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Make48 City Series Comes Alive at MakerspaceCT

The Make48 city series made it all the way to Hartford, CT this weekend. For the final 2021 city event, we partnered with the great people at MakerspaceCT.

Photo: teams present their innovation in front of industry leaders and their peers

Much of the event’s success is thanks to the efforts of the MakerspaceCT leadership team of Devra Sisitsky, Mark Colbert, Scott Phillips, and David Sekoll, who ensured the space was sufficiently prepared for 48 hours of non-stop innovation. Throughout the event, Mark and David went above and beyond to help tooltechs, makers, and volunteers use the full array of resources and equipment available in the space.

Images: Tool Techs and leadership

Once each of the eight teams had settled into their stations, they were told to tackle a problem within the field of “outdoor lifestyle,” as selected by challenge sponsor Stanley Black & Decker. As soon as the clock started, each team was quickly off to work, ideating and discussing what was possible with the tooltechs and makers.

Speaking of makers, we had an absolute blast with the makers who made their way out to Hartford. Andrew Klein, who made it to the event thanks to Magswitch, immediately understood the assignment of Make48. One of the teams told me they were explaining their product concept, trying to figure out what materials to gather before they started building. Andy looked around, picked up a couple of scrap plywood pieces, and had a proof-of-concept built for the team within the hour.

There were so many stories like that between the teams and makers, frankly too many to include here. We couldn’t be grateful enough for the help of Ethan Carter, Lucas Mann D'Angelo, Lindsay Zuelich, Whitney Manney, and Andrea Fandetti, sponsored by Maker Pipe, Olfa, TotalBoat, Joann, Kaizen Inserts and Restorer Tool respectively.

Photos: Make48 Featured makers and sponsor products

Throughout the 48 hours of the competition, teams created prototypes and got to meet with focus groups (Tom Rutledge, Wil Jacques, Tracy Shirer, and Richard Mcgeary) as well as patent attorneys (Chris DeBacker and John Cordani) to consult on concerns and viability for their inventions. After these meetings, each team was able to take away some new consideration for their product, helping improve their overall pitch when the time came.

Those adaptations couldn’t have gone so smoothly without our large, talented team of tooltechs. Led in Hartford by Chelsea Lombardo, the tooltechs made sure each team was never without a helping hand. Get ready for a long list of names, ladies and gentlemen: we want to extend thanks to our tooltechs, including Sallye, Dave, Mike F., Michael O., Harvey, Nick, Tyler, Alexander, Pat, Chip, Mike, all three Paul S.’s, and of course Chelsea, for their great work in Hartford.

On Saturday, when we wrapped up the final hours of the competition, eight amazing products were in the hands of their respective teams. It was an incredible feeling to be there as the seconds ticked down to zero, surrounded by a whole bunch of proud, smiling, and exhausted new inventors. In a few hours they would display their work in front of a panel of industry leading judges: Armin Rad from UConn, CEO Chris Allen from iCleanse, as well as Christopher Woolley and Matthew Plaziak from Stanley Black & Decker.

Photos: Judges, pitch event, and winner trophy.

What’s craziest about these events is when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really feel like a traditional competition. Everyone gets to know each other in the pressure cooker of those 48 hours, and by the end, we’re all rooting for each other’s success. So even in the pitching, where each invention and team is pitted against one another to determine who makes it to the national finale, it felt more like a celebration than a competition. There were a lot of laughs, and the loudest applause came from the competitors appreciating the hard work of their peers.

In the end, of course, there could only be two teams to advance, and one winner of the Hartford event. It is my pleasure to announce that those teams are…

Photo: Not the winners

...Going to be announced very soon. Stay tuned for what we have coming up, the Season 5 national event is going to be our best yet, and we’re building the city series even bigger for 2022.

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