3D Orchard is a Huntsville-based startup that distributes free engineering tools to the Internet in order to crowdsource engineering and design. On 3D Orchard, people anywhere in the world can create their own designs for free with built-in CAD tools, then order a 3D print of their design. With an ever-growing online community, 3D Orchard users can also share their designs with the world and watch them evolve.
“Urban Engine and their weekly CoWorking Night have been a wonderful opportunity to network and seek advice from people with a variety of backgrounds,” Dan says. “Urban Engine has created a fruitful environment for entrepreneurship – one that provides access to a never-ending supply of advice, feedback, and overall guidance.”
“We believe that if enough people have access to free tools to turn their ideas into reality, then people around the world can build the future together. So we've built a platform for crowdsourced design called 3D Orchard,” says Co-Founder Dan Meisner.
“It includes free engineering tools built into the browser, connected to fabrication resources, like 3D printing. The result is a growing library of 3D models that represent the world around us. Because those 3D models are collaboratively created by people around the world, they constantly evolve as if they were biological.”
The idea for 3D Orchard dates to 2009, when Dan was creating models of wind turbines and 3D printing them for testing. As a college student, he had access to the expensive tools needed for 3D design and printing. Recognizing that most people in the world don't have that access, Dan teamed with Co-Founders Eric Sherouse and Patrick Gallogly to create 3D Orchard.
“Looking forward, we want to keep the platform lightweight and optimized to run on any device,” Dan says. “This is important for the 58 percent of people in the world, or 4.4 billion people, that are not currently online. As they come online, they'll bring with them an entirely new set of problems and solutions. When those solutions are built in the open, everyone benefits.”
The team is currently working on refactoring the 3D Orchard platform and adding some new exciting features. So far, the platform has around 6,500 individual 3D CAD models to download – many designed specifically for 3D printing. That number is growing exponentially.
To learn more about free 3D engineering, visit http://3DOrchard.com