TechShop Bankrupt, Maker Community mourns by taking action

It’s taken us some time to process the magnitude and impact of the recent news that TechShop declared chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Many of the fabricators in our network leveraged the tools provided by the TechShop to conduct much of our clients’s fabrication work.  Those users productivity all has since stopped, delayed expected delivery dates for project work and has pushed that fabrication demand originally supplied by TechShop members onto our You3Dit independent laser, CNC machine and 3D Printer owner / operators.   We’ve scrambled a bit internally to reroute the fabrication of several jobs and are back on track for the short term  (HUGE THANKS to our You3Dit fabricators who stepped up).  We want to help others do the same.

However as of this writing, TechShop is still bankrupt, closed an leaving many people stranded who need help with getting access to machines.  We have to figure out what we’re going to do next to solve the long-term issues created by the absence of the TechShop ecosystem and answer the questions:   What are we going to do in the immediate-term to help people suffering from the TechShop closure?  Short term?  and long term?

Currently, our You3Dit local fabricators can only do so much to fill in the gaping hole the TechShop closing has put into our Maker community heart.  This has especially hurt the small-business owners and other independent contractors who’s livelihood was depended on the existence of TechShop.  Much of the value they put into their products is the craftsmanship stemming from a deep knowledge of how to use the TechShop tools and ecosystem which has imploded.  The way the bankruptcy was handled seems to have left a lot of people in the dark causing real suffering and panic about how these businesses are going to recover in both in the immediate, short and long term.  Many of these TechShop members own tools and materials (worth thousands of dollars) were stored at TechShops and are now locked up waiting for some response from our court system about next steps (updates on this can be found below).  There are many valid reasons to be majorly upset, angry and frustrated at the current situation.

Suffering makers, business owners and all others painfully impacted by the TechShop closure: we hear you and we want to help.  You’re not in this fight alone.

Let this blog post be a start to our effort at You3Dit to help these stranded businesses, independent contractors and all others get back on their feet and with access to the tools they desperately need.  This is no doubt going to be difficult, but as Makers we’re innately poised to solve this major challenge and there is reason to be hopeful.

Reasons to be hopeful:  Makers are builders and consequently, re-builders.  The Maker community is vibrant and is eager to get this problem resolved.  Many people are already jumping in to help.

As makers, we’re used to breaking things, figuring out why they broke and re-designing the solution to prevent future failures.   We used to do this daily at one of many TechShop locations.  Now that is much more difficult.  But there’s hope…We used to say that You3Dit is “TechShop in the cloud”.  You3Dit has 3D designers and fabricators in over 34 countries today who can likely help impacted TechShop members build and re-build an alternative production infrastructure that can help them get their work completed for the holidays.

IMMEDIATE EFFORTS AND WAYS YOU CAN HELP:

Here are some ways You3Dit is committed to start helping immediately:

  1. Provide you paid You3Dit 3D design work which you can reinvest into outsourced fabrication and production.  This work can be found here: https://beta.you3dit.com
  2. Offer our You3Dit fabrication services and for a limited time, re-invest a portion of the proceeds on affected TechShop member projects back into the purchase of new machines for your business:  3D Printers, Laser Cutters, CNC machines, etc.  By aggregating our purchases together, we should be able to negotiate bulk pricing deals.
  3. Helping you onboard your design skills and fabrication resources to people who need help, allowing you to easily quote their work.
  4. Open to other ideas…let us know what kind of help you need or what type of help you can offer:  http://bit.ly/helpTechShopMembers

The following people and businesses have already offered support and leadership directly to TechShop impacted parties:

  1. Marc Roth – CEO of Abricate – facilitating discussions on LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack and elsewhere.
  2. Circuit Launch – Is offering two months free membership to former TechShop members.
  3. Inventables, FormLabs, LittleBits and Inventables have offered some nice discounts for TechShop members who were impacted.
  4. You3Dit – Design resources.  Fabrication resources.  Limited-time partial reimbursement of service fees for purchase of tools to get impacted members back on their feet.  See above
  5. You3Dit Machine Map –  to see machines in your area (some may sadly be TechShop machines)
you3dit-map-11-2017

You3Dit machine map as of November 2017: https://www.you3dit.com/map

Do you know someone or a business that should be added to this list?  Please let us know:

http://bit.ly/helpTechShopMembers

Contribute to Online and Offline Conversations:

  1. Caleb Kraft from Make Magazine has contributed this major list of hackerspaces and makerspaces nationwide.
  2. Reddit Forums – there are many.  This one talks about some of the issues of why this may have all happened and some offer very detailed points
  3. Join the SF Bay Area Makers & Hackers Slack Channel
  4. Join the TechShop Orphans Facebook group – requires admin approval
  5. Thanks to Jim S. and his colleagues, here’s the Hacker Dojo TechShop Townhall meeting minutes from the Hacker Dojo meetup that happened November 20th, 2017.  Lots of important data, information and resources for California TechShop members / orphans.

