Pushing pixels into the third dimension

Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013

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Tom Kluyskens likes to tell people he was a ‘pixel pusher’ in another life.

Kluyskens had a 10 year career helping create visual effects for Hollywood: a chocolate river here, a tornado made from spaghetti there.

But there was something missing.

“A lot of designers end up there lured in by that flexibility, that fluidity of digital,” Kluyskens said at a recent startup event. “But in the end, you’re unfulfilled. You want to make a physical object.”

That endeavour is at the heart of Made on Jupiter, a digital manufacturing company Kluyskens founded in 2010 to make it easier to make virtual things reality.

“What we are looking at is product customisation online, and looking toward the future of manufacturing with digital fabrication technology, like laser cutting and 3D printing,” says Ross Kettle, another ex-pixel pusher who has been with the company since the beginning.

This week, Made on Jupiter finds itself at Webstock 2013, where the company is one of eight technology finalists in the BNZ Startup Alley. The finalists were set to arrive on February 14, giving them a chance to evangelise their technology. The participants were scheduled to make pitches before an audience on Thurdsday evening, with two winners to receive $10,000.

Kluyskens told Unlimited recently that Webstock would at the least be part of the company’s efforts to generate buzz. The company planned to demonstrate its Spoke Creator product, described as an engineering-grade 3D modeling and product customisation tool that works in browsers.

“All the objects in the interface are configurable and exist in the software,” Kluyskens said during the recent presentation. “We found out that what we were doing trying to inject flxibility of digita into physical objects is becoming mroe and more relevant in the market.”

Tools like Spoke Creator, Kluyskens said, have the potential to disrupt the traditional supply chain from manufacturer to consumer.

“The typical manufacturing pipeline means that designers and engineers work on a product model using CAD, and that gets sent ot a factory, and the product get transported to stores where you get advice,” Kluyskens said. “This is becoming much more blurry. The consumer becomes a little bit like a designer: the consumer has ambitions in that direction. And the line beteween the designer and engineer is blurred because of the tools. You go to the website, configure and it gets shipped to you and it’s made after you buy it.”

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Made on Jupiter has been putting this to the test in collaboration with a surfboard manufacturer, and experimenting with putting the design and fabrication into the hands of the consumer.

- Unlimited

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