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Tracking recommended hardware resources on The Maker Map

Something really interesting is happening with hardware startups. As chronicled and celebrated at the Hardware Innovation Workshop back in May, the combination of cheap sensors, readily available tools, materials, and intel, accessible makerspaces, and crowdfunding are fueling a whole new generation of hardware startups that are taking advantage of the new tool chain.

Here in San Francisco, the hardware community is growing quickly. At the center of all this is Nick Pinkston, organizer of the SF Hardware Startup Meetup, which seems to double attendance at each of monthly meeting. Nick has done an incredible job of bringing this once disparate community together, and helped us all discover overlapping needs and interests.

Over the past few weeks, Nick has turned his attention to the global hardware startup community by initiating a few different efforts. I thought it was worth noting some of his work:

Hardware Subreddit – It’s about time we had our own subreddit. Nick made it happen (and it’s already up to 373 members!) Here it is: reddit.com/r/hwstartups/

Hardware Discussion on StackOverflow – This idea resonated with a lot of developers, so Nick started the discussion. You can follow it here.

TheMakerMap – As someone who is just diving into the manufacturing process, I’m amazed at how difficult the process can be. When I ask fellow hardware startups about their process, I seem to always get some kind of “I have this job shop I know of” answer. It’s surprisingly difficult to get good information. Nick has proposed the idea of creating a MakerMap, a site to find local hardware resources (materials/parts suppliers, manufacturers, freelancers, etc.) A group of hardwarians got together last week for a mini-hackathon to get the process rolling. Here’s how it’s coming along: The Maker Map

We need this! As someone who’s making the transition into small-batch manufacturing, I’ve realized how unnecessarily hard the process can be. TheMakerMap aims to be Yelp for makers, a wonderfully helpful tool we’ll all have to build together. Another MakerMap hackathon is in the works, so stay tuned for more information.

David Lang

Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!


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Comments

  1. I remember MAKE’s web site had a maker map (or a link to a maker map) years ago. I even added a great electronics store west of Boston to it (no, not You Do It Electronics – another one in Littleton, I think). Is it gone?

  2. Robert says:

    Google maps? Disappointing.

    1. nickpinkston says:

      Yea, gMaps was the tech everyone who showed up knew. If you’d like, the spreadsheet will be public, and you’re welcome to create your own using OpenStreetMaps, etc. – shoot me an email if you’d like access.

  3. Lee says:

    Here is a massive list of local bay area (and national) suppliers that I have compiled after working on several mechatronic projects.
    http://wiki.orbswarm.com/index.php?title=Suppliers

  4. OK, I found “The Hacker Map” at http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=108480887738389422212.000440310dcdec9d1c93a and “The Hacker Spaces Map” at http://makezine.com/maps/makershops.csp. Both were mentioned in articles on the Make blog and one of the is hosted by Make (I wouldn’t be surprised if most people at Make didn’t even know their site was hosting something like that).

    I KNOW that Make once had an article and link to yet another map of stores that sell stuff useful to makers, but I couldn’t find it.

    Nick Pickston, if you’re reading this: what you’re doing has been done before. That should be a cautionary tale that unless you do something different from what was done before, your duplicative effort will probably fade into obscurity.

    David Lang and everyone at Make: you could provide a great service by placing PROMINENTLY a link on your site to a single map that contains useful stores, hacker spaces, clubs, etc. What you are doing now – posting an article every year or so about yet another map that is destined to obscurity – is NOT helpful.

  5. Gadlen says:

    That’d be great!

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