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Join the Shovelution: From a Rapid Prototype to Shark Tank

Posted by admin

May 3, 2013 10:11:00 AM

We’re eight days from the ABC Shark Tank talent search!

In a little over a week NextFab will be teeming with inventors, entrepreneurs, and creators all vying for a chance to be on the hit television show Shark Tank.

We had our first of two Shark Tank related events this past Tuesday. We offered entrepreneurs a chance to test their elevator pitch to a panel of celebrity business experts from Wharton Business School, Philly StartUp Leaders, and IP / Business law specialists. Each presenter was given valuable feedback on business stategy, financing, and negotiation.

NextFab member Howie Rosenshine participated in this event and presented his ingenious Shovelution! Howie was gracious enough to speak to us about his experience in front of the mock sharks.


1. How was your experience overall at the mock Shark Tank event?

There is no substitute for standing in front of real live stone faced strangers while trying to pitch your idea, particularly if you don’t do this sort of thing often.  So that was quite valuable for me.

2. Do you feel prepared to give your big pitch on May 11th?

Not really, but I certainly do need to practice loosening up and probably speaking up as well.

3. What advice can you share with other presenters?

You should always present ideas, bullets, whatever in groups of three, because people remember best in groups of three.  If you have sub items, then arrange them in groups of three as well, etc.

This may take some practice, but it is worth it.  It is a simple and effective communications technique.

Remember, three only.

4. How did your idea evolve from shovel to shovelution?

The patent for my auxiliary handle for a shovel was issued in 1995, and it took about a year for the patent office to process it before issuing it.  And I certainly spent a number of years during the process of invention and creating and submitting the patent application. I can’t remember how many exactly…my memory isn’t what it never was.

5. What part did NextFab play in the development of your prototype and finished item?

Before NextFab, I knew nothing about 3D CAD, 3D printing or injection molding.  

Tomorrow, I am having 2000 custom injection molded pieces delivered for the Shovelution.  I did the CAD for those pieces, the 3D printing of the various prototypes on the Stratasys and the modifications necessary for a successful mold run (first try).


6. On a scale of 1 to 10 how nervous are you for the 11th?

I’m pretty nervous, typically.

7. On a scale of 1 to 10 how excited are you for the 11th?

I don’t get excited, typically.

8. Any last tips, tricks, or pointers you can share?

Sure, you know how they say you should picture your audience naked to stop from being nervous during your presentation.  Well let’s say there are 3 people you are presenting to for the Shark tank pitch.  If you take even 10 seconds for each judge/listener you’ve already blown 1/2 of your allotted time.

So my advice is to skip the naked reconstruction, and use the full 60 seconds for your pitch.

You can always linger afterwards.

Also, can you give us a little bio on you. What makes Howie tick! I mean besides the fact you’re hilariously funny.

I have undergraduate and graduate degrees, in Molecular Biology and Computer Science, from Penn State and Penn, respectively.   I spent much of my career at Sun Microsystems (which was purchased by Oracle a few years back) as a software and/or systems engineer, until Oracle decided that I needed a change of scenery.

At heart I am a problem solver.  It feels the same to me whether I’m solving a software problem, a hardware problem, a mechanical problem etc.  That’s not to say I’m equally good at all of them, or in fact to imply that I’m any good at any of them at all. But that is how I perceive the world.



Topics: philadelphia, 3d-printing, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio, injection-molding, 3d-cad, shark-tank, rapid-prototype, rapid-prototyping

Thank you note to all Shark Tank practice run judges!

Posted by admin

May 3, 2013 10:10:57 AM

The “practice” session “Get Ready To Swim With The Sharks” with celebrity business experts from Wharton Business School, Philly StartUp Leaders, and IP/business law specialists was a huge success.

A HUGE thank you to all of our judges:

John E. Burrows, Wharton School of Business

Jack May, Wharton School of Business

Douglas Cox, Wharton School of Business

Tracy Blumenfeld, RapidTrails, Wharton School of Business

Patricia Owens, J.P. Morgan, Wharton School of Business

Leslie Mitts, Wharton School of Business

Lawrence Gelburd, Wharton School of Business

Patrick FitzGerald, Wharton School of Business

Bob Moul, Philly Startup Leaders

Wayne Kimmel , Artists & Instigators

Francis TaneyStevens & Lee

Peter Bressler, Bressler Group

Terry Hicks, Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Brad Denenberg, Seed Philly

Look out for our next test run “Test Your Elevator Pitch with Ben Franklin Tech Partners" coming up this Saturday, which is by the way a completely sold out event!


