These days, few topics are discussed and debated as much as that of robotic automation. What jobs will robots replace? What industries will they benefit the most? Are they dangerous, or how will we make them safe? These are all relevant and important questions that deserve the many discussions already in progress, but I think a good place to start is to talk about some of the history of robotic automation, and how robots are changing and improving.
Fulfilled By Voodoo: Plug-n-Play Manufacturing & Fulfillment for Online Product Stores
Ever since we started Voodoo Manufacturing, we’ve been excited to build a service that allows anyone to manufacture products and start businesses. Our goal has always been to empower people to invent, design, and deliver products without the tall barriers that manufacturing typically creates. That’s why today we’re incredibly excited to announce a new service that marks a major step in this direction: Fulfilled by Voodoo.
Fulfilled by Voodoo, or “FBV” for short, is a full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service that makes it easier than ever to start and scale any business selling 3D printed products online. With FBV, you can link your e-commerce storefronts directly to our factory and outsource the 3D printing, quality control, assembly, packaging, and shipping of your products. Every time you receive an order from a customer it’s automatically routed to our factory, where it’s manufactured on-demand and then drop-shipped directly back to your customer.
Overcoming Modern Manufacturing’s Biggest Obstacles
For anyone who’s ever designed and sold a physical product, they’ve learned how difficult it can be to set up a reliable, scalable, and affordable manufacturing pipeline. For many people this is an insurmountable hurdle that they fail to overcome. At Voodoo, we believe manufacturing isn’t the essence of a product – it’s a means to an end. Just as technology isn’t important for its own sake, but rather because of what it does for you, manufacturing is important because of the product it enables you to make. For how amazing modern manufacturing is, there are still so many examples of people failing to successfully manufacture a product. Or, even worse, people who never even start on their journey to bring a product to market. This happens for many reasons – from high upfront costs, to long lead times, to complicated design-for-manufacturing requirements – but at the core of this lies the fact that manufacturing is still a largely difficult, painful, and treacherous process.
Last month, two of Voodoo’s four co-founders, Max Friefeld and Oliver Ortlieb, sat down with Craig Cannon and Daniel Gross of Y Combinator to discuss the future of robotics and 3D printing. For the uninitiated, Y Combinator is a startup incubator that helps young companies raise seed funding, flesh out their business plans, and gain invaluable insight and support from an extensive network of YC alumni. Voodoo was fortunate to be selected for YC’s Winter 2017 batch, which we participated in from January to March.
In the YC podcast, Max and Oliver field questions about the intersection of robotics and 3D printing, where they see those industries heading in the future, and whether or not robots really will take over the world. Below is a recap of the conversation.
Manufacturing is one of the most fundamental, yet inaccessible building blocks of modern society. It is how we produce the overwhelming majority of parts and products we use both intentionally, and inadvertently. “Manufacturing”, unlike “making”, can be described as the process of repeatedly producing a physical object at scale. Over the past couple centuries we’ve transformed our methods of manufacturing from the human-first approach used to make textiles during the Industrial Revolution, to the assembly line structure introduced by Henry Ford, to modern just-in-time production invented by Toyota, to today’s imminent robot revolution. Continue reading →
So you’re launching a physical product. Maybe it’s just a simple object, maybe it’s a hardware product with integrated electronics, or maybe it has mechanical functionality. You’ve built one (or probably many) prototypes, you’ve launched a successful crowdfunding campaign in order to manufacture your first batch, and now you need to do just that.
This is the point at which many entrepreneurs run into trouble – how do you scale from 1 to 1,000 units? Or 10,000? Maybe even 100,000 if you’re lucky. There are many factors to consider when scaling your manufacturing, but one of obvious concern is the method with which you’ll create the physical components for your product.
So how does someone go about choosing the right method that will scale along with his or her business? Here we’ll explore the pros and cons of two popular types of plastic part manufacturing: injection molding and 3D printing. Continue reading →
This article originally appeared on VentureBeat on April 17, 2016.
“Food 3D printing” is something of a mythical creature. It’s been talked about a lot, and there have been a few sightings of it, but no one’s quite sure if it’s real or not. Well, I think it’s about time someone takes a shot at cracking open the case.
In essence, food 3D printing is this: you take a standard 3D printer, replace the non-edible material (like plastic filament) with something edible, and voilà, you have a food 3D printer! In reality though, the results have been less than amazing. What you typically get with a food 3D printer is a purée of perfectly good food extruded into an odd-looking shape. Today there are a few companies trying to pave the food 3D printing path.