Nearly everyone has had a thought, at one time or another, that began, "Wouldn't it be cool if someone made a thing like this?" If the entrepreneurs of Thingsmiths
have their way, those fleeting thoughts will never again have to trail off into nowhere. Thanks to their 3D-printing on demand service, they plan to help anyone make whatever they can dream up.
"The aim with Thingsmiths is to build a company where anyone can go to have nearly anything made," says Owen Tien of Thingsmiths. "I believe that in the very near future service bureaus such as ours will be in every city, fundamentally changing the way people look at the means of production, and how we all do business."
That big vision is beginning with a small, 200 square foot space on S. State St. that opened as Thingsmiths in late 2013. The staff works with any customer's idea for an object, creates the design and prints the item for them. Tien says Ann Arbor was the perfect location to start such a business, as the community is full of "creative and curious people." Thus far, their customers orders and ideas have not disappointed.
"The response has been really fantastic," says Tien. "You don't open a business without being optimistic, but I would consider myself cautiously so. It's blown away my expectations, and I've felt very fortunate to be able to help so many people get their idea made."
Thingsmiths currently employs a staff of three. Tien says the shop is the first "truly consumer-oriented brick-and-mortar retail 3D printing store" in the state.
Source: Owen Tien, Thingsmiths
Writer: Natalie Burg