Dino with his friends Nick and Jake.
LacrosseThe 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 so his mom could find him. A month later he wanted his lacrosse stick to be unique too, and dyed the head of his stick, a concept his friends loved. To capitalize on this idea, Dino came up with a business plan that included order forms, a web-site and a $5-per-stick price.
Bethlehem SteelGrowing up in the rust-belt city of Bethlehem, Pa., Dino knows the importance of hard work, locally-made products and American pride. Bethlehem Steel Corp was once a gem of American industry, having been so powerful that during World War II, its laborers churned out a Navy battleship in a single day. But the plant has been long-shuttered, and a casino now stands where its mighty blast furnaces once roared.
The ChallengeDino’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 flaws in the design and suggested he could do better. His dad challenged him: If he could design an iPad dock and web-site to market it, he could get a phone.
In our basementDino’s mind went into high gear. Manipulating pieces of aluminum stock with a miter saw and vise he made several paper prototypes.His favorites were dubbed Curly 3 Stooges, Alpha Slick, Big Z. Finally, "One" was created by using the best features of each prototype.
With the initial design concept set, Dino’s dad took him to Northampton Community College’s Fab Lab where they created 3D solid models and later created a prototypes using 3D printing.
Can you help?Dino and his dad then approached a local company, Hill Metal Co. in Allentown, Pa., where their expertise and equipment allowed them to produce some real prototypes. After reviewing a prototype, Dino’s lacrosse coach and owner of Bracalente Manufacturing suggested we give the parts an annodized finish.
Adam & EveNow the prototypes were put to a test to evaluate their performance with iPads, iPhone, Kindles, nooks, other ereaders and smart phones.
More help...A parent on Dino’s lacrosse team helped get dzdock patent pending. Next they worked on the web site, packaging, bar codes, listing dzdock on Amazon.com and creating a new corporation named ZLabs, Inc.
Made here!In keeping local they chose Pennsylvania based companies, including Electro Space Fabricators for production manufacturing and IMP for anodizing dzdock.
Their first order was for 50 dzdock Ones were given by NCC Cbi to attendees of their annual event in October.
dzdock One fills Dino’s dream of a locally- manufactured product using locally-sourcedmaterials, including boxes made from recycled cardboard.