In 2013, our frustration with the long and painful fab process for low volumes of PCBs led us to starting Voltera. Over the years, we’ve experienced similar frustrations in other parts of the hardware development process - supply chain validation, certifications, tool design, and more.
There’s plenty of room for improvement throughout the manufacturing industry but we’re most intrigued (and upset!) by what slows hardware developers from going from zero to one.
At Voltera, we want to give people the tools and support they need to easily, quickly, and inexpensively go from an idea in their head to a product in their hands.
Looking back on our history, these are the commonalities that have repeatedly fallen out of our personalities and interests.
Let’s be honest, technical-minded individuals want to focus on problem solving, not learning how a new tool or process works. We ourselves have avoided certain technologies because the time and cost for experimentation was too high.
That is why so much of our time is spent trying to make our machines a blackbox in the product development process. Realistically, we cannot create drop-in replacements for existing processes but we strive to clearly communicate the deltas or to smooth out the new steps.
Circuit printing provides different results to traditional photolithography and we do our best to explain the differences. Navigating around a new machine interface can be disorienting, that’s why our software guides you with step-by-step videos.
A good designer does their best to understand the strengths and weaknesses of all the tools and processes available to them and to then adapt their design and workflow for the best results. However, as mentioned in the previous section, no one has time to become an expert in everything.
We see it as our responsibility to take all the knowledge and wisdom we’ve accumulated and share it with all of you. It needs to be digestible, entertaining, and useful. We believe in building bridges, not moats. We believe in giving people ladders, not chutes. We believe in overusing idioms.
If we make the manufacturing industry accessible to more people and better equip everyone within it, we can only expect that the variety and quality of products created will increase exponentially.
Nothing gets us more excited than hearing about the cool applications our machines are being used for and we certainly learn just as much from our users as we try to share with them.
It is not uncommon to see us at trade shows saying hello to our users with big hugs or inviting them to our office to see how our machines get built. If you reach out to us, you can be assured that we’ll treat you like we treat each other at the office - always available to lend a hand or even joke around.
We’re blessed that many of our users are more than just customers… they’re friends.
At the end of the day, we’re a bunch of nerds that love to create cool new tech. If a product already exists on the market that we think is fantastic, we’ll gladly point you to it rather than try to create a me-too solution.
Circuit printers are gaining popularity now, but when we started, it was considered impossible to create representative boards. We’re hard at work making flexible, stretchable, and structural electronics more accessible and have plenty of other ideas we want to go after that will be incredibly challenging but equally rewarding.