Have others?  let us know:  http://bit.ly/helpTechShopMembers

SHORT-TERM EFFORTS AND WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Keep the discussion going – the TechShop used to be the meet up location for many Makers (speaking for myself in the SF Bay Area).  We need to find alternative places to get in sync and make progress on rebuilding the Maker ecosystem.  Please inform as many people as you can using the above discussion points, forums and Slack channels to coordinate your efforts so we can all stay involved as much as we can be.

Facilitate Meet Ups – for those of you who have venues or makerspaces that can host orphaned Makers, please let us know.  You can add your resources to the above help TechShop Members Google Form or e-mail me: chris@you3dit.com  Would be eager to co-host something in December 2017 to keep the discussion and access to resources increasing.  I’d recommend a meet up 1x/month until things get back on their feet is probably the right cadence.  There are folks who are coordinating as we speak in the Facebook group.

LONGER-TERM EFFORTS – TO BE DETERMINED

Despite the closure of TechShop nationwide, there exists a vibrant, active and AMAZING maker community that TechShop helped grow.  We need to find a way to keep it alive and thriving.  While the dust settles, it will be come clearer what the long-term solution(s) can and should be.  For ideas and thoughts on how to

At the TechShop, we’ve met many incredible people, made meaningful and lasting friendships and helped so many people build their dreams, but that can’t stop in 2017 because we had a makerspace closure.  There still millions of people who are still in pursuit of their dreams.  Let’s do whatever we can to make the most out of this major maker challenge.

Thanks in advance to everyone who is willing to help.  May the Maker Community come out of this crisis stronger, with new friendships and more resilient than ever.

Sincerely,

Chris D. McCoy

chris@you3dit.com

 

Autodesk TechWomen 2016

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Last Friday, September 16th, we had the privilege to meet and share our passion for 3D printing with approximately 100x TechWomen leaders in the Autodesk Gallery at One Market Place in San Francisco.

The TechWomen program is organized by the Institute of International Education (IIE)–the same governmental group that is responsible for the Fulbright Scholarship and other programs that embrace their mission “to advance international education and access to education worldwide.”

Each year Autodesk hosts these women for an entire day and provides mentorship along with exposure to design, leadership and product-oriented workshops.  Autodesk is one of their first stops during their 6 week Silicon Valley trip and these women spend the entire day learning about topics like leadership to product design.

You3Dit for the second year has participated with Autodesk and works with their top-employees to help facilitate these workshops–illustrating the power and capability of 3D printing to transform manufacturing with a talk co-founder & CEO Chris McCoy gives entitled “iManufacture” (Download the PDF of the iManufacture talk from TechWomen 2016 here).

Lori Chen–You3Dit’s co-founder and COO–also took the opportunity to learn a bit more about Autodesk Fusion360 from our co-presenters Ryan Arnaudin and Taylor Stein from Autodesk.  These TechWomen leaders learned how to quickly design an airplane using T-splines and then a bottle cap using more traditional parametric modeling.  They both elegantly showed how easy it was to get started with Autodesk Fusion360.

 

Above: the T-splined airplanes generated by these women were then (upon request) 3D printed during the networking session in the Autodesk Gallery.

“It was pretty amazing what the women were able to CAD up in such a short amount of time…” said Chris D. McCoy.  “This is a testament to [Fusion360] and the ‘ease of access’ of the software and their product evangelists, Ryan and Taylor.”  Autodesk gives away the Fusion360 licenses for free, for educators, makers and entrepreneurs, per the request of their CEO, Carl Bass.

In a post-event reflection, Chris stated that “the cultural differences between U.S. citizens and these women leaders from the Middle East highlight the opportunities for collaboration…in both directions…and it’s amazing that we can find mutual connection through technology…in this case 3D printing and 3D design.  What [Americans] see as ‘problems’ are so relative sometimes when compared to challenges found in other developing nations.”

You3Dit strongly believes that our global network and community could help people find solutions to problems in their regions.  Having designers and fabricators in over 30 countries, solutions can be crowdsourced globally and then fabricated locally.  Now that these TechWomen leaders know what’s possible, they can begin to support these capabilities back at home.

Any TechWomen 2016 leader who reads this and wants to get their airplane or bottle cap 3D printed, reach out to support@you3dit.com and we can help you get your Fusion360 parts fabricated!

HUGE THANKS and shout outs to Ms. Bobbie Casey from Autodesk Foundation, Mr. Ryan Arnaudin and Taylor Stein for making this event possible! Also big thanks to our SFmototype BotFarm for printing out Lumka’s Fusion360 design file!

