3D Printing Opens Doors for Inventors

By Tracy Spahr

Attaining the money it takes to invest into ideas and launch them into the phases of prototypes and searching for investors is hard work, and not achieved by many. But 3D printing has helped change that reality for many inventors and aspiring entrepreneurs. Wes Kouba from Dallas, TX had his great idea four years ago after a record breaking, devastating tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, AL, leaving many trapped in storm shelters with three feet of debris on top of them. Wes wondered if there was a solution that allowed shelter and safety, without leaving people trapped underground.

When living in tornado valley, many become accustomed to constantly taking cover, especially during the spring months. One risk that comes with taking cover underground is debris piling on top of the shelter, and becoming trapped inside. Wes had an idea that offered a solution to this problem - the Tornado Pod ®. The pod is a 5X5X6 foot structure that anchors into the ground; its doors slide open, rather than being pushed out against piled up debris. It is surrounded by a cage structure and shield to protect those inside from flying debris, and it only requires about a 5X5 foot section of yard.

...while pictures are great, when an inventor can show potential suppliers a model that they can hold in their hands and move, the selling process becomes much easier.

Wes recently patented his Tornado Pod invention and has developed prototypes using a 3D printer at The UPS Store franchise located in Frisco, TX. When Wes goes to suppliers, he takes his models with him, Wes explained that while pictures are great, when an inventor can show potential suppliers a model that they can hold in their hands and move, the selling process becomes much easier.

We wish Wes success as he takes the Tornado Pod from prototype to reality, and we’re proud that we have played a part in his inventor journey.

Do you have an idea that you want to see come to life? Visit one of The UPS Store 3D print locations to print your idea. Locations include: San Diego, CA, Washington, DC, Frisco, TX (near Dallas), Menlo Park, CA (near San Jose), Lisle, IL (near Chicago) and New York, NY.

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