Topics: philadelphia, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio, shark-tank


Posted by admin

Apr 27, 2013 2:25:36 PM

NextFab/ Evan Malone on 6abc!

3D printing is a new technology promising to revolutionize how we get products and the Delaware Valley is becoming a hotbed for it.”

Topics: philadelphia-phl-upenn, 3d-printing, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio

NextFab is Growing Up (Obligatory Policy Updates)

Posted by admin

Apr 22, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Fellow Makers!

NextFab has been in business a little more than 3 years now, and throughout our history, we’ve tried to strike a balance between making membership as affordable as possible and providing the highest quality facilities and services to help our members achieve their goals.

An explanation of Community Membership

Standard Membership offers tremendous value - access to a multi-million dollar facility, expert staff, and community for only $129 per month! However, most members experience periods of time when family, work, or financial constraints make maintaining or using a membership more difficult.  In response, we have created Community Membership and Day Passes as a courtesy for those members wanting to step away from full time membership without incurring re-initiation fees and losing access to the community.

Because new members typically take many classes and need frequent facility access, we recommend that you initially join at the Standard Member level to avoid the additional cost of day passes. Nevertheless, we have offered the option to join at the Community level, because it provides a low-risk way of “test driving” membership.

You may have joined NextFab as a Community Member because you were unsure about what to expect from membership.  Hopefully, you liked what you discovered and decided to take more classes. At this point, you may have been unhappy to discover that a Day Pass and a class fee are required.  If so, we apologize. Please know that if you find yourself wanting to take classes and dive into a project, we want you here! As a Community (or Weekend) member, you can upgrade your membership at any time (even mid-month) to make an intensive effort more affordable. The cost difference will be prorated and you will not be double charged.  If you then find yourself between projects, just let us know before the next billing cycle and we’ll happily change your membership type back to Weekend or Community.

What you get with membership at any level:

  • Discounts on and access to special events and workshops

  • Email updates about specials and pre-sales for limited offers

  • Member forum access as a learning resource and to find help/work

You never need a day pass for:

  • New member orientation

  • Wood shop safety training

  • Metal shop safety training

  • Complimentary introductory classes, such as:

  • Getting started at NextFab, a 1 hour guided Q-and-A

  • Introduction to CAD

  • Intro to 3D Printing

  • NextFabulous Social events, hosted monthly

When a day pass is required for Community Members:

  • To work in the facility more than 1 day per month

  • To take a paid class at NextFab

  • To participate in a club meeting such as robotics or welding

Junior Membership Options

With a lot of feedback from members, we decided it should be our goal to provide families an affordable option to bring their children to NextFab. With that we would like to present a new option for members with families:

  • Adult members with any membership level may add a minor to their membership for an additional $30/month

There are a few fine print details below but that’s pretty much it. Bring your kids and work on projects together. We’re going to try out this pilot program for the next couple of months and see how popular it is. Don’t worry about your child being kicked out if we don’t continue the program, you’ll be grandfathered in until you youngster hits 18.


  • Security deposit is shared between all members of “Family”

  • Initiation fee of $150 is required for each member of “Family”

  • Adult member may be parent, legal guardian, or mentor with written approval from parent/legal guardian

  • Minor must be directly supervised by adult at ALL times

  • Adult and minor must both be certified on any hazardous tool to be used

  • Adult must attend any training sessions attended by minor

  • Adults with existing certification may audit training session for free

  • Minors 10-13 are restricted to the 2nd floor and classroom but may attend all safety trainings in a “hands off” manor if accompanied by an approved adult.

  • Minors 14-17 are restricted to supervised use at the discretion of NextFab Studio management

  • Minors may be added to membership at any time

  • Minors may be removed from membership at the end of a current billing cycle

  • When a member turns 18, their add-on status will end. They can either end their membership or continue as an individual member (at any level) by placing their own security deposit down.

