At the end of 2015 I was ready for a new challenge after my time at Google. I wanted to get back into making products that empower other people to make things (like I had done at MakerBot), and I wanted to do it at a small startup where I could have ownership and free reign over the system architecture and electrical design of whatever I’d be working on. I had the good fortune of meeting the fine folks from Shaper, and the chemistry was immediately obvious. I joined the company as its sixth employee and never looked back. As the Head of Electrical Engineering and the Director of Hardware at Shaper, I have been responsible for the entirety of the electrical engineering and system architecture design of Shaper Origin, our first product. On top of that, I’ve managed our regulatory certifications, built our factory assembly line from the ground up, developed in-house tools and equipment for stress testing our products, and much more. If you want to see some of Origin’s inner-workings and electronics (my favorite part!), check out the teardown video that we did with iFixit.
What is Shaper Origin?
Shaper Origin is the world’s first handheld CNC machine. Forget everything you thought you knew about power tools before you try to wrap your head around what Origin is capable of doing. Using computer vision and real-time motor control Origin can understand its position in 3D space and enable you to build things that were either previously impossible, incredibly time consuming, or required expensive gantry CNC systems the size of a room. When you want to make something, you can design it in the CAD software of your choosing, use onboard design tools (no computer required!), or download existing plans from our online repository. Origin is web-connected and can download your plans automatically for virtual placement on your workpiece. Lock a design to your workpiece, then just follow the lines on the screen to cut with Origin’s in-built 720W trim router. As you move, origin compensates for your movements in real time, ensuring you cut exactly what you’ve designed, even if you don’t have the steadiest hands. To best understand how Origin works, watch these videos:
What can you Make with Shaper Origin?
The sky is the limit! Our customers have made everything from fine brass jewelry to full-size dining room tables. Origin will cut soft/hardwood, soft metals, plastics, composites, and more. Watch some of our YouTube videos to see various projects that we’ve made with Shaper Origin:
Check out all the #shapermade projects that our users are posting on instagram: #shapermade Instagram Feed
Do You Build Stuff with Shaper Origin?
Of course! One of the things that drew me to joining the Shaper team was that everybody at Shaper loves to build things. It’s a core part of our company ethos. I’m no master woodworker, but I’ve built my fair share of things with Shaper Origin. Here are a few things that I’ve built for my home with Shaper Origin:
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So proud of our new homemade bookshelves! @leahrannosaurus and I designed them in @adskfusion360, cranked out the Baltic Birch shelves with @shapertools Origin, and used ordinary 1" iron plumbing pipes and fittings to build these book shelves for our apartment. #shaperorigin #shapermade #festool #furniture #diy #diyhomedecor
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Our new apartment has weirdly narrow kitchen drawers. We couldn't find any cutlery organizers that would fit them! @shapertools to the rescue! My #shapermade cutlery holder fits perfectly, and keeps our drawer neat. It only took a few hours to design it and build it with Shaper Origin. Check out shapertools.com!
Shaper Origin in the News
There is tons of press coverage about Shaper Origin, so here are just a few highlights…
- 01/10/2018 – Testing the Shaper Origin Handheld CNC! (Adam Savage’s “Tested”)
- 12/20/2017 – Hands-on With The Shaper Origin – Exclusive Review (Popular Woodworking Magazine)
- 10/23/2017 – Editors’ Choice Award 2017 (Tools of the Trade)
- 08/25/2016 – Hands-On the Shaper Origin: A Tool that Changes How we Build (Hack-a-Day)
There are more press links listed on the Shaper Press Page.
My Blog Posts About my Work at Shaper
- 10/13/2019 – Empathetic Engineering: Watch my Keynote and a Shaper Spotlight from AltiumLive 2018
- 06/03/2018 – Shaper Origin Teardown with iFixit
- 03/01/2018 – Talking Power Tools and Electrical Engineering on Altium’s OnTrack Podcast
- 01/28/2018 – Guest on the Make(Break) Podcast
- 02/18/2017 – How About a Game of Chinese Checkers?
- 01/31/2016 – Building the Future of Power Tools @ Shaper!