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With 100kGarages, ShopBot Helps America Reinvent its Economy, One Maker at a Time
100kGarages.com has opened its virtual "garage doors" to an even wider community of makers, Fabbers and Designers. 100kGarages connects people who have ideas about things they want made with others who can make those items using the design and production process of digital fabrication. The site provides resources for digital design and web tools for finding help. The services of the site are free.
First launched in 2008 by ShopBot Tools and Ponoko, 100kGarages has been expanded to include Fabbers using all brands of CNC routers, laser cutters, and 3D printers. 100kGarages now also invites Designers to showcase projects and offer their services. Fabbers and Designers together provide a supportive community for helping people get things made, for growing the availability of digital fabrication, and for re-establishing local manufacturing using new technologies.
100kGarages offers new web tools and resources to help get projects made:
- You can now search for Fabbers with a dynamic geo-mapping tool that links to a robust Profile Page for each Fabber. Fabbers can upload photos of their work and offer detail about their capabilities.
- Fabbers can use the new RSS feed to get instant notice of new projects up for bid, anywhere and anytime of day.
- The Inspiration Gallery features new and interesting projects, to inspire people with ideas for their own projects, and to also introduce Designers and their services.
- The Designer's Area and Designer's Map are also new to the site. People who design for digital fabrication can establish a Profile Page with samples of their designs, and offer their services as well as design files for sale or even free download.
ShopBot founder Ted Hall explains, "We want to make it possible for creative people at any level of understanding of digital design or fabrication to take advantage of this great new technology for getting stuff made … small or large, items of a wide range of materials and styles, just one item or a short production run. If your idea is only at the 'napkin drawing' stage, you can use the site to learn about design software or find a Designer to get your plans drawn up and ready for fabbing. It's a wide open community that helps make making happen."
To those who wonder about the derivation of the site's name, it’s
from a Presidential debate question back in 2008. Tom Brokaw asked,
"Would our nation's economic and environmental problems best be
solved... by 100,000 garages across the country?" While we haven’t
got 100,000 participants yet, the community hopes that by opening
the garage doors wider, it won’t be long.