My Perspective of Make48

By March 8, 2016Tips and Tricks

Can you recall a day in your past where you were just hanging out with some of your closest friends, but for some reason when you recall that memory, it just makes you SMILE from ear to ear and feel great all over? I have a memory just like that. Let me tell you a little story about me and my friends.

I have always loved tinkering with things, and always loved to figure out how they worked from an early age. When I got older, it seemed hard to find people like me that was always trying to come up with new inventions. I was always drawing on every piece of paper I could find, trying to figure out some kind of new invention that I thought of that day. Then I found myself going to the local hardware store and buying a lot of odd things to just tear them apart and put them back together to make some weird new invention. I never really new the invention process to make my inventions a market ready product.

You see, I have always had some great friends but never seemed to find those friends that thought like I did. That was until I found my local Invention Club (Inventor Center of Kansas City). I remember attending my first meeting and Stephen Key was the guest speaker. To my surprise I found out that everyone in the audience was like me. I remember being so shocked that I found people that thought just like me. I remember, I didn’t even sleep at all that night from all the excitement.

Fast-forward four years later, I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for— things couldn’t get better. That’s when two of my closest friends, Curt McMillian and Rich Brull, came up with a new invention contest they called Make48. Teams of inventors would come from all over the world in one place to have an invention contest for 48 hours straight. The great part is they said anyone could form a team because they believe everyone has great ideas for new consumer products. The unique twist is that the inventor teams don’t have to have certain skill sets to compete in the invention contest. CAD drawing, 3D printing (what’s that?), CNC cutting, and laser cutting could be foreign to a team, but there were ways they could compete, and even win! They formed “Tool Techs” to be resources for everyone competing. Tool techs could even check to see if your new invention idea has been patented before. The Make48 founders have carefully selected a group of professionals for each skill set needed to help you along the way from concept drawing to a prototype. This is where I come in the picture again. I am one of the Tool Techs, and also lucky enough to be one of the co-owners of Make48— thanks, Curt and Rich!

Another great twist to Make48 is that none of the teams (that’s you) are informed of the competition theme or problems to be solved. That way every inventor team has the same advantage as the next inventor team when the challenge starts. All the teams are given a category to invent in then some problems that are found in that category to solve. Last October the category was Barbecue, and the first place team was a group of young ladies from a high school robotics team, with the help of their mentor—proud of you ladies!

Our third invention contest is coming up in June and will be held in a very unique place. If you are like me and want to find people just like yourself to be around and possible, make some new friends—I know I will! Then come join us at our next Make48 invention contest. I can promise you when you recall later in life the memory of competing at a Make48 inventor contest it will make you SMILE from ear to ear with great memories for a life time!


Bob Coulston

Make48 Tool Tech

Want to apply for the next Make48 contest? Head over to the application page!

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