“People are doing incredible things, despite the tools.”
From the editors of MAKE, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends. Please send items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The newsiest week in Makerdom, which begins with MakerCon and ends with Maker Faire Bay Area, was newsier than ever this year. Maker-oriented companies with news to announce couldn’t resist launching freshly minted initiatives into the roiling confluence of makers that spanned both events.
Here are the high points from a busy week.
Autodesk Will Produce a 3D Printer
At MakerCon Carl Bass (@carlbass), the president and chief executive officer of Autodesk, discussed the state of software for 3D printing (“People are doing incredible things, despite the tools.”) and then announced that the company has created an open 3D printing platform, Spark, and will be releasing a yet-to-be-named 3D printer. The printer’s design files “will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation.”
Arduino Releases a Powerful New Zero
Top view of the new Arduino Zero
LittleBits Launches an Arduino Module
The board which looks like an electronic prototype of a caterpillar, sports an ATmega 32U4 chip (like the Arduino Leonardo) and is programmable through the Arduino IDE. Make:’s Matt Richardson (@mattrichardson) got a preview.
Shapeoko Will Give Away 50 “3D Carvers”
According to Zach, community spaces such as schools, makerspaces, and libraries are encouraged to apply as long as they give free access to their community. Recipients will also receive beta access to Easel, Inventables’ new web-based CNC design software.
One sidenote: the Inventables announcement referred to CNC mills as “3D carvers.” Maybe that will catch on, as a more descriptive term.
Here’s a video interview Zach gave to Make: on the plan.
PrintrBot Announces a CNC Machine
A prototype of Printrbot’s new CNC machine. The final model will be constructed of folded and machined metal. (Photo: Dave Hays)
Printrbot founder and CEO Brook Drumm (@printrbot) revealed a beta of the upcoming Printrbot CNC router, targeted as a tool for beginner CNC’ers. It can cut wood, plastic, and aluminum at “respectable speeds,” according to Brook.
“We’re making a tool that I’ve wanted for a long time,” Brook told Make:. He emphasized that ease-of-use and low cost are high priorities for the product.
Handibot Expands Further into 3D
A year ago, ShopBot introduced the Handibot, a portable CNC tool, at a Maker Media event. Part of the plan: an open philosophy that invited users to help push the new tool in new directions.
This year, the ShopBot team brought the Handibot to MakerCon with two new accessories: a rotary tool and a five-access tool. Both push the CNC machine toward 3D — giving users a subtractive alternative to 3D printing.
Ted Hall, the founder of ShopBot Tools, Inc., stopped by Make:’s MakerCon press room to tell us about the new capabilities.
BotFactory Demonstrates a Desktop PCB Printer
BotFactory showcased a desktop printer at Maker Faire that can assemble a circuit board in minutes.
Makers buzzed around their exhibit, attracted by the scent of faster turnarounds for prototypes.
Modio Launches an iPad Toy Creator
A 3D rendering of a toy created by a Maker Faire attendee.
Modio announced “Modio for iPad,” which enables users to create 3D-printable toy characters on a tablet.
Many users at Maker Faire did just that — generating a gallery of toy characters.
GE Launches FirstBuild to Focus Makers on Appliances
A rendering of the planned FirstBuild microfactory in Louisville, Kentucky.
GE announced FirstBuild, an online and physical community dedicated to designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances. The program is soup-to-nuts, incorporating idea generation, development, even sales.
To jumpstart the idea, GE has seeded FirstBuild with a few pre-selected projects, like indoor grilling.
Tindie Announces an Education Initiative
Tweets of the Week
— Greg Richardson (@IAmTheRealGreg) May 13, 2014
In a catastrophic accident with driverless cars, does your car decide whether you, or >= 1 other people die? #makercon
— Rachel Kalmar (@grapealope) May 14, 2014
— Roger Chen (@rgrchen) May 14, 2014
— Julio Terra (@julioterra) May 14, 2014
— Alasdair Allan (@aallan) May 14, 2014
— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) May 19, 2014
Upcoming Maker Faires
Here’s what’s happening in May:
- Mendocino County Mini Maker Faire (CA): May 24, 2014
- Maker Faire Taipei (Taiwan): May 24 & 25, 2014
- Torino Mini Maker Faire (Italy): May 31, 2014
- Jerusalem Mini Maker Faire (Israel): June 5—7, 2014
- Eugene Mini Maker Faire (OR): June 7, 2014
- Maker Faire North Carolina (Raleigh, NC): June 7, 2014
- Reno Mini Maker Faire (NV): June 7, 2014
- Montreal Mini Maker Faire (Quebec, Canada): June 7 & 8, 2014
- Vancouver Mini Maker Faire (BC, Canada): June 7 & 8, 2014
- DC Mini Maker Faire (DC): June 8, 2014
What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.