"Good engineers know that they make mistakes. They always want the physical prototype. So our goal is not to replace the printed circuit board manufacturing facility, but to get you to that board house faster. That’s the challenge," Bantam Tools CEO Danielle Applestone explained in a recent extensive interview on Make.
Interviewer DC Denison, editor of Maker Pro News, has covered the intersection of makers and business for many years now, and he asked a healthy array of questions, covering everything from hardware development to the potential of desktop manufacturing in educational environments to Bantam Tools' recent acquisition and rebranding. One interesting observation he made is that the qualities that Danielle values in a lean hardware startup — most notably flexibility, rapid iteration, and intelligent design — are embodied in the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine.
Each machine is hand-built in Bantam Tools' micro-factory in Berkeley, Calif., by a small but dedicated and intrepid team. On that note, Danielle affirmed, "We manufacture our machines in-house. We have component suppliers, and then we do final assembly and quality control in-house." And roughly 80% of the components used in the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine are manufactured in the U.S. In the interview, Danielle explains why that's so important:
"These manufacturers are real people. And the more that they care about my product, and the more that they know that I’m going to promote their business, the better. Also in the beginning, especially, quality really matters and it’s easier to do higher quality things in smaller batches. We’ve found that as you move farther away from your manufacturer, and batch size gets larger, the mistakes get more costly."
As to where Bantam Tools is heading as a company, Danielle shares, "We want to keep iterating, and keep improving, and really move into getting more people involved." She adds, "We’re bringing technology that eliminates all the middle players: it’s like if you want to make something, here’s the tool you can use to make it."
Read the full article over on Make.