Makerspaces Proliferation Offer Prototyping, Creative Outlet For Students, Entrepreneurs

By Ted Griggs
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several facilities in Louisiana are now offering entrepreneurs the equipment needed to explore the world of 3-d manufacturing. Several local “makerspaces” now offer the use of 3-D printers, laser cutters, and other advanced manufacturing appliances.

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

A few years ago, Bioceptive Inc. needed a 3-D printer to mock up parts for its new intrauterine device inserter, which relies on suction rather than the pinch and pain of forceps. The startup had to go out of state.

Bioceptive was locked into a time-consuming and expensive cycle. The company sent its designs to national prototyping houses, waited a couple of weeks for the part to come back, tested it, tweaked the design and repeated the process.

“It was a pain in the butt,” said Aaron Miscenich, president of New Orleans BioInnovation Center Inc., the tech incubator where Bioceptive is a tenant.

Luckily, the University of New Orleans had a 3-D printer in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department, and Miscenich had a brother who graduated from the program and knew about it.

Bioceptive CEO Benjamin D. Cappiello said the company also was fortunate that Associate Professor Brandon Taravella was making the device available to local businesses.

“Now our iteration cycles were days instead of weeks, which makes a huge difference,” Cappiello said. “Something that would have cost $400 before was maybe costing $30 or $40.”

Just as importantly, Bioceptive got its parts back the next day, he said. On one specific piece, Bioceptive went through 55 different iterations. Access to the local 3-D printer probably saved Bioceptive tens of thousands of dollars and cut development time by years.

Bioceptive has since moved past the need for 3-D printing. A reusable version of its device is now in clinical trials. But entrepreneurs no longer have to go out of state for their prototyping needs. Some of the other options available include:

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *