We live in a new world of evolved entrepreneurs where the dress code may be a little hipper and the workplace may be much less traditional, but one thing is still definitely the same: most business owners and leaders have had to learn to readjust after things didn’t go their way with an idea or a product launch.
Some fails are epic and some are minor setbacks, but what sets the truly dedicated apart from the rest is how they learn from their experiences both positive and negative. It’s also a major bonus to society if they are able to share and offer others clarity as well when making refinements and changes to lead to success. Such has been the case after a Kickstarter campaign was not as fruitful as expected for Element Robot’s Skyforge 3D printer platform.
“We realized that consumers don’t really need a remote monitoring platform for their 3D printers. Starting a printer in your garage while you’re sitting in your house isn’t that useful or interesting,” Walker told 3DPrint.com.
“And frankly, I’m not very excited about desktop consumer 3D printing in the first place. Additive manufacturing requires initiative and creativity, which is more like production than consumption.”
We reported on Element Robot and Skyforge last year as they were gearing up for their launch, and we expounded on their obvious merits, as they operate like a cloud manufacturing system, basically working as a hub for collaboration or multiple projects, with features like:
- Unified platform for multiple users
- Networked solution accessible via browser
- Easy access for users across an organization
Since last year, Walker and his team have re-evaluated and are back stronger and smarter with a lot of new customers and even greater focus. Several crucial elements of business are knowing what your focus and goals are, as well as being in tune with your customer base. That’s where Chris Walker, founder of Element Robot, is strong.
The focus at Idaho-based Element Robot is quite simple but not always easy to do, as many are aware, in what is an overall worldwide commitment to making 3D printing more accessible–to everyone. As for the customer base, after their first attempt with Skyforge (with corresponding Skyhook device) did not have the outcome they hoped for on Kickstarter, they refined and centered their idea of who they were trying to serve best.
Walker realized that the Skyforge niche is a highly collaborative, high energy group all doing a lot at once while employing technologically savvy: students.
“During that ill-fated Kickstarter, we were approached by several institutions in the education and enterprise sectors, so we rapidly pivoted Skyforge to solve these large-scale challenges,” Walker told 3DPrint.com. “Several months later, we’ve got customers at public libraries, universities, and large companies, and we’ve just released a brand new version of Skyforge.”
Via the updated platform, users are able to print their own 3D designs with this unique workflow, while not being bothered with figuring out details in operating or configuring software. The platform operates as a central database for connecting files, instructions, and performing quality control procedures.
Skyforge allows for the uploading of files and creating of libraries, as well as some crucial settings such as design validation to make sure the file is compatible with the 3D printer, print configuration, and manufacturing preview. Tracking is streamlined and easy, and files can even be automatically transmitted to 3D printers that are verified as compatible, eliminating errors and disruption of workflow. Users are able to monitor machines, using real-time data and preserving traceability.
“I think the truly exciting innovations are happening in the educational and enterprise sectors, with GE’s 3D printed fuel nozzles, or Monash University’s 3D printed jet engine,” Walker told 3DPrint.com. “But institutions that want to implement 3D printing at scale have a real problem: it’s hard to manage an internal 3D printing program for many users, print jobs, and printers.”
With the networking solutions that Skyforge offers to institutions on the larger scale, projects are facilitated with flexibility and user-friendliness–across an organization. It doesn’t matter whether you are operating one 3D printer or many, and the number of users can benefit and be managed, no matter the number.
Is Skyforge a platform your business or learning institution might benefit from? Discuss in the Skyforge 3D Printing Platform Rebooted forum thread over at 3DPB.com.