This All-in-One Manufacturing Rig Fits on a Desktop

Makerarm’s robotic fabrication system can swap in tools for 3D printing, laser engraving, circuit board assembly, and more.

Innovator Zaib Husain
Age 39
Chief executive officer and co-founder of Austin startup Makerarm, which has 12 full-time workers

Form and function
Makerarm’s robotic fabrication system combines the functions of more than a dozen manufacturing machines—3D printing, milling, laser engraving, soldering, vinyl cutting, circuit board assembly—and fits on a desktop.

Source: Makerarm

Makerarm’s 29-inch-high, 20-pound preassembled main tower connects to PCs or mobile devices via Wi-Fi. Users create an account on the company’s website.

Click one of the 19 task-specific tool heads into the tower, and the website will spit out step-by-step instructions.

Husain, a financial analyst and consultant, began designing Makerarm in 2013 with her startup-founder husband, partly in an effort to declutter their machinery-filled garage.

Makerarm has raised more than $435,000 on Kickstarter. The founders have also contributed money but wouldn’t say how much.

The company presold its first 300 devices to prototyping departments of large companies, university labs, small businesses, and individual inventors. Shipping is set to begin later this year. 

Makerarm is taking preorders for the main tower and three basic tool heads on its website for $1,499. The tower with all 19 heads and add-ons costs $4,847. 

Next Steps
The global market for 3D printing alone rose an estimated 29 percent, to $6.7 billion, in 2016, though Makerarm doesn’t quite have the industrial capabilities to compete for most of that business, says Terry Wohlers, president of researcher Wohlers Associates Inc. Husain says she’s working on a mobile instructions app and more accessories, including a liquid-dripping pipette attachment.

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