Young Visionaries at PieceMaker Technologies Inc. See Future in 3-D-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Young Visionaries at PieceMaker Technologies Inc. See Future in 3-D

Arden Rosenblatt and Alejandro Sklar believe they are pioneers in bringing 3-D printing to the masses.

Their company, PieceMaker Technologies Inc., is developing 3-D printing kiosks for retailers, and they say it is the first to offer them in toy stores. The goal of their “factory in a store” concept is to let consumers personalize about 100 designs for toys, jewelry and other small gifts.

They have deals to put kiosks in 20 stores in seven states and Canada — including S.W. Randall Toyes & Giftes in Squirrel Hill and Downtown, the only ones installed so far. Customers and toy store owners are reacting positively, the young entrepreneurs say.

“Until now, 3-D printing has always been about printing prototypes for manufacturers,” Sklar said on Wednesday in S.W. Randall in Squirrel Hill. “But this is the first time a consumer store has taken a consumer design and printed it.”

Manufacturers, technical schools and libraries have been the primary users of 3-D printing technology, making physical objects from digital data by depositing plastic, metal and other materials — layer by layer — in machines that resemble ink-jet printers in homes and offices.

At a PieceMaker kiosk, consumers customize an item — a pendant, chess piece, ring or other novelty — and a store employee produces it at a 3-D printing station in about 20 minutes. Suggested retail prices range from $5 to $10.

Rosenblatt and Sklar have a bigger vision: to license popular toy designs from consumer giants such as Disney or Mattel and work with the companies to test-market toy designs faster and cheaper. They have not had discussions with the two national brands.

The two 25-year-olds postponed completing advanced degrees in engineering at Carnegie Mellon University to meet an October deadline to install their kiosks in more stores, including seven in the Pittsburgh area. They declined to name others besides S.W. Randall, the first with a 3-D kiosk...Read more»

By: John D. Oravecz