The Maker Movement and the Next Manufacturing Revolution
The digital revolution has thoroughly transformed everything to do with information, and we’re now in the early stages of the digital revolution transforming the world of material things. Makers of today are like the hackers of the 1990s, who did the experimentation and early innovation that prefigured the information and media world we take for granted now. Today’s makers are roughing out innovative new processes that dramatically collapse the time it takes to manufacture goods, and open that process up to anybody who wants to make anything at any time. In our October What’s Now: San Francisco event, Nick Pinkston, co-founder of one of San Francisco’s most intriguing next-generation manufacturing firms, Plethora, explained what’s happening in this new industrial revolution and reflected on the coming repercussions.
Plethora, which is just over three years old and has over $20M in venture funding, has built cutting-edge software that both gives real-time feedback and pricing on your part design, and also automatically programs their factory to go from 3D file to physical parts in hours, not weeks. Plethora works with top tech firms on everything from flying cars to bike parts used in the Olympics. But Plethora is about more than just machine parts—the goal of the company, according to Nick, is to help a much wider array of people take an idea for a product and turn it into a tangible reality. Nick wants to help companies bring their products to market better and faster—in short, to make manufacturing more like pizza delivery. At What’s Now, Nick explained how the software world is automating the entire manufacturing process to unleash the powers of creation.