Here at Plugable, customers frequently contact us asking for brackets, mounts, and other accessories to better adapt Plugable devices to their workflow and environment. We would love to accommodate them, but the needs are too diverse and the demand too small to justify mass production.
However, the introduction of cheap but powerful 3D printing devices has opened a new way to meet this demand. Inexpensive enough for a home or office environment, yet able to replicate sophisticated designs, these printers allow us to offer a variety of options to our customers that they can tweak to their own unique situation, then manufacture themselves.
I’m Justin Taylor, and I’ll be heading up Plugable’s first venture into this exciting realm. From September to June, I study industrial design at the University of Washington, but this summer, I’ll be Plugable’s first product design intern, tasked with bringing this idea to reality. Using SolidWorks 3D modeling software and a Lulzbot Mini printer bought for this purpose, I’ll be designing brackets and mounts for our popular products, to secure them, declutter work areas, while adding some visual appeal.
Over the next few months, I’ll design multiple styles and iterations for each product, and upload CAD files for them to thingiverse.com, where your can download and print them on your own 3D printer. Working on this smaller scale lets Plugable avoid large fabrication and shipping costs, while still providing a wide array of options. I’m excited to use 3D printing to add a do-it-yourself flair to Plugable’s product line.
Throughout the summer, I’ll be blogging my progress and product releases here. The design process is full of drama, frustration, and triumph which often go unnoticed in the glossy final object. I hope to show a behind-the-scenes look at the retrospective realizations and tough lessons that take ideas from screen to reality. That said, I’m committed to great results. I hope my work can build a new excitement for our products and reward loyal Plugable customers with cool and useful accessories.