Pittsburgh Technical Council

BoXZY Brings a Rapid-Change Fablab to the Masses

BoXZY Brings a Rapid-Change Fablab to the Masses

Article Published: January 15, 2016

By Jonathan Kersting, TEQ Associate Publisher

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 At 3.10.23 PMWhen BoXZY debuted at the New York Maker Faire is was hailed a “Desktop TechShop.”

No one had ever seen a 3-D printer, CNC machine and laser etcher all in one compact box. Anyone could now have the capacity of a small machine shop right in the comfort of their own home or office.

Brothers Joel and Justin Johnson dreamt up Boxzy less than two years ago to provide powerful production tools most people could only dream of getting their hands on.

At first, BoXZY was imagined to be a robust 3-D printer.

“That wasn’t good enough!” said Joel Johnson. “We went in the direction of interchangeability. We wanted BoXZY to have three major tools and got the idea of an interchangeable head.”

To make such a machine, Joel said that he and Justin took just about every class in [Pittsburgh’s] TechShop. Joel soaked up computer-aided design and drafting while Justin nerded out on system design.

BoXZY came to life in TechShop as the brothers milled and water-jetted its components and parts. With a working unit up and running, the Johnson brothers had 100 beta-BoXZYs manufactured; but the brothers still insisted on more refinements.

BoXZY launched a Kickstarter that raised $1.2 million and hundreds of customers. It became the most successful Pittsburgh-based Kickstarter to date. Entrepreneurs, makers, small businesses and schools lined up to get their very own BoXZY.

Kerf Case deploys BoXZY to make its internationally renowned phone cases. The company’s unique, high-end cases have received recognition in the Wall Street Journal, GQ and Elle magazines.

BoXZY comes with a one-year subscription to Autodesk’s Fusion 360 Ultimate. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE platform for product development. It combines industrial and mechanical design, simulation, collaboration, and machining in a single package.

Boxzy 385Joel said BoXZY is already working on adding new interchangeable heads to its product offerings. He said these new heads will offer different types of cutting blades and printing resolutions to allow even more design possibilities.

With its first production run of BoXZYs sold out and pre-orders building at a fast clip, Joel said he is actively seeking more working capital to meet demand. His Pittsburgh manufacturing facility is buzzing making and boxing up Boxys.

In less than two years, Boxzy went from an idea to a tool that is helping entrepreneurs, makers, students and enthusiasts of all types bring their ideas to life with some of the most sophisticated machinery to be found.

When asked how Boxzy was built and brought to the marketplace so quickly, Joel said: “Clear vision has helped us move fast!”

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