Changing the Equation
Robson Splane has been using Ashlar-Vellum design software for over 20 years, recently upgrading to the latest versions of Xenon™ and Graphite™. Having used a number of other drafting and 3D modeling packages he has been particularly pleased with the greater flexibility and organic workflow he’s found in both Ashlar-Vellum programs through the years. As Splane puts it:
If you couldn’t get something to work one way, there were usually two or three other ways you could get it to work.
He also liked that he didn’t have to use it regularly to be proficient .
During his life, Splane has been a freelancer, consultant, professor, and owned a design consulting firm, all normal ways of making a living as an industrial designer. But while running the design firm, Splane realized that not only was he no longer getting to do much real design work himself, but that the designs his company produced made a lot of money for their clients with little of it coming back to his team.
Several years ago, he decided to change the equation to form DreamProjX and become a different kind of entrepreneur who licensed out his company’s products to the infomercial industry for manufacturing and selling, collecting a royalty each month. Later they changed the equation further and started several companies that manufacture, market and sell their products directly. Splane tells us, “We make a much better living than licensing, by manufacturing and selling.”
One of DreamProjX newest products is the VersaFormer3D, a multi-function thermal forming system for producing plastic parts, prototypes and packaging. Designed, engineered, modeled and rendered using Graphite and Xenon software programs, the VersaFormer3D can be used as a vacuum-former, a strip heater or a slump-former as needed. It produces parts that are larger and from a greater range of plastic materials than most personal 3D printers. Its build-in vacuum and heat sources utilize a variety of thermal plastics up to .250” in thickness. The device’s foot switch allows special–effects and hands-free operation of the vacuum.
The VersaFormer3D was conceived as an in-house production tool for DreamProjX goods, before they realized it was an excellent fit for product and packaging designers needing short-run and prototype production. Easy to use and highly affordable, it’s been known to pay for itself in just one project. Seeing this excellent return on investment, they soon spun off DreamProjX3D to manufacture, market and sell the machine. This innovative design product will be featured in season two of CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Inventor.
Ashlar-Vellum software fits right in with Splane's innovative way of thinking, helping him get more done with a smaller team, by providing the flexibility and ease-of-use he needs to get his designs to market faster. As he tells us: “If it takes having a huge staff for me to make money, and then I don’t get to do what I’m good at and I enjoy, I really don’t want to do it. We can actually be much bigger and more powerful and much more successful by actually becoming smaller . We made more in three or four years than if you combined twenty years of consulting.”