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Squid Labs video on the Disappearing Factory Answered

Innovation Lab recently put together a conference and asked Squid Labs to start it off by talking about the disappearing factory. Unfortunately, we weren't able to attend, and so sent this video instead. In it, Saul, Tim, and I stare into a sunset and talk about what we think is the disappearing factory.


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trebuchet03

12 years ago

Eric, you and Saul totally hit the nail on the head in one of your final statements about personalization.... You've seen my laptop - I've had nothing but positive feedback.

One of my best friend's mother visited my apartment a few weeks ago... And she said: "I love visiting wherever you live because you always have so many cool things and projects going on." I showed her the dragonskin half apple stress ball thing I made over the summer, my laptop's Banana and woody, the awesome aluminum instructables hammer, a prototype convection refrigerator etc. etc.

But none of that can really be considered factory worthy.... There's a rather large jump from personal customization and/or/to prototype to production. That is, if you set off to make something that has a 20million unit per year market - limited production probably won't work very well. You'd either need to outsource manufacturing to an equipped factory or equip yourself for mass production and then meet the "factory" criteria. That is, I'm not saying the work you guys are doing is wrong (by any means at all). But if Saul took on an order for 2,000,000 Plyboo tables and benches, would it be possible (in timely fashion) to cut, pack, store and ship from Squid? Perhaps it is, but I do recall a plyboo something or other requiring 45 minutes of machine time per sheet (and having to work on something else until that was done :p).

What I'm saying is, the term "factory" seems more suited for more than prototype or low volume production.

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Honus

12 years ago

Mass production brings down the cost of goods but what I've seen as a growing trend are the number of manufacturers that offer a more or less stock item that is able to be customized by the end user. You get a more personal product but still can take advantage of mass production. What I think will be really interesting is when more people realize they have access to tools, information and technology that allows them to produce (and often sell) their own products that a large manufacturer would not consider producing due to what they believe is a lack of consumer demand.

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zachninme

12 years ago

Sorry I don't have much to add (nothing comared to royalestel!) Interesting though, hope you guys continue improving this :-)

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Goodhart

12 years ago

I just hope we can turn the "I can buy it dirt cheap, throw it away, and buy another" generation into a MAKE generation. Too long, the USA has not been as much of a MAKE place, as it once was.

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royalestel

12 years ago

Well, I don't think that this will be a widespread trend, at least, there will be limits to how much people will create themselves. The cost of entry to create your own electronic circuits is a significant investment of time. Some people would choose other hobbies. Also, certain high tech applications require very expensive and specialized equipment (we don't all have surface mount soldering capabilities). But as production tech becomes cheaper (THANK YOU TIM ANDERSON!) I'm sure we will see more custom trends. A lab like EYEBEAM facilitates such work. Still, for most of us, it's cheaper and easier to buy the mass-produced object and paint it or cut off the logo. Interesting ideas. There is also the experience of skilled manufacturers that home-producers lack. Add to the learning curve again. I don't know. I think it's obvious though, that DIY has become a "hobby" all its own. And for those hobbyists, I suspect many of their luxury items will be self-produced, created using money they saved by buying factory-built necessities. Cheers. Royal