FORGE Spark Tank @ Cowork Jax

What is FORGE Spark Tank?

The Forge Spark Tank is an opportunity for folks who think 3D printing can be an important part of their business or benefit their personal endeavor. It's a contest:

With only 5 minutes, presenters must demonstrate their need for 3D printing and how it ties in with their One Spark project.

Some of these startups want to protoype their products - the winners get a good head start on that:

Three winners will host their ideas in the FORGE showroom during One Spark and will also receive free design consultation, One Spark promotion and a $200 printing package from FORGE to help bring their concept to life.

FORGE is a Jacksonville business that does all sorts of keen services related to 3D printing. They're hosting the event for publicity and to make sure they have a great community-supplied idea to bring to One Spark.

One Spark is a huge crowdfunding festival that will take place in Jacksonville later in the year. I hope to participate in one way or another, and I'll write a blog post about it later.

I had to leave the event early, but I managed to jot down some of my thoughts on the presenters as they presented:

Armed Red by Toby Williams

Because Toby was having trouble getting his powerpoint up and running, Bryce from FORGE kept the audience distracted by showing off a cool custom built prosthetic hand FORGE had earlier delivered to a six year old girl. A few minutes later Toby was ready to go.

This is all the information I could gather from his presentation, despite the fact he ran over the five minute time limit (the moderator was kind enough not to interrupt):

Toby has an eye condition as a result of a stroke and sees double. He uses an eyepatch, and with it he can do all the normal things most people can do. He is a recreational bicyclist.

Toby claimed he was pitching a branding campaign and said "it is a billion dollar business" that we (the audience) "must shed our party associations in order to bring awareness to violence."

That's all. I honestly had no idea what Toby was proposing by the end of his rant.

The event moderator helpfully summarized Toby's pitch as a brand that says, "I'm packing heat," though that was not remotely clear from the presentation. Surprisingly, there were no questions from the audience (and I didn't feel particularly compelled to ask my own).

Kitchen Cloud by CJ Dulberger

CJ and his team want to present their startup idea at One Spark, and hope to use the contest winnings to fund a snazzy 3D printed logo to show off at presentations in the future.

CJ's startup is, from what I understand, a system of smart devices (think "Internet of Things" style) that includes:

  • Smart devices tied into your cell phone that will generate shopping lists for you, track food expiration dates, and price compare your food

  • An semi-to-fully automated indoor/patio/backyard aquaponics and hydroponics food growing system integrated with the cell phone app

  • A poorly explained system of 3D printing food

  • Tracks recipes and nutritional intake

  • The aquaponics/hydroponics system somehow uses live fish (which you can eat) and fish poop as fertilizer

He's thinking of a fully integrated stack - food distributors and grocery stores would bid on the coupons on the auto generated shopping list, and somehow the point of sale at the vendors and stores will contribute the data that runs the push notifications for food expiration/nutrition tracking/supply tracking.

It's a very big idea, but they could offer practically no definitive answers to anything - base price, how large a system they'd need to grow the food, or any technical specifics.

Vinny by Alex Kiss

Alex had trouble buying a car. He thinks the way people access data in the car market is outdated and inconvenient. 'Vinny' is a VIN scanning app to help you make informed decisions when purchasing a car. Vinny is a free app for iOS and Android.

Alex' team built one of the few functioning VIN scanning apps!

He wants to print his company's logo with a 3D printer.

Granted, this is an incredible app, and not surprisingly his funding efforts so far have been successful.

He wants people to be able to scan their VIN and have parts for their automobiles 3D printed and drop shipped to the customers. (Though I have the feeling he said that half-seriously to humor an audience full of 3D printing nerds).

Regrettably, I had to leave early

When I signed in to the event, they took my email and said they'd email anyone on the list with the results of the contest. I haven't got that email yet, and I didn't get to see two of the presenters.

I'll definitely make a point to stay the full event next time, though - especially if they serve free beer, bacon, and sushi again!