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.
Growing up in the city of Bethlehem, PA, Dino knows the importance of hard work and American pride, said a statement. 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.
Dino's entrepreneurial spirit blossomed 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 said if he could design an iPad dock and web site, he could get him a phone.
Dino'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 with the best features. With the initial design concept set, Dino'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 Dino's lacrosse team helped them get 'dzdock One' patent pending.
They approached a local company, Hill Metal Co. in Allentown, PA where their expertise and equipment allowed them to produce real prototypes. Dino'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, Inc.
First, they chose Pennsylvania-based companies, including Electro Space Fabricators for production manufacturing, and IMP for anodizing dzdock.
dzdock One fulfills Dino's vision of a locally manufactured product using locally-sourced materials. Now it is available for $29.99 in black, white, silver, red, pink, lime and blue.
The inability of many iPad docks and iPhone docks to accommodate the devices with a case led this 11 year old to invent an iPad stand.