Laykanics receive TCT Start Up Award
Laykanics presented with the first ever TCT Start Up Award by Todd Grimm and TCT Head of Content, Jim Woodcock.
The TCT Show has been championing the most innovative 3D technology startups in its Start Up Zone for the last three years, providing a platform for up and coming companies to showcase their products amongst the industry’s biggest players. This year, the Start Up Zone was given a boost with the introduction of the very first TCT Start Up Award, a prize awarded to the most promising young company making its TCT Show debut.
Battling it out in a showcase of five minute pitches from each Start Up Zone company, the winner was UK-based Laykanics which impressed the judges with its take on engineering education through a range of 3D printed mechanical toy projects. Officially launched in February this year, Laykanics is a platform of useful mechanical engineering projects that, unlike other 3D printing marketplaces, provide not only functionality but hands-on experience with mechanical engineering principles.
Alfonso Villanueva, Director at Laykanics and an engineer by trade, says that the decline in interest in STEM subjects along with the emergence of new technologies like 3D printing, inspired him to set up the company.
“There are all these initiatives trying to revamp STEM skills and trying to push and generate more interest in the younger generation,” Alfonso explained. “I thought “how come interest is being lost in something I'm so passionate about?”.I saw these emerging, amazing technologies like 3D printing and I thought, being a design engineer myself, I could definitely link them together and start something that would be helpful for these initiatives and at the same time continue my career path.
”With around 200 users already signed up to the service, Laykanics has seen a wide range of users taking an interest in its projects from hobbyists and students to engineering professionals. The projects are available in two sign-up tiers, both free and paid, which allow different levels of access. As the database increases and more projects are added, the team envisions more full subscriptions particularly within local STEM initiatives and hacker spaces.
“We really want engineering to be for whoever wants to take it,” Alfonso commented. “As a start up we want to gather as much information as we can from potential users and see which groups are actually becoming more interested than others.”
As winners of the Start Up Award, Laykanics were awarded a one-on-one consultation with additive manufacturing stalwart and leading industry consultant Todd Grimm, along with an extensive TCT marketing package and £3,000 cash to help grow their business. On winning the grand prize, Alfonso believes Laykanics’ use of 3D printing as a tool rather than trying to create the fastest or cheapest 3D printer on the market, provides more value and opportunities to scale up and have an impact.
The company is now exploring expansion options for which they see three clear paths including academia where the platform is quickly adopted by schools or universities using the projects as educational tools. The second is establishing relationships with big industrial firms though sponsorship opportunities where they could incorporate their products or principles into Laykanics’ mechanical toys. The third is by looking at new technologies or gadgets outside of 3D printing that could also help increase the educational capabilities of their projects. The company is also set to hold its first round of investment in the coming months, which will help boost its expansion plans. For now, Laykanics is focussing its efforts on promoting projects just about anywhere where 3D printers are accessible to increase its user base and continue its mission to drive passion and fun back into STEM subjects.
“Additive manufacturing is playing a role but also the maker movement, hacker spaces and so on. I think that interest in STEM has started to turn a little and there are STEM initiatives all over the world. Obviously you can’t measure it and say “we've managed to revert the tendency for STEM skills to be lost” but Ido see the change in perception, that’s for sure.”