“Always the crazy stupid thing ends up being the transformative thing.”
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 [email protected].
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FORMLABS RELEASES NEW PRINTER
Formlabs, which produces one of the best known stereolithographic (SLA) desktop 3D printers, has just announced a major upgrade/overhaul, the Form 1+, that it claims will deliver superior prints at higher speeds.
According to Ian Ferguson (@ianworld) lead engineer at Formlabs, the new printer has “a new laser, a new control system, and upgraded precision and quality for dozens of components.”
The price for the new unit will be the same as the current Form 1 model: $3,299.
More in Make:.
RADIOSHACK PARTNERS WITH PCH TO LAUNCH RADIOSHACK LABS
RadioShack is collaborating with PCH International, a company that helps hardware products get made, to launch RadioShack Labs, a joint project to support inventors, and provide a path from concept to production to distribution.
As part of the relationship, RadioShack will offer select PCH-affiliated companies special retail terms, a direct path to up to 2,000 RadioShack stores, and preferred positioning on radioshack.com.
In addition to products that come through the PCH program, RadioShack Labs is inviting new product ideas from innovators, inventors, and makers. To learn more about how to collaborate with RadioShack and PCH, go to radioshack.com/RSLabs. The goal is to identify dozens of new products per year and to use the PCH program to turn concepts into products ready for national retail sales.
NEW 3D-PRINTED STRUCTURAL STEEL CAN HANDLE “HARD HAT CONSTRUCTION”
A Dutch architectural firm, Arup, has produced a design method for 3D printing critical, structural steel elements for use in complex projects. The company claims that the advance will take 3D technology “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”
Using additive manufacturing, the firm’s engineers redesigned a steel node, above, that is lighter and stronger than the traditionally produced model, below.
Although the 3D printed node looks more fanciful, Salomé Galjaard,a senior designer at Arup and the team leader on the project, told the Maker Pro Newsletter that “the printed node is actually anything but unnecessarily ornate: apart from the structure that is holding up the top ring, it’s purely form follows function. There is only material at the path of the forces.”
The benefit: “Since this specific production technique can produce these complex shapes, the weight of the parts can be reduced, not only limiting material costs, but also allowing us to build lighter structures. All this has a positive influence on transport and installation as well.”
Another benefit: “This approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs.”
FAA ISSUES FIRST OVER-LAND DRONE PERMIT
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has granted the first-ever over-land restricted type certificate to a drone, from AeroVironment, for use in day-to-day operations at the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska’s North Slope.
AeroVironment’s Puma AE UAS system will be used by BP Exploration to provide mapping, GIS, and other commercial information services at BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil field, the largest oil field in North America, for a five-year period.
The contract marks the first time unmanned aircraft systems will be performing routine commercial services over land in compliance with FAA regulations. It follows a path that many have predicted: the first drone approvals will be for operations in remote areas, far away from people.
The Puma AE UAS will produce imagery and data for processing into 3D computerized models of roads, pads and pipelines, and other information, including topographic analysis of gravel pits at the North Slope field.
MORE COLORFUL FLEXIBILITY FROM STRATASYS
The 3D printing giant introduced six new flexible material palettes featuring more than 200 color shades for its high-end Objet500 Connex3 3D printer. Your favorite 3D printing service, if it’s the kind of place that can afford an Objet500, can start making the new materials after a software upgrade.
NUTELLA, WOOD FILLER, AND ICING FROM DISCOV3RY
The Discov3ry, a paste extruder from Structur3D Printing that can easily be added to almost any existing 3D printer, wants to expand the range of 3D printable materials beyond molten plastic, to include silicone, polyurethane, wood filler, clay, ceramics, icing, Nutella, conductive paint, and substances they — and we — haven’t thought of yet.
The extruder will work with any stepper-motor-based, fused deposition modeling (FDM) desktop 3D printer system. If your printer uses plastic filament, it is almost certainly compatible with the Discov3ry. A Kickstarter campaign is live now. The team is promising delivery in September 2014.
APPLE’S HEALTH WEARABLE COULD BE COMING IN OCTOBER
Apple will unveil its much-anticipated health wearable device in October, according to Re/code. It will include a bunch of sensors that will work with Apple’s Health app and the HealthKit API that were announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last week.
STRATASYS IS IN THE SIGHTS OF WALMART, OR HP, OR SOME OTHER HUGE CORPORATION
Seiko Epson is another possible suitor.
The blog 3DPrint explains why takeover “rumors and speculation swirl” around Stratasys.
What makes Stratasys particularly attractive, according to 3DPrint: “an acquisition of Stratasys would instantly turn any acquiring company into one of the leaders within the 3D printing space, both from a consumer and manufacturing standpoint.”
WEARABLE TECH FOR ANIMALS
It sounds at first like the inspiration for an Onion headline, but then, wait a minute, it starts to make sense: there actually are many solid, pragmatic reasons to connect pets, farm animals, and wild animals.
In fact, animals may be ahead of humans in wearable tech.
Which makes it “a $2.6 billion market worth watching,” according to a report from the research and consulting group IDTechEx.
There are currently about 300 manufacturers of connected technology for animals, IDTechEx says. Included are devices that can be ingested, and implanted under the skin. In Australia, RFID tagging of cattle is mandