Size Matters

Voodoo Manufacturing and the Great Burrito Scandal of 2015

Voodoo Manufacturing

3D printing is dragged into a heated debate over the size of Chipotle burritos, based on statements from Voodoo Manufacturing.

Gizmodo reported last week that Mexican food chain Chipotle had enlisted a 3D printing company, Voodoo Manufacturing, to fight the “scourge of overstuffed tortillas” by creating a spoon which could dish out the right portion sizes.

However, within a short time of the story going live, Chipotle issued a comprehensive denial:

“This story is grossly overstated. We have been doing some testing with 3D printed scoops at ShopHouse, though that was directed solely at efficiency and consistency, not on portion sizes. We have considered similar testing for takeout lines at Chipotle — also aimed at consistency and efficiency, not portion sizes — but we haven’t done any work on that as of now. We have not worked with Voodoo Manufacturing for Chipotle, and do not intend to at this time, so the nature of this relationship and this initiative are way overstated. Ultimately, they made a few prototypes for us (for ShopHouse) but we don’t plan to move forward with them, and have not done anything with them for Chipotle.”

Chipotle lovers can now rest easy knowing their burrito won’t change size. Meanwhile, you can continue to use tricks from across the internet to supersize your meal.

Who is Voodoo Manufacturing?

voodoo manufacturingVoodoo Manufacturing are a new 3D printing company based in Brooklyn, New York. They offer a design, prototyping, and manufacturing service using 150 networked 3D printers.

The process can be as simple as customers visiting their site, uploading a design, and receiving their prototype the very next day — if they live in the NYC area, that is.

Their clients range from MTV, Nickelodeon and Intel, for whom they 3D printed a dress for New York Fashion Week.

And Chipotle was a client too, supposedly, but that ship seems to have sailed. The origin of the comments about Chipotle came from a company profile in the New York Observer.

Intriguingly, according to the same source, Voodoo had worked with these clients before the company even launched. How is that possible?

The truth is that Voodoo Manufacturing is actually a spin-off company from MakerBot. Concieved as an in-house rapid prototyping service for their customers, a group of ex-MakerBot engineers were given permission to launch as a standalone unit instead.

The relationship is that MakerBot forwards Voodoo business from any of their customers, and in exchange Voodoo uses MakerBot printers and filament on an exclusive basis.

So, how do you feel about the great burrito scandal of 2015? Are Chipotle as innocent as they claim? Or is this just a clever marketing stunt by Voodoo Manufacturing?