The following is an email I sent to Hack Manhattan – a hackerspace that held a successful 3d printing class based on the Printrbot printers. It accurately expresssd my sentiment about the potential of partnering with hackerspaces. I am open to feedback fr the community at large…
Thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback! I not only endorse what you are doing, I hope you will consider the following challenge… Could you folks be the prototype for Printrbot Simple classes that other hackerspaces could replicate? I see a great value in a published document that is sort of a turn-key class that reduces the prep for other hackerspaces to do the same. I am open to any dollar amount, even if it is more than $450. Who else is taking up the mantel to teach local community folks on the dark arts of 3d printing?!

I want to fully endorse you and the added benefit of having you laser cut the parts is very desirable. This scales!! What about a program that also extends the current offering beyond a single class? What about a one year warrantee to replace anything that breaks, no questions asked? We could certify the space as an official Printrbot warrantee supplier. Maybe $99 a year? And how about going further to offer advanced classes in 3d design with our endorsement? We just need an open source curriculum. Lastly, what about a certification program for a Printrbot equivalent of the apple Genius Bar ?

One final thought would be a deal to offer free printing to anyone who just wants to print? We could provide free filament and bots to print on? Creating a program where every hackerspace in the world could become a center for printing – much like the apple stores are centers to play on apple computers? I have dreams of doing our own stores but doing that in a space that has paid membership access to other maker tools could be really cool. My chief concern is certification and standardization. If both are made available, the hackerspaces could be a precursor or maybe a replacement for my idea for brick and mortar stores. I would want the participating hackerspaces to be official resellers of Printrbots with a 20% discount on kits and to build all models for further profits. We eventually will sell inexpensive CNCs and laser cutters, so I think this roadmap makes sense. It’s easy to make machines, its hard to build community.

To leverage the work already being done makes sense and could be a huge win-win. We would offer other tools for makers at a discount to hackerspaces selling our wares as well. Potentially, we would love to make (perhaps) exclusive deals with hackerspaces to sell and promote our hardware. The small hackerspaces in Davis, CA that I am donating to has huge potential but struggles to buy equipment. If Printrbot could reduce this barrier to entry, we would probably see more hackerspaces spring up everywhere. Maybe help them pay the rent through sales and classes. The maker movement is huge but lacks focus. Helping these spaces focus around making with support for Cnc, 3d printing and laser cutting is essential to everyone’s success I think. Training courses and certification classes for librarians and school teachers could follow and help everyone progress with the backing of a company like Printrbot could legitimize the efforts.

Consider all of this and get back to me. I need a leader, a brave soul who can bring people together and organize the efforts.