Posted at 11:01 AM
Guest blog post by Justin Berger, General Electric's FirstBuild
Anyone who enjoys making things is taking part in manufacturing. Our country has mastered the art of mass production to efficiently build nearly everything consumers want. There is now a growing appreciation for the craftsmanship and distinctive character that go into smallbatch building. FirstBuild’s inaugural “Manufacturing Hackathon” shows that quick and creative solutions that are possible when a diverse group of creators are enabled to design, build, test, and iterate at the speed of thought.
You may be familiar with the word “hack” relating to cybersecurity, but the word is being redefined by people who love making, building, and improving things with their own hands. In a traditional sense, a hacker is someone who studies programming to write code with new capabilities; but, the title is being adopted by many more people who look at process, parts, and systems to rework them into new and improved things.
Participants in the first ever “Manufacturing Hackathon” designed and built devices allowing consumers to roast coffee beans in their home ovens. There’s a growing community of coffee lovers who want to be able to roast green coffee beans in their kitchen. Enthusiasts are currently customroasting with stovetops, popcorn poppers, and pricey home roasting machines. The FirstBuild community it working to make it easier to roast at home in standard convection oven.
The FirstBuild microfactory has a workshop with laser cutters, a water jet, welding, 3D printing, and power tools that are typically used to produce new home appliance concepts, which will ultimately be offered in limited quantities to consumers.
Hackathon participants, ranging from high school and university students to seasoned manufacturing professionals, were tasked with designing a system to roast coffee beans in a convection oven, then remove the chaff (or papery skin, which forms during the roasting process). Designs had to be built using equipment already available in the facility, and were rated on their performance, ease of use, and manufacturability.
The winning design, Cool Beans, used a rotisserie mechanism to remove chaff from the roasted beans. It was created by a team comprised of college coop students from Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Indiana — Hunter Stephenson, Diana Alonso, Lydia Pawley, Marcia Suarez, Steven Morse and Trung Doan. The winning entry from the hackathon can be viewed at: https://firstbuild.com/hunterattack/cool-beans-coffee-bean-roaster/
Students from Jeffersontown High School were awarded the second place prize for the event. Each hackathon entry is eligible for additional prizes, including a 3D printer and desktop CNC mills, as part of ongoing design challenge. If you are interested in participating in the design challenge, details are available here: https://firstbuild.com/JBerg/roast-coffee-in-your-home-oven/brief/
If you want to be a part of the next build event or collaborate online, the FirstBuild community would love to work with you!