From the Good Ideas File: The Micro-Factory Cometh

Two weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas for the SXSW v2v conference, which was a fascinating deep dive into the world of entrepreneurship, tech wizardry, innovation and general coolness (the last part of which left me feeling distinctly under-qualified…) I’ll be writing more on that at when I get a chance to come up for air, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a few Good Ideas that I encountered.

One of those was that I had a chance to meet the General Manager and the Retail Manager for a new branch of Local Motors getting ready to open in Downtown Las Vegas.  You can see a couple of photos with commentary on my Instagram stream here and here.  If you’re not familiar with Local Motors, check them out — it’s a company that basically crowdsources designs for stuff ranging from helmets to electric bikes to race cars, builds them on demand, and gives you the chance to build it yourself in their own facilities if you want.  Wanna try out your arc welder skills?  Here’s your chance.

drift trike
This is called an Electric Drift Trike. Don’t ask me. But check out for a pretty stunning range of stuff.

Not only is this gearhead heaven, but it’s one of the most interesting models of the future of manufacturing that I’ve seen anywhere.  And not only is General Electric trying to disrupt their own model by partnering with this tiny startup, but they have already carried this into action by launching  FirstBuild with LocalMotors in Louisville, Kentucky, about the same time I was flying back from Vegas.

The possibility of highly customized, on-demand manufacturing, easy prototyping and perhaps most amazingly, crowdsourcing of products requiring technical design chops…. you think the Local Economy Revolution book described a future that sounded like a wild ride?  What’s the LocalMotors/FirstBuild model going to do to your local economy?  Hint:  it will do a big something.

Get ready.  And hold on to your hat.  And you can get a virtual tour of FirstBuild below:

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