The State Of 3D Printing At MRRF

Only a few days ago, a significant proportion of the Hackaday crew was leaving Goshen, Indiana after the fourth annual Midwest RepRap Festival. We go to a lot of events every year, and even when you include DEF CON, security conferences, ham swap meets, and Maker Faires, MRRF is still one of the best. The event itself is an odd mix of people rallying under a banner of open source hardware and dorks dorking around with 3D printer. It’s very casual, but you’re guaranteed to learn something from the hundreds of attendees.

Hundreds of people made the trek out to Goshen this year, and a lot of them brought a 3D printer. Most of these printers aren’t the kind you can buy at a Home Depot or from Amazon. These are customized machines that push the envelope of what consumer 3D printing technology. If you want to know what 3D printing will be like in two or three years, you only need to come to MRRF. It’s an incubator of great ideas, and a peek at what the future of 3D printing holds.

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MRRF: MakerOS for Maker Business Management

If you’re a maker business, making the things is usually your chief concern, whether you’re 3D printing widgets or milling them. But if you don’t put enough time and energy into things like client interaction and payments, you may find that you don’t have customers. [Mike Moceri] was tired of bloated systems like Salesforce that cost entirely too much for what they are. He created makerOS to help maker businesses be more effective without wasting time, starting with his own—a Detroit-based 3D printing, design, and prototyping firm called Manulith.

When a business registers with makerOS, they get a custom subdomain. makerOS is white-label software that provides a dashboard for the business owner and opens the lines of communication between maker and client. The client sees their own dashboard, and here they can can fill out a short form to describe what they want and upload photos and files from common cloud services. The dashboard provides a simple way to quote products and services, take payments, and facilitate discussion between manufacturer and client through a sort of wall/bulletin board which supports @ mentions and push notifications.

It’s free to register a subdomain with makerOS and install it on your existing site. The minimal costs associated are transaction based and flexible as your company grows.