Make48 D.C Recap

By June 17, 2016General

Missed out on Make48 D.C. this past weekend?

Here’s a recap of what went on!


In 2015, Make48 had only two events in Kansas City. The momentum of the competition was just being built and we were excited for the possibilities in 2016. When we were deciding where our next event would be, we wanted to broaden our horizons, and that is when the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation approached us about having a Make48 competition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Who could turn that down?

2016 began with planning this spectacular event, and this past weekend was a once in a lifetime experience. We could not have pulled off this competition without the help from the Lemelson Center staff. They not only assisted in organizing and planning the event, but stayed the entire 48 hours as well!

Make48 D.C. was such a innovative event to see. It started off on Friday, June 10th with speakers and the challenge theme announcement. Arthur Daemmrich and Sean Murphy kicked off the event with a few opening remarks then Elizabeth Dougherty spoke on behalf of the United States Patent Office. Alison Oswald also spoke about being and archivist at the Lemelson Center.  Then a group of very special sponsors spoke about their time on Shark Tank. Aaron Krause, Founder of Scrub Daddy, Judy Edwards, Co-Founder of Squatty Potty, went over the history of their products and how they got to be where they are today.

After all the speakers, the exciting challenge theme was announced! It was, drumroll please….Eco-Friendly Household Products! Teams could create products based on water conservation, recycled products, saving power, etc. Once the challenge was announced, the teams were off!

Saturday came around quickly as the teams were off to work. Once they came up with their product idea, and sketched it out, they headed over to our Tool Techs to make their product come to life. The teams had access to woodworkers, welders, graphic designers, and more. They also saw their product being built by Ultimaker 3D Printers, Epilog Laser Cutters, and ShopBot CNC Tools.

While the teams were hard at work, we had more speakers take the stage outside the Spark Lab in the National Museum of American History. Michael Razavi of the United States Patent Office spoke about how to obtain a patent and the process behind it. We also had the Shark Tank All Stars speak again so the public got a chance to hear about their fascinating stories. The public also was able to hear about what teams thought of the competition. One team member from each team shared their thoughts about the competition so far and what they hoped to create.

Saturday and Sunday was full on for the teams. They had to not only finalize their products, but also create a short video to tell the audience what the product does in their pitches. Along with the videos, they had to put together any marketing materials, like signs, and a powerpoint. Judging came right around the corner and then the 48 hours was up.

The teams had to pitch their innovative products to top representatives from QVC, AnthroTronix, The Handy Camel, and Pivot International. Each judge was specialized in their own industry which ranged from manufacturing to taking products to market. It was exciting to see what the teams created! We saw products that had outlets to charge items using solar power to accessible compost bins. The judges ended up making their decision for their top 3:

  1. Save Flow by Team 801- a water conservation faucet attachment
  2. Lemon Shine by Team Trident- cleaning product using all natural lemon juice
  3.  Wet’s Up! by Inventertainers- water absorbing product to keep plants hydrated

Thank everyone involved for taking part in this once in a lifetime event. To the teams, this event would be nothing without your hard work and motivation to compete. To the sponsors, your support means the world, so thank you for believing in us and that everyone has a big idea. To the Tool Techs, thank you for working with the teams the entire 48 hours and keeping their spirits high. To the Lemelson Center and the National Museum of American History, thank you for allowing us to have this competition at this amazing location and working with us to plan and execute the event.

Make48 isn’t stopping here. We are gearing up for the next competition back in… KANSAS CITY! We love our hometown and cannot wait to bring this event back to where it originated. It will be October 28th-30th at the Kansas City Art Institute. The team applications are open, so apply today!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for all the updates on the next competition!

The Make48 Team