MakersFactory co-founder Chris Yonge built a desktop 3D printer from a $600 kit to demonstrate the accessibility of open source hardware to the Meetup group of which he and Dave Britton are organizers. The MakerBot Cupcake, shipped as what Chris calls “a box of bits,” took him three days to build, and turns a computer generated 3D idea into reality. Once the object is designed using 3D software it’s transferred to the Cupcake’s software, you press “print,” and the device builds the object in layers by depositing melted plastic from a nozzle. So “print” has a whole new connotation. “It’s not just paper any more, it’s also objects,” says partner Dave Britton, a former Silicon Valley CEO.
Britton and Yonge believe that no-waste additive machines like the MakerBot Cupcake and learning centers like MakersFactory will help revive manufacturing in the U.S.
“We’re teaching people how to use these machines and enabling them to produce prototypes of physical products,” said Yonge. “If you go to NextSpace or Cruzio you’ll see people working independently, making a living as consultants, writing software, doing all kinds of things, but they’re not producing anything physical. Everything has to be virtual, everything has to be emailed. We’re now giving people the capability of starting a business as a designer and a manufacturer and making the articles locally—making articles which can be sold over the web or locally, with no need to go to China for production.”