The inventing bug hit 11-year-old Dino Zaharakis while playing lacrosse in Saucon Valley. He painted some stripes on his helmet so he would stand out among his teammates and his mom could find him.
A month later he wanted his lacrosse stick to be unique too. He dyed the head of his stick, a concept his friends loved. To capitalize on that idea, Dino came up with a business plan, which included order forms, a web site and a $5-per color price.
Zaharakis’s entrepreneurial spirit blossomed again when his parents reviewed summer camps on the family’s iPad. His father had rigged an impromptu iPad stand, but Dino found several design flaws and suggested he could do better. His dad challenged him, and told him if he could design an iPad dock and web site he could get a phone.
Zaharakis’s mind went into high gear. He set to work manipulating pieces of aluminum stock from McMaster-Carr, using a Home Depot miter saw and a vise. He made several prototypes. The favorites were dubbed Curly 3 Stooges, Alpha Slick and Big Z.
Finally, “One” was created by including the best features/abilities of each prototype. With the initial design concept set, Zaharakis’s dad took him to Northampton Community College’s Fab Lab where they created 3D solid models using Solidworks and later created prototypes using a Dimension 3D printer. A parent on Zaharakis’s lacrosse team helped them get dzdock One patent pending.
They approached a local company, Hill Metal Co. in Allentown, Pennsyvlania, where their expertise and equipment allowed them to produce real prototypes. Zaharakis’s lacrosse coach and owner of Bracalente Manufacturing suggested giving dzdocks an anodized finish.
Next they worked on the web site, packaging, bar codes, listing dzdock on Amazon.com and creating a new corporation named ZLabs. In keeping local they chose Pennsylvania based companies, including Electro Space Fabricators for production manufacturing, and IMP for anodizing dzdock.
The dzdock One is available for US$29.99 in black, white, silver, red, pink, lime and blue at http://www.dzdock.com. Use the promotional code of “DZPRNEWS” at www.buy.dzdock.com until Christmas and you can buy a dzdock for $19.99.