 

SFmototype – an all-new retail experience for motorcycle enthusiasts

It all started back in June 2016 with a “hey, what if we did this…”

Now, we’re giving away motorcycles, 3D printers, CAD software licenses and more to those who enter to win and participate in what we’re calling “SF Mototype”.

Why?  Because we believe everyone has untapped creativity that can be unleashed through Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing.

sfmototypelogo

On September 10th, we’ll kickoff this all-new retail experience where for 45 days, anyone can become their own motorcycle part / component creator.  Yes…anyone.

At the end of these 45 days, panels of experts will evaluate each submission and prizes* will be awarded to concepts, designs and fabrications which really engender the spirit of this event: anyone should be able to create and build their own motorcycle parts and components…a.k.a. mototypes.

You3Dit and SF Moto have teamed up with a number of industry collaborators to enable people to Make Anything, Anywhere (see partners / sponsors below).

HERE’S HOW THE PROCESS WORKS:

1. You have an idea for a motorcycle part / component / adapter / etc.  Sketch it out on paper, describe it and then, snap a photo and upload to Twitter or Instagram and tag #SFMototype.  Share, retweet, etc. to get folks jazzed up about your motorcycle concept.

2. You will be then be contacted by us–You3Dit.com–via social media…who will turn your sketch into a 3D design file using our network of designers and fabricators.  (See animations and videos of process below.  *Design & fabrication fees may apply).

3. Come to SF Moto in San Francisco to watch 3D printers in action and pick up your print!  Not in the SF area?  No problem…we can help find a 3D printer local to you (shipping costs may apply).

Join us on September 10th at SF Moto to hear all about 3D printing and how it relates to the motorcycle world! Representatives from both worlds will be there to answer questions and talk about this exclusive opportunity!  Our education- and motorcycle- expert panelists will be announced in the coming weeks!

Lunch will be provided for participants as well as special pricing on select motorcycles!

Know someone who might be stoked on this event?  Please please please share this article with them so they have a chance to participate and win!

Want the latest updates?  Follow us and the event:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sfmototype (@sfmototype)

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sfmototype (@sfmototype)

Many many thanks to our Partners / Sponsors for contributing to this event and helping to make it all possible:

Check out our ad that launches today via City Bike:

sfmototypead

Watch a short animation on how the You3Dit Process all works here:

(still don’t believe it, here’s another short video transforming a sketch into a solid object)

*Contest rules and entry details vary per entrant and per prize.  E-mail support@you3dit.com for details.

Mini review of the Printrbot Simple Metal – in short – IT’S AWESOME

I definitely made one of the better 3D printing purchases of my life buying a Printrbot Simple Metal for $599 assembled.  From the first day I received it, it was solid and started printing without flaws.  I’m going to give my opinion here first, but I’d also recommend reading the Make Magazine Review by Nick Parks.  He knows his stuff and I value his opinion in the 3D printing world.

With regard to my slicing setup, here’s what I’m running:

  1. Repetier – 0.95F (link to downloads page)
  2. Slic3r engine
  3. With the recommended print settings from the Printrbot Forum (see article)
  4. Octopi 3D print server (link to Octoprint.org)

What I love about this little machine:

  1. Super Reliable – Since I’ve bought it, I have yet to have a failed print – seriously.  Maybe that is because I’ve gotten pretty used to Repetier and and how to set these things up, but out of the gate, it just seems to be working flawlessly.
  2. Large build volume for price – Although I haven’t needed the full 6″ cubed, I know it can do it and I’ve printed iPhone cases and flat surfaces which sometimes pose delamination challenges from the build plate.  This machine seems to handle these larger prints with ease and for approximately US$0.18/cm3, it is a good value (Makerbot is US$0.44/cm3 and the Ultimaker 2 is US$0.26/cm3 for comparison)
  3. New z-height leveling switch – No more mechanical switch and fussing with long screws to calibrate the z-height.  The new Printrbot Simple Metal has a ultrasonic sensor that measures the distance of the nozzle to the build plate repeatedly and consistently.
  4. New filament feeding mechanism – I believe this new mechanism has a fancy name (which is currently skipping me at the moment) but it makes swapping filaments a breeze.

This is the printer I’m recommending to all my colleagues who are on the fence about buying a 3D printer because for the cost of 1 iPhone out of contract, you can have a machine which creates physical objects.

