After the success of the Replicator 2 and 2X, MakerBot was looking to redesign their product architecture from the ground up with three different products lines for their next generation of 3d printers: one new flaship machine (Replicator 5th Generation), one to break further into the professional market (Replicator Z18), and one to appeal more to the consumer market (Replicator Mini). With my background in consumer products and 3d printer design, I was brought in to lead the development of a truly consumer-friendly 3d printer.

In designing the Replicator Mini, codenamed Tinkerbell, I kept forefront in my mind that with a lower price point comes higher sales volumes, a broader usage case, and larger ramifications for reliability issues. While this would be the least expensive offering for the company, this would still probably be the first and most expensive 3d printer for its consumer. As such, while I had to keep cost in mind, my main focuses were on improving reliability and ease of use.

As MakerBot more than tripled in size during my time there, I also took on a number of roles at different points to guide growth. From a design standpoint, I laid the foundation for redesigning the filament spools for the fifth generation products and scoped the effort. In order to make sure that the cost-down options I was investigating would not negatively impact reliability or performance, I spearheaded the development of a set of standardized test procedures for product evaluation. Having more experience in product management than most of the department, I developed new product development processes and helped other product leads implement them.

Over the course of Tink's development, I took on many different responsibilities for the project. At some points I was the only person working on it; at other times I coordinated a team. In a growing company, I took on a de facto project manager role and was effective enough that there was never a full time project manager assigned full time to Tinkerbell, freeing up the project management department to focus on other projects. When the processes and procedures necessary to ensure success were in place, I followed them; when they weren't, I designed them. My hard work was rewarded when the product was announced at CES and won awards from four different publications: Popular Mechanics, Digital Trends, ZDNet, and PC Pro.