Last week I had the incredible fortune of meeting with Shapeways Shop Owners across America on my journey from my old Silicon Valley life in product design, to this new 3D printing chapter at Shapeways HQ in New York City. This is part one of a four part blog series highlighting the stops and makers I met with along the way in Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago and Cincinnati.
I left my temperate California home and garden in the sleepy Silicon Valley around happy hour on Saturday, June 1st. Hitting the road later than initially targeted, Martini (my 19lb rescue mutt co-pilot) and I pointed the minivan for Tehatchapi, the halfway point between the Bay and Sin City, the first stop on the #ShapewaysRoadtrip. Traveling with a dog, and literally every material possession I have, we were poised for the comedic adventure that lay ahead.
Waking up in the desert, I realized the travel information I’d received the night before was inaccurate, and subsequently I arrived in Sin City three minutes before the event was scheduled to start. I’d called ahead to warn Pawel, the host of my timeline, and took the 3 minutes of luxury to walk Martini, assuming that after 6 hours in the car she would need to relieve herself. She did not. Shocked by the 100+ degree temperatures of Nevada, she was clueless. Without a blade of grass in sight, she stared at me wagging her tail, confused but happy to be off the road.
There was a smiling group of empathetically sweaty makers packed in the SYN Shop in downtown Las Vegas. HyruleFoundry, a recent Zelda fan art success on Shapeways, was in attendance and after a gregarious discussion about where we are now and how Las Vegas is leveraging 3D Printing, told his story of success on the marketplace. The creators of Las Vegas were full of questions and ideas, continuing the discussion over pints at the Gold Spike casino across the street afterwards, and pleasantly prolonging my drive to southern Utah that evening. SYN Shop even had a retro powder printer they were in the process of restoring, all in all a very refreshing and empowered group of hackers!
Back on the road zipping through the desert (literally- Utah is the only state I’ve enjoyed 80mph speed limits in), I felt the first #ShapewaysRoadtrip dose of warm-fuzzies. There is something truly magical going on in downtown Las Vegas; Tony Hseih’s incredible personal investment into the entrepreneurial ecosystem of a city written off as a weekend getaway is as impressive as it is inspiring. Pete, our CEO, and I have both had the opportunity to workshop and discuss the future of the project with the #dtlv community and look forward to working more with the makers and masterminds in the future. If you haven’t left the strip in Vegas, you are truly missing out.
Be sure and check back for more #ShapewaysRoadtrip adventures with Martini and I as we make our way from the desert to the Rockies. If you’re craving more content, you can find it here courtesy of RebelMouse or via #ShapewaysRoadtrip on twitter and Instagram.