80/20 Extrusion Goes Main Stream

We had to do a double take when we saw this kickstarter campaign video – and we bet you will too. It seem as if some company called [Infento Rides] took generic 80/20 aluminum extrusions and built a viable commercial product out of it – that’s not something you see everyday. 80/20 is meant to be something that engineers use to build things like test rigs and manufacturing fixtures. It’s not exactly an item designed for the consumer or end user. But we think the DIY/teaching aspect of this idea really has legs wheels.

If you’re looking for [Santa] to put this under the tree this Christmas, you might be disappointed as it’s not exactly on store shelves just yet since the kickstarter campaign just ended – but we wish them well, and hope they come through.

If you’re old enough you may remember Erector Sets (they were mechanical equivalent of the 200-in-1 electronics kits) back in the day. Well, this type of product brings back memories of both. It’s a perfect tool for getting kids interested in making – sure, they aren’t “making” much, but we all start somewhere.

The one thing we would like to see is a more open-source type kit like the Chibikart. That and something a little less then the $300-$500 price range.  But can you really put a price on teaching a child to build something, and starting that fire inside of them?  Maybe not.

 

25 thoughts on “80/20 Extrusion Goes Main Stream

    1. Way back when (in 2013) I even downloaded the three info sheets from the infento.nl site – all in dutch though.

      I guess Kickstarter was a way for them to branch into the US market?

    2. As long as the right/original designer people are getting credit/ doing it, potentially neat stuff. If the components are designed to not fail if assembled correctly, would be neat to see moderately affordable bikes that always fit the user, and allow kids to play around with design ideas safely on semi-large scale.

    1. semi-shameless plug here….

      I started a company, REV Robotics, last year that makes an open aluminum extrusion system (mainly for robots) that is quite a bit more cost effective because it uses standard hardware instead of custom nuts & bolts.

      The cost per linear foot of aluminum extrusion is really based on the material price and the transportation costs, nobody makes tons of margin there. Most companies want to do the razer/blade thing and markup their hardware and accessory brackets, which only work with their profile. That’s one of the main reasons we made ours.

      In addition to the REV Robotics system are a few other systems that are also open and more affordable than these kits and 80/20.

      Makerbeam, Open-builds, makerslide, open beam, to name a few.

    1. “can you really put a price on teaching a child to build something?”
      Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Lisa convinced the Malibu Stacy creator to finance a less sexist doll, which failed, selling only one item:
      Lisa: “You know, if we just get through to that one little girl, It’ll all be worth it!”
      Stacy: “Yes. Particularly if that little girl happens to pay $46,000.00 for that doll.”
      Lisa: “What?”
      Stacy: “Oh, Nothing.”

  1. Looks like a cool product. I had Playskool Pipeworks which was basically a construction set that used different lengths of 2″ PVC pipe that snapped together with these spring loaded connectors. It was a really fun toy.

    1. Check out Creform….. it’s like pipeworks for grown ups. It’s amazing what you can make with Creform and at much lower cost than 80/20 etc. We make custom workbenches at work for specific areas of our production floor and it’s about 1/4 the cost of a regular workbench that isn’t customized to the task.

  2. Minor quibble, but 80/20 is a name brand. Saying ‘generic 80/20 aluminum extrusions’ is like saying ‘generic Samsung smartphone’.
    When I build something with it, (whatever brand I find) I locate weld nuts that fit in the slots instead of paying the ransom for the matching Tee nuts. Might not have the same strength ratings, but plenty strong for my uses. That saves a few bucks.

  3. Wow. This looks just like Fischertechnik kits from back when, right down to the color scheme. Come to think of it, that came from Europe, too. Hmm…

    Anyone thinking of LEGO-Technik style construction kits scaled up to “grown-up” sizes? (But please not just LEGO duplo on steroids.)

  4. I talked to the owner / designer of infento on the Amsterdam makerfair. Everything is custom made by Infento. I played around a bit with it. It is very well made and thought through. I was impressed !

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