Where this little bot could be improved

  1. The USB connector to the computer – while this may not be a big deal to anyone else, I really hate these USB 2.0 charger ports.  First day I had my Printrbot Simple Metal (PBSM), I tried to move the bot from my desk to my kitchen counter and stepped on the USB cable which then pulled, cringingly downward on the Printrbot motherboard.  Thankfully, no damage seems present to the Bot but the USB connector has no resistance / snap feeling when plugging in the USB connection.  I know it’s bulky, but maybe this could be replaced with the larger, Arduino- or regular Printer-style USB that has a little bit more meat and can’t be bent so easily.
  2. Handle + other common printing accessories included – I found out at the Maker Faire that they were just building a handle for this little bot.  I’m always bummed when I order something to find out there was a new / cool accessory that wasn’t shipped with my new machine.  When I buy, I want all the bells and whistles included.  For example, When I pulled the machine out of the box, I didn’t have any blue masking tape and thus had to use some crappy piece of cardstock with scotch tape (which didn’t work) and I received it AT work so a ton of my colleagues were looking at it with awe.  If only I could have had the infamous blue tape to get the Bot running as designed.  This also happened to me with the Shapeoko 2 I just purchased from Inventables.  Why don’t they include the wood blocks to hold the test Sharpie marker and then the aftermarket clamping kit?   Who doesn’t want the clamping kit?
  3. Some form of heating in the build platform – I am noticing a bit more warping in the metal plate…likely due to the fact that the heat is quickly conducting away from the hot, molten plastic and causing a thermal differential which in turn causes a differential thermal expansion problem (read more about thermal expansion at Wikipedia.org).

That’s it.  No real complaints at all.  The little machine runs like a boss and I’ll likely buy another one once I get my other Printrbot Simple fixed.  I just love what Brook Drumm and his team are making up there in Sacramento.  Highly recommend this machine!

Feel free to e-mail me with questions at chris at you3dit dot com

We’re alive…and we’re excited!

Hello You3Dit and 3D printing fans!

While it may seem like You3Dit died online, I can tell you personally that we’re more alive than ever and are very excited about what is in store for 2014.

We’re most excited about you–the community–which continues to grow!  Today we have 3D printers in over 14 different countries and designers in over 20.  Each and every one of you has an interesting reason for getting involved and we look forward to engaging you much more in the future.  Here’s what’s on deck for You3Dit:

  1. An all new websitewebsite-demo-image beginning Summer 2014 we will have an all new website that will better allow you to manage your jobs, post your incredible work and promote your skills.
  2. New business coming your way – although we cannot say exactly how, there will be business flowing your way via several targeted means at encouraging people to start personalizing, fixing and prototyping their ideas.
  3. We’re hiring! – Given the overwhelming customer interest and design work requested, we are looking to build a team of the best and most talented individuals in the maker community.  Do you believe you have what it takes to help build a global business from the ground up?  ¿Hablas español?  Let us know!  E-mail us at info@you3dit.com with your résumé if you have ideas about how we can make You3Dit the best maker community on Earth!
  4. You3Dit Logo Design CompetitionYou3Dit logo – if you haven’t already received an e-mail, we’re throwing a competition to see who can make the most creative and most 3D printable design for our You3Dit logo.  Entries need to be submitted before April 1, 2014.  Don’t have a 3D printer?  You know how to submit your design for 3D printing using our service.  Just let us know it’s for our competition.  If you have any questions, mail them to info@you3dit.com

That’s it for the moment.  Please DO keep checking back in, following us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and thanks for being part of our online community committed to helping bring people’s ideas to life.  What are you waiting for?  Make anything, anywhere!

Co-founder Chris McCoy serves as part of an elite team of 3D printer experts!

Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout

“It was such an amazing experience being surrounded by so many 3D printing experts” said Chris McCoy in an interview after the shootout.  Chris–one of the co-founders for You3Dit, a web-based community based largely on 3D printing–estimated that he printed for roughly 36 consecutive hours that weekend (minus 6 hours fort sleeping and the drive to Sebastapol, CA for two days).  He had the opportunity to personally test over 7 different 3D printers and witness the glory and failure of many of the common notables in the annual Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout.

In one solid weekend, the team was tasked to evaluate the 22 or so latest 3D printers and comment on some key 3D printer questions: who are they good for? What are the printers’s strengths and weaknesses and what would be the “Pro User” configurations for each machine.

The Make Magazine hit shelves on November 12th and You3Dit was so thankful to Make Magazine for providing the opportunity to participate in the event.  “Consumers in this space rely heavily on the opinion of Make Magazine for purchase decisions like this…” said Chris.   “Everyone on their staff is constantly thinking about their readers and how can they help them buy the right technology…in this case a 3D printer and their peripherals.”

Make Magazine is a publication that predominantly features technology-based articles on “How to make (fill in the blank)” and typically provides detailed instructions.  They also discuss the latest and greatest in garage-style hacking hardware / software and in general, promote learning via the making / hands-on process.

Chris had the privilege to test the all-new Type-A Machines 2014 Series 1 machine which boasts some very cool new features.  So which printer should you buy?  Go download or order your print copy of the Make Magazine 2014 3D Printer Shootout here and get all the details on which printer is right for you.

And when you buy your printer, don’t forget to register it on You3Dit 🙂