Management Alum and Entrepreneur Dustin Smith
Engrained Products co-founders Dustin Smith and Ed Ivory (right) use a laser to make cases for the Intel Galileo, Rasberry Pi and Arduino Uno in a Tacoma, Wash. garage.
Makers Scramble to Create Cases for Intel Arduino Board
Engrained developed two laser-cut cases for new Arduino-compatible Galileo board in two weeks.
Nineteen days before a major international product launch, a two-person startup working out of a garage in Tacoma, Wash. was asked to create a case for a product they’d never seen. The founders of Engrained Products burned the midnight oil and delivered not one, but two cases for the new Intel Galileo board.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the new Arduino-compatible microcontroller board based on the company’s new Quark SoC at the Maker Faire in Rome, Italy. The Galileo board is the first in a family of development boards designed to be affordable and accessible to makers and DIY computer enthusiasts. The launch of the Galileo board kicks off a collaboration agreement between Intel and Arduino, the leading open-source hardware platform.
Engrained began work on the Galileo cases that were given to VIPs by Intel at the Rome event after a chance meeting at the Portland Mini Maker Faire in September. Co-founders Ed Ivory and Dustin Smith were at the event hosted by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, showing off the company’s Raspberry Pi and Arduino Uno cases.
“We met Josh and Jay from Intel at the Maker Faire in Portland,” said Ivory. “They said they wanted a case for an unnamed project. I asked about the timeline and Josh said ‘I need it in a week.’ I said ‘wow’ that’s kind of a shock, but I think we can do that and we started the design process that night.”
Jay Melican, senior research scientist in Intel Labs’ Interaction and Experience Research Group, was at the event running to the Intel booth. There were also several members of the Intel senior executive staff there scouting out the maker scene, including Josh Walden, vice president and GM of the Chief Operating Officer Strategy Office.
“It was Josh who spotted the Engrained team’s laser cut cases for Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards first,” said Melican. “He recognized that if we were going to launch Galileo into the maker community, we should already be working with the extended maker community — not just the DIY electronics enthusiasts, but the folks making accessories like Engrained.”
The one-week timeline turned into two, which gave the Engrained team a little breathing room, but the team still worked at a feverish pace. In the first week alone, the duo logged upwards of 200 hours designing and prototyping what ultimately became two distinct Galileo cases.
“We saw an opportunity to capture two different parts of the way makers work,” said Ivory. “Some makers are going to want to put an Arduino shield on the Galileo. That’s what the Flex case is for; it’s designed to enclose it all, whereas the Sport case was designed to be as compact as possible.”
Both the Sport and the Flex cases are made from Baltic birchwood. They use press fit principles with no connectors. The cases were made in Ivory’s garage using a 120-watt Full Spectrum laser — a big investment for a company that only launched four months ago.
Engrained can produce up to 150 of the cases per day and is selling them from its own site. The company plans to sell them through Amazon, eBay and other retail channels, and Ivory see’s big potential.
“At first we didn’t really know what it was, but then we signed an NDA and saw it, and I said ‘this is going to be the next big board,” recalled Ivory. “With that amount of processing power and something that’s laid out exactly like an Arduino. This is just going to take the market.”
Melican, who personally carried 95 cases to the Rome event to distribute to VIPs, hopes the Engrained cases are the first of what will become a “vibrant ecosystem of accessories.”
“Working with makers like Ed and Dustin at Engrained is what the entire Galileo effort is about: A young startup company part of an ecosystem doing really innovative work with 3-D manufacturing and design,” he said. “By working together, we both benefit.”