California (and Southern California in particular) is regularly cited in trade journals as having the highest concentration of manufacturing activity in the United States. From 1950 – 1990, the state benefited from a legacy of US Federal Government contracting awards. But decades of fierce global competition and low labor cost advantages to import tax-free trade partners left only the leanest, most specialized fabrication facilities in operation.
Jeremy Goodwin and Nick Agid of SyncFab.com say they were distressed to hear a common refrain from facility managers during their visits to local fabrication facilities.
"I am the last man standing in our domestic industry."
The pair say that while those very same facility managers often receive specialty fabrication orders from savvy clients around the world – even from China – they're baffled that US customers are lagging behind in their understanding of what can be done domestically.
So they've come up with SYNCFAB, a system to fulfill custom 3D print and specialty fabrication needs while benefiting local small businesses and the self-employed.
Goodwin says the "untapped local ecosystem of ultra globally competitive specialty fabrication talent is now ripe for local resurrection." He says SYNCFAB has already begun connecting with this network through former members of the Made-in-LA program.
"This 3D printing technology was created and patented domestically, so let's leverage it as much as possible to benefit the self-employed and small business owners domestically," says Goodwin.
Agid and Goodwin say SyncFab.com was launched as a precursor to an intended beta service release for self-employed designers, engineers, students and small businesses. They say their company is hoping to raise $25,000 by April 30th to meet those goals, and to that end, their Kickstarter campaign is offering a series of rewards ranging from American-made designer t-shirts, personalized selfie scans, a premier fabrication facility tour, limited edition 3D prints or even bronze cast sculptures adapted from the Statue of Liberty's original artist, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi.
Through SyncFab.com and utilizing a custom design management tool, CADSYNC, users will connect with a growing network of local designers, engineers and specialty fabricators for convenient concept rendering and fabrication. An abbreviation for Synchronized Fabrication referring to the hybridization of 3D printing with traditional manufacturing methods, SYNCFAB is also a reference to the evolution of the design and production processes using today's technology to match streamlined custom design solutions with specialty fabrication methods producing the highest quality product locally.
"California is the design innovation center of the global economy, and the USA is at the epicenter of 3D print and hybrid specialty fabrication," Goodwin said.
SyncFab is a venture based on the vision of its founders and early contributors: Jeremy Goodwin, Andy Tong, Nick Agid, Dennis Delgado, Jay Ligda and Chris Cheng.
Goodwin is the former President and CFO of NASDAQ listed, China Advanced Construction Materials Company, Inc.
Tong is a co-founder, investor, entrepreneur and founder of MMOABC.com.
Agid is a seasoned product design and fabrication authority and former Made-in-LA Program Professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design and Otis College of Art and Design.
Delgado is former student body president at Otis College of Art and Design.
Ligda is a database architecture and WebGL expert.
Cheng is a seasoned medical device design R&D engineer with Shifamed and formerly with Stryker and a Subsidiary of Boston Scientific.
"Our goal is to leverage 3D Print technology to restore the value chain interruption between product innovation and production to emphasize local ecosystems of sustainable production benefiting recent graduates, small businesses and the self-employed," Goodwin says. "We plan to launch our pilot service platform this summer."