3D Printers, Micro-Manufacturing, the Internet of Things and More

Three months ago we visited NextFab, a collaborative makerspace in Philly, along with the i2n.  We were blown away. We’ve been focused on software here at the lab — but seeing hardware and physical creations — it made us realize that we needed to learn more.

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Through funding provided by the i2n and the Chester County Economic Development Council, we created a partnership with NextFab that brought us education, training and two Bukito 3D printers. It went swimmingly well but we were left with the question:

What do we do now?! What will have the biggest impact?! We were unanimous: Let’s get more printers into the world.

So last month we launched a 3D Printer Boot Camp. We brought people into the lab, taught them all they needed to know to build their own 3D printer and use it. And they did. That was our confirmation that Chester County was ready for innovation in micro-manufacturing and 3D printing. And so are we.

Here’s Our Vision 

Fabrication technologies, maker expertise and advances in electronics, combined with social media, design and a user focus, is the new face of innovation. It’s the type of innovation that positively impacts and changes people’s lives — and the power is in people’s hands to do it for themselves. Walnut St Labs will work hard to be the best hub, the best place to connect businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and makers, for mutual support and inspiration and advancement.

Here’s What We’re Going To Do

1. More 3D Printers with Boot Camps: We have two boot camps slated for Aug 1st and Aug 29th. Our first boot camp sold out the first week we started promoting it and resulted in 5 new 3D printers in Chester County. We expect similar results for these two as well. Our goal is to continually grow our local network of makers and fabricators in size and competency and create exposure. Lots of it.

2. A WSL Makerspace Meetup: Starting now, every Wednesday night from 7-10 we will hold open makerspace hours. It will be an opportunity for makers to meet other makers to collaborate or for novices to see demos of 3D printing. This will connect those interested in 3D printers who aren’t just ready to dive into a bootcamp with the experts we already have. Feel free to come and hang out.

3. We’re Going IoT (Internet of Things): The fun stuff you can make with a 3D printers barely scratches the surface in our opinion. Our vision is to couple 3D printing with embedded electronics and then connect these devices on networks. The future unfolds from there.

4. Welcome Chad Wingrave!: We convinced Dr. Chad Wingrave to help lead the charge. Chad has diverse experience and passion for Virtual Reality, software, hardware, and for creating user-centered technology. He’s a great teacher and facilitator too. We are confident that he can develop the community and help craft the labs’ strategy. Thank you Chad!!

5. We’re Connecting the Dots, the People and the Institutions: Our partnerships with Liberty Value Initiative, Dansko, Penn State Great Valley, and Kennett Square Makers — and the other organizations in this article — will help define what this movement will mean for Chester County. Are you interested in working with us? Helping us? Come out and meet us. Or send us a message.