflicts of interest if you’re working with different governmental organizations. Has that been a challenge for you guys? [24:45]
  • Would new technology that falls under the defense category be classified as something that should stay within the country it was created in? [29:39]
  • What does the investment space look like for some of these forefront technologies? [32:38]
  • How are you thinking about the timeline (next 5 to 10 years) when most people are fleeing to the quicker wins? [36:14]
  • How do you think about the arc taking a while? Is thinking 10, 20, 30 years out something inherent to you? [37:28]
  • What is that long term vision that inspired this for you? What was that future you envisioned? [39:41]

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