Based in San Francisco, Make, Inc. is a relative newcomer to the manufacturing services market, but it hopes to make a big impact. The company was founded in 2017 by Nishat Rustagi, a computer sciences graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and functions as a digital manufacturing workflow platform for rapid prototyping and manufacturing services. Today, the Make platform is based on a distributed network of manufacturers based across the U.S. and Asia.
Rustagi was inspired to start his own company after noticing that the industrial additive manufacturing system at the college where he studied was often idle. “After further research, I figured this was a recurring problem with various other industrial 3D printer owners,” he said. “And on the other hand, we had engineers and hardware developers who needed easy access to highly capable 3D printers without any of the CAPEX involved. I started Make to alleviate this specific pain point.”
The other issue that Rustagi sought to tackle was related to the workflow of ordering parts. He thus set about developing a streamlined software platform to simplify the AM service ordering process on the customer side. As he explains, he and his team wanted to solve the problem of transparency and the laborious nature of part ordering.
“The software development industry has seen significant advancements in the tools to make software, but the hardware/manufacturing industry—12 times the size—still operates over legacy infrastructure,” he said. “We want to change that. At Make, we’re building a digital manufacturing workflow platform that sits on top of a manufacturing machine network across America and Asia.”
Notably, Make functions with the knowledge that there is a growing landscape of digital manufacturing service offerings, but it seeks to differentiate itself over the long term with its high quality products and a focus on interpersonal customer relations. “It’s also important to note that it is a large market, so there’s room for multiple players to co-exist with varying and, in some cases, overlapping offerings—and we’re ok with that. Together we can move manufacturing to the digital age.”
At this stage, Make is specialized in low volume manufacturing (<10K parts) and serves customers primarily in the robotics, consumer electronics, IoT and autonomous mobility and systems spaces. Rustagi adds: “Anything from the proto stage to EVT/DVT stages is our sweet spot.” It offers a range of AM capabilities—including Markforged, Desktop Metal, HP and Carbon technologies—as well as CNC machining, injection molding and design services.
Recently, Make was involved in a charitable project led by the COVID-19 Response Innovation Lab at Stanford University, an initiative that has brought together over 450 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, School of Engineering, School of Medicine, as well as members from across 40 different countries to pursue entrepreneurial or research ventures to fight COVID-19. Make was invited to join the initiative by Stanford MBA grad students who noticed the company’s prior COVID-19 response. Within the project’s framework, Make leveraged its manufacturing resources to help produce face shields for non-profit organizations, and provided free consulting services on the development and production of PPE, O2 concentrators and ventilators.