SACRAMENTO, CA - A small lab tucked away in the back of the Arden Library is helping make dreams come true for two young Placerville men.
Cousins Nate Zavaleta, 24, and Alex Smith, 18, came up with the Hex Flex - a snowflake-shaped tool that can tighten bolts, screws and fasteners.
The pair came to the library, which is part of the Sacramento Public Library system,to use its 3D printer to transform their computer drawings into real life.
"I started refining [the design] and making it look a lot better," Zavaletaexplained."And then I heard about this place and came here and started prototyping different versions."
It was an idea that evolved from a less-serious beginning.
"I was just trying to make a cool-shaped bottle opener actually," Zavaleta admitted with a smile.
Smith, a senior at Union Mine High School, offered to help his cousin shoot a video for a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to move their product past being a 3D model.
"Then, I came down [to the library], he was actually getting more into it and everything, and needed some help with the video, so I offered to help because I love doing videos and love helping," Smith said.
The pair hoped to raise $10,000 to get their product off the ground, and just three days into the 3-week fundraiser, they hit that mark - and more.
To date, more than $50,000 have been pledged to the project. The extramoney will go toward additional research and development.
While the 3D printer lab is a great tool for entrepreneurs with an idea, it's open for anyone to use - free of charge.
"It's really just a place for people to come and explore and see their designs come to life," said Lori Easterwood, the library's projects and programming coordinator.