Bar Smith is from Mill Valley, CA and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in June of 2014. He graduated with a BSEE in electrical engineering with a concentration in power systems. His hobbies include making things, gardening, and hobby UAVs. Bar does all of the hardware and software development for Makesmith. Bar decided to develop a CNC machine because he had access to a laser cutter and a board mill through his participation in a research lab. Having access to Computer Aided Machining was an incredible experience for him and he wanted to share that experience with more people.
Tom Beckett is from Santa Clarita, CA and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in June 2013 with a degree in History and a minor in Technology and Information Management. He has a devoted interest in all things start-up, business, and entrepreneurial. Launching a small business was a project he wished to undertake immediately after finishing his studies. He has participated in several group business projects through in-class and extracurricular programs.
Thomas Palmer is from Morgan Hill, CA and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in June of 2013 with a degree in psychology. He lived with Bar and Tom during the router’s infamous pizza box phase and later collaborated with them to produce the Kickstarter video as well as the photographs for the campaign. Additionally, he was instrumental in the production of the Kickstarter CNC kits, developed our assembly videos, and even created the music for them.
Justin Beirold spent the summer of 2014 working on marketing and business development for the Makesmith team. He is passionate about technology, our rapidly evolving economy, and the new landscape of digital products which are changing our world.
Dillon is a graphic designer and illustrator that spent the summer of 2014 developing our visual branding work, as well as managing our artist relations.
Why the Makesmith CNC Exists Today
Two years ago, Bar Smith began working in a graduate students’ lab that granted him access to a laser cutter and a board router. No time passed before he wanted his own rapid prototyping tool – in his home. After searching online, he came to the conclusion that the most economical CNC machine available could be purchased for about $600. For a student with limited finances, purchasing a CNC machine was simply impossible, so he decided to build his own.
Baffled by this lack of accessibility to CNC hardware, Bar realized that there are groups of fellow engineers, hobbyists, tinkers, and potentially even artists that could benefit enormously from their own desktop CNC machine. With this newly acquired motivation, Bar was determined to share desktop CNC router with others.
The earliest developments of the machine started in the Summer of 2012. Bar arrived home from lab on many occasions with newly developed forms of the CNC router made out of laser-cut pizza boxes. Within months the pizza box prototypes began to resemble our current product as Bar started to employ the actual frame material (MDF). Soon after, parts such as the servos (motors) and encoders began arriving in the mail. Within a few weeks, the faint sounds of small power tools could be heard from his room during every hour of the day.
Two years later, after several interludes in progress to focus on school, the design is finished, and we are trying to share it with the world.
Becoming Makesmith Accessible Technology
Bar and Tom met in Fall 2009 and became close friends starting in Spring 2011 while working together at an on-campus burger joint. In Winter 2013 they decided they wanted to attempt to share the CNC router with the world. Since then, the two have spent their time fine-tuning the CNC machine, researching the CNC industry, and turning the Makesmith CNC into a small business.
In 2012 Bar and Tom worked alongside two other students on an aerial drone imaging applications project called Skyography which won multiple awards.
The name Makesmith is a play on several words and ideas. “Make” comes from the Maker Movement. Makesmith is a tangent on the idea that in the old days blacksmiths were “makers” of that time. Finally, Bar’s last name is Smith which conveniently made the name Makesmith the obvious selection.