Makerslide: Prototyping 3D Tools Made Easier

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Makerslide: Prototyping 3D Tools Made Easier

Makerslide will become available on Inventables starting today.

The above could mean a lot to you, or nothing at all. Many of the personal fabrication tools we use today are based on adding or removing material in a 3D space. Whether it’s a CNC mill that cuts away wood or a 3D printer which extrudes plastic, a computer is precisely positioning a head along tracks to perform the work. If you’re a maker who designs and builds such 3D tools, then ready access to Makerslide is good news.

What makes Makerslide special? First it’s a linear motion system, an extruded rail on which a carriage system tracks. In this case, the carriage is mounted on v-wheels which ride on a rigid aluminum v-track. It does its job pretty well … and pretty cheaply. For around the price of just the extrusion elsewhere, you get a complete system.

But there’s more to Makerslide’s appeal than is obvious…

A designer and maker of 3D tools always has to plan for the frame or housing of the tool. It’s usually a separate thought, requires extra effort, and burdens the project with additional cost. What’s special about Makerslide is that it can simultaneously be used as both a linear tracking system and the frame.

Its rigid T-slot construction allows a designer to tightly couple linear rails together. For instance, the X-axis rail can connect to the Z-axis rail so that the resulting structure provides a track for the carriage and creates the frame. A maker can move quickly from idea to design to prototype using this system. A case in point is Bart Dring’s ORD Bot 3D printer which went from idea to prototype in just seven hours. This was possible because so many of the design requirements were addressed by the Makerslide system.

The ORD Bot 3D Printer Made With Makerslide

So Makerslide is a cool product that’s been in high demand with makers. Since its inventor Bart Dring is a family man with a full-time job, there is only so much available time he had for selling Makerslide. For the past nine months, each week he’d calculate how much product he could prepare based on his schedule. He’d then post product availability on his website and usually sell out in one to four hours. This approach has resulted in Bart selling over a mile of Makerslide, but also in his perennially being sold out.

The demand for his product has taken a toll. He had to limit his ORD Bot printer production to just 100 units. His much-in-demand open source laser had to go on the back burner. His pace of invention and collaboration with his community had slowed. Bart enjoys making, he has an amazing workshop and has been into home-built CNC for over a decade. With the success of Makerslide he was doing less and less of what he loved most: design and engineering.

Makerslide inventor Bart Dring in his role as father.

To remedy the situation, Bart decided he needed to find a partner to do sales and order fulfillment. He didn’t want just anyone; he felt a responsibility to locate the right partner for his product. Even though a dozen companies approached Bart with proposals, he reached out to Inventables with whom he’d had good dealings in the past.

Bart’s timing was good. Inventables’ CEO, Zach Kaplan, was on a quest. He was looking to add  what he calls “foundational technologies” to his inventory. He wanted to inventory mechanical components which could simplify building new platforms, to add Lego-style building blocks to help makers build. In Makerslide’s ability to perform both linear tracking and provide structure, he saw an empowering product. Using Makerslide, a designer-maker of new 3D tools can move quickly from idea to prototype.

Bart and Zach each had reasons to work together and they quickly decided to partner. The practical result of their partnering is that this much-desired but hard-to-attain product will become available on Inventables … starting today.

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Speaker. Maker. Writer. Traveler. Father. Husband.

MakerCon Co-Chair ( Maker City San Diego Roundtable Member San Diego Maker Faire Producer (

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