After the first week of the fall semester, Aerospace Engineering student Brett Potter decided to have some fun. After buying a kit for a 3-D printer off the internet for $300, he spent an entire Saturday putting it together. Now a semester later, the sophomore from Team TESLA is working on a startup with a few friends, with the printer at the center.
Potter first gained experience with the up-and coming technology in high school, and thought it would be cool to get his own desktop model. Roommate and fellow Gemstone student Ben Tunick (Bioengineering, Team BASIC) soon took an interest in Potter’s creation, followed closely by their across-the-hall neighbor Sam Thomas (Criminology and Criminal Justice major). After Thomas mentioned the possibility of turning the printer into a business venture, the three sophomores realized it could be a great idea.
Once they embraced the opportunity, the trio soon began spreading the word and preparing to open for business. It wasn’t long before they branched out. Their startup, christened “Mindforge Design,” has an Xbox Kinect to scan objects and people into their computers, and can print bobble heads and small copies of said object from the scanned model. In addition to offering a line of small Maryland-themed products, Mindforge offers printing of custom designs, regardless of whether the client can make a model in CAD.
Since then, Mindforge Design opened for business and even turned a few heads. Late in the semester, the three entrepreneurs were accepted into the Startup Shell, an on-campus club aimed at guiding new startups and helping them succeed through collaboration and support. In addition, the group has been contacted by Route 1 Apparel. The two parties are currently negotiating the sale of a few 3D printed Maryland items through the popular retailer.
Keep a lookout for these guys going forward! Their website is http://www.MindforgeDesign.com/
-Ben Tunick: Team BASIC: Class of 2016