Shaping an Obsession


A favorite media lament these days concerns the lack of high-school graduates prepared to go forth into design, engineering, or technology. That’s why we have seen so much push recently on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs for our schools. Industry is clamoring for suitable people wanting to work in a technology-rich environment, and unfortunately, too many students are coming out of high school either uninterested or ill-prepared to take on the challenge of a technology degree. The same could be said of arts programs. Budget cuts across many school districts have lead to drastic slashes in all types of arts teaching, from music to painting.

So, for many students, whose interest might lie in art or technology (or as we will see, a bit of both) they are on their own. Whether they succeed in bootstrapping themselves into their career of choice depends largely on industry support, parental support, and in the end, their own gumption.

We recently ran on a story about a young man who is charting his career without the help of the school system. He is doing it on his own with financial and moral support from his parents. Jamie Goldstein is charting his own way.

Since 2006, when he first saw a picture of that year’s Camaro concept car, Goldstein knew that he wanted to be a car designer, what he now calls his “obsession.”

That may sound like the pipe dreams of a 12-year-old kid, but in Goldstein’s case, it was a dream that wouldn’t let go. In 2009, at the age of 15, and with his dream school, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, in his sights, Goldstein set about working on his portfolio; a good portfolio improves your chances of getting into a prestigious design school. Most young designers start their portfolios with sketches, drawings, renderings, and the like. But in Goldstein’s case, his very first portfolio project was to be a 1/18-scale clay model of his own concept car.

The thing is, Goldstein had almost no art experience, no mentor, and oh yeah, no familiarity in sculpting or working with clay. He set out to do something that he had no idea if he could even pull off. But an obsession is an obsession, so as Goldstein explains “I had a picture in my head of what I wanted, so I grabbed the clay and just started doing it.”

After two months of “just doing it,” Goldstein had a 10-inch long scale model of a concept car inspired by the first and second generation Corvette Stingray.

By itself, that would have been a pretty impressive achievement. However, once the model was done, Goldstein had another problem. Permanence. Because he had neither the money nor the tools to handle the specialty clay used by automakers for car modeling, he had used a commercially available sculpting clay that didn’t have the permanence he needed. After all, the model needed to hang around at least three or four years, until Goldstein applied to design school, and then survive being handled by others for portfolio review. You don’t want your portfolio coming apart in someone’s hands. That’s when the young designer started his next phase of self-teaching: finding a way to turn his clay model into a more robust portfolio piece. Over the next six months Goldstein researched and learned to converse with vendors on technologies he had never heard. It probably surprised the heck out of the sales staff of several CNC, scanning, and rapid prototyping companies when this high-school sophomore called them for quotes.

If you ask Goldstein what he learned from the process of starting from a lump of clay (a material he had never touched before) and ending up with a finished prototype (using a technology he had never heard of before), a project that took him eight months from start to finish, you might expect him to talk about all the cool technologies he learned about: 3-D scanning, 3-D printing, reverse engineering tools, CAD, and so forth.

But, no.

“Patience,” says Goldstein. “I’m pretty much into instant gratification and so I learned a lot about patience.”

And where is Goldstein’s car now?

“Right now it is on my desk,” he says. “Sitting there and being awesome. But it will be part of my portfolio for design school.” Goldstein has yet to apply for college (the Art Center is typically entered as a graduate program) but will be taking his SATs soon.

Certainly, it thrills me to see teenagers like Goldstein chart their own destiny. There is no doubt in my mind that he will succeed in whatever direction he goes. But what about the other Goldstein’s out there—talented, potential art, technology, or design enthusiasts—who don’t have the type of support and confidence that Goldstein has?

We need more mentors. If the schools can’t take up the mantle of preparing and encouraging those who have a desire to excel in a field, then industry must. We need companies to keep their eyes open for teenagers like Goldstein and support them, to take them under their wing. By the way, Goldstein hinted that GKS gave him a pretty good discount on their services. And so they should. I applaud them for it.

Helping students is something that Quality Digest also feels strongly about. For our own part, we just brought on a self-motivated intern, Aly Fields, who advanced her employment opportunities by taking it upon herself to earn a Six Sigma Yellow Belt and is now working toward a Green Belt. We’re helping her along by making sure she gets a lot of exposure to industry experts and that they get exposed to her. She will be blogging her experiences for us. Read her first blog here.

There are a lot of bright young students out there who can succeed if given the support. Imagine if every company in the United States, big or small, helped just one student a year inch toward his or her goal. Wow.

Finding a Manufacturer vs. Licensing the Design


Finding a Manufacturer vs. Licensing the Design

To stock more product with a big distributor, a home-based jewelry designer wants to try contract manufacturing. Experts offer advice

By Karen E. Klein

I’m a home-based jewelry designer who submitted a ring design to HSN (HSNI). They were pleased with the design and want more quantity. How do I find—and work with—a manufacturer? —L.A., Mesquite, Tex.