Make On!
Ross Kessler
Vice President, Member Services

Topics: Uncategorized


Posted by admin

Apr 13, 2013 5:09:00 PM


Today, NextFab’s weld-master, Steve Webb, and his apprentice Jason Browne, provided a demonstration of rapid-sculpting of bike frames for a group of Philadelphians considering entering mobile sculptures into the upcoming Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby.

Here’s Steve’s play-by-play of the welding demonstration:

"After showing our visitors around the metal shop, we gave them an option of whether to make a tricycle or a parallel bike. They voted for the tricycle because it was more complex and would give them a chance to view a wider range of techniques. We took three bicycles to start with and we put them up on the welding table and lined them up and clamped them upright, in parallel. We pulled the one to the front to make a tricycle arrangement with our guests telling us how far forward to place the front frame.  We cut the fourth bicycle frame apart with the oxy-acetylene torch and we took several pieces off of it for leaders to attach the front bike to the two parallel back bikes, and put these aside for later. Next, we cut a piece of square box tubing to go between the seat tubes of the second two bikes to hold them upright and apart from each other. We demonstrated how to MIG weld them by grinding off the paint first and then welding the corners. We demonstrated how to use a pneumatic die grinder to grind "fish mouths" into the two round tubes so they fit right against the side of another tube, just like a pipe fitter would do, and then showed how to weld around those joints. We took the assembled tricycle frame off the table and set it on the floor. We made sure that the front frame’s pedals were clear so when people pedal their heels would not get caught.  With that, and just a bit of reassembly, the trike frame is ready to ride. And that was it!"

Steve teaches welding and metal shop classes and is the organizer of NextFab’s welding club. You can often find Steve buzzing around the metal shop.

Zoom in on pictures to see the full slideshow.

Topics: philadelphia, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio, nextfab, kinetic-sculpture-derby, fabrication, kensington

Learn Grasshopper: Flexible Geometry through Visual Coding

Posted by admin

Apr 4, 2013 10:34:00 AM



NextFab Studio will be offering a two day Grasshopper workshop with artist and designer Chris Landau.
This two day course will cover the basics of Grasshopper, including practical applications like preparing geometry for prototyping and touch on artistic aspects of this powerful software.
This workshop is open to NextFab’s members and non-members. A working knowledge of Rhino is strongly recommended. Space is limited.

You can find out more information HERE.

Topics: workshop, grasshopper, philadelphia, olin, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio, nextfab

Featured NextFab Member—Laate Olukotun

Posted by admin

Apr 2, 2013 2:42:33 PM

We think you should meet Laate Olukotum — a creative guy and an all around great person anyone would be lucky to meet and know.

We recently ran a featured profile story on him on our website. You can read the full story here.

Thanks, Laate, for being awesome!


Topics: Uncategorized, featured-member, nextfab-studio, nextfab

Weekly Staff Picks, November 4, 2012

Posted by admin

Nov 4, 2012 1:24:19 PM

Topics: simulation, nfs, solar-power, alternative-fuel, 3d-printing, Uncategorized, audio, super-computer, augmented-reality, nextfab, microcontroller, disney


Posted by admin

Oct 19, 2012 5:44:12 PM


SHOW&TELL Wrap-up: Chris Landau uses parametric modeling to creates organic, abstract systems which resemble both the city and the cell. He also revealed his ambitious plan to turn Philadelphia into a biofuel farm :)

Topics: Uncategorized

Weekly Staff Picks, September 23, 2012

Posted by admin

Sep 23, 2012 1:18:46 PM

Here are our Staff Picks for this week.   Aviation, Art, Crocheting, 3D Printing and Woodworking are what we have for today.   We hope you enjoy them!

Reuters   Jet aircraft running on sawdust or straw?   Sustainable fuel for Turbine and Jet powered vehicles. - Gregg

treehugger   A crocheted playground! - Brandon

Cargocollective   Lots of cool concept art by Scott Robertson (see also: Design Studio Press). - Alex

core77   CNC milled and 3D printed Fisher Price records. - Christine

Inspir3d   Is it melting wood? - Brandon

Topics: nfs, crochet, sustainable-fuel, 3d-printing, Uncategorized, woodworking, cnc-milling, nextfab, art, aviation


About this blog

Welcome to the NextFab Blog, where we discuss the ideas changing the world as we know it. Step inside the revolutionary world of 3D Printing technology, traditional and Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machinery, innovation and imagination.



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