This post was written by Carrie Segal.
As a maker and builder I was extremely excited to learn that the focus of start up weekend Santa Barbara was creating physical products. The Santa Barbara hacker space was present with their 3d printers, Arduino boards and various buttons/sensors, all available for attendees to use. A chance to develop ideas for the future of 3D printing is a rare opportunity, and something I had to take advantage of, so right away on Friday night I had to join the pitch line. The future of 3D printing is something I’m very excited about and the 60 second pitch was a great chance to talk about where I see 3D printing going.
3D printing is an infinite inventory. A skilled tradesman could combine a 3D printer along with a few other tools and common materials to build a variety of consumer products on demand. Maybe someday soon the next big seasonal toy will be something 3D printed on demand when consumers are looking for it.
Even more interesting, I heard other ideas for 3D printing technology and products. There were teams building personalized gifts (My Custom Cookie, Statue Studio) and teams building rapid prototypes of their electronics project (Touchstone). After the pitches I heard several other participants talking about 3D printing ideas. It seemed clear that no one really knows where 3D printing is going yet and it’s important for people to create and innovate as many ideas as possible for building startups around 3D printing. Good ideas are hard to come by for 3D printing is tough, but it’s a challenge I feel uniquely suited for because of my long time interests in small scale manufacturing and technology. Coming up with new ways to view the world is why I build projects like the Hemisphere Keyboard and the same approach applies to 3D printers. It is important to quickly experiment with the new technology.
One of the speakers for the judging night said:
“There is a thin line between visionary and delusional.”
When you are trying to generate ideas for 3D printing we must keep in mind that the technology is so new and underutilized the line between visionary and delusional is not yet drawn. This makes it really important to generate ideas for the future of 3D printing, and just try them out, see how people respond, and find the long term use for this exciting new technology. Startup Weekend is the perfect place for this kind of experimentation to take place.
Ultimately, I spent the event working with other makers to help people quickly realize their ideas, and playing with Arduino to control rainbow LED’s. The best part of the weekend was meeting people who are interested in working together long term on my pitch idea of a mobile maker wagon. After talking to different people, I realized that 3D printing is a technology many are really excited about and don’t yet know how it will change the world. Some days are for planning and other days are for building. At Santa Barbara Startup weekend there was a chance to do both.