It all depends on what quantity your distributor is requesting, say manufacturing experts. If you’ve been asked to provide 50 or 100 rings, consider becoming partners with one or two artisans who do handmade custom designs. Presumably you worked with a jeweler who made the prototype design you initially submitted. That person may be interested in working with you again if the numbers requested are manageable.

If, however, you’ve been asked to stock a large number—say 10,000 pieces—you’ll need to contract with a jewelry manufacturer, says Drew Casani, director of TMAC, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center. That may prove to be challenging, both to find a company that will work with a small designer and to come up with funding for the manufacturing, he says.

"The probability that a Zales or a Jostens will hook up with an individual home-based designer is small, and they won’t make large quantities unless they get some money up front," Casani says. "The problem is that you won’t be paid until the rings sell."

a range of potential solutions

Here are some alternatives you might pursue:

• License the design to a manufacturer that will take on the risk and up front cost of making the rings. The fact that you have a large, multichannel retailer willing to act as your distributor is an important selling point. TMAC or your local Small Business Development Center can help you find manufacturers that produce jewelry or other kinds of metal work and are interested in licensing original designs, Casani says. They can also help you determine what a typical licensing fee would be and make sure that you have a nondisclosure agreement for potential licensors to sign.

• Find a small or midsized manufacturer that has the capacity to handle your job and is willing to take a chance on a new product design. You might explore websites such as the International Innovation Network, which puts innovators together with manufacturers, investors, and distributors. Just make sure that you conduct due diligence on anyone you contact through such a site—or in any other manner. "Make sure that you get a manufacturer with an ISO (International Standards Organization) certification, which establishes their credibility," Casani says.

• Identify potential partners through traditional manufacturing databases, narrowing down your search based on the materials (silver, gold, platinum, and so forth) that you are using. Dan Luria of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center says: "We’ve found, though imperfect, to be vastly superior to any other single database for finding manufacturers." He turned up 60 companies listed in that database under the "rings: jewelry" category and says about 20 of them appear to make rings, as opposed to designing or distributing them.

Getting some help from advisers who have worked with small and home-based entrepreneurs will make your process much smoother. Casani of TMAC says that his agency has a program, "Supplier Scouting," that may be perfect for you. Good luck.

Karen E. Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers entrepreneurship and small-business issues.

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Rapid Prototyping Machines


Rapid Prototyping Machines

American media have recently announced, that despite all argues around this question, some American company is going to release a great innovation – three-dimensional printer that can be used at home or in offices in order to product 3D model, like parts and details of any real object or mechanism. Incredible thing here is that this prototyping machine is going to cost less than 5000 dollars, the price affordable for most people, who need such apparatus.

The manufacturers from all corners of the globe were impatient to see this innovation release, but they were truly disappointed when despite some money taken as deposit for such 3D machine, the machine itself has not been supplied yet. The actual truth is that those manufacturers, who were going to supply affordable prototyping machines or at least promised to, may not live long in a severe market environment and taking into account constant competition between leading companies. Rapid prototyping is not an exception in this case.

Probably those initials difficulties can be solved soon, but the bad thing here is that they can harm those executives who have given away their money for something that does not exist and may not be produced in the nearest future.

However, not all firms and enterprises waist their breath, some of them proved to be reliable ones. One of such companies is the American company Objet Geometries LTD. This company proved to supply high-precision prototyping machines in time, the quality of these machines is undeniable as well.

3D printers offered by Objet geometries present accurate performance, the models coming out of company’s machines are of high quality and can hardly be compared to any other 3D printer. The company constantly improves its technology, producing the best three-dimensional machines to their customers and offering the best prices.

Many enterprises producing rapid prototyping machines offer their products in lower prices. In practice, these cheap prototyping machines are not as good as they are told to be. The surfaces of such items are rougher and the quality of part coming from such machines is often poor, while details are fragile and breakable. As it is known, the main property of prototyping models is their solidity, that is why fragility is a great disadvantage of cheap rapid prototyping 3D machines.

The reasons, mentioned above, urge great corporations all over the world, including countries of the third world, to buy more expensive and reliable rapid prototyping machines, produced by known companies, which are ready to bear responsibility for sold item, to support and to service it beginning from installation and in the process of machine exploitation. Such machines produced by eminent companies provide the most accurate, reliable and solid copies of real objects.

Are you aware that rapid prototype can solve lots of tech problems about your business? Read more about what rapid prototype is and how rapid prototype services can help to meet your technical needs.

Today we live in the world where knowledge quickly enhances the quality of our life.

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A place where Engineers, Product Designers and Inventors can come and share information about 3D Softwares, Rapid Manufacturing, Rapid Tooling, Rapid Prototyping, 3D Laser Scanning and Reverse Engineering.

Let’s help each other out in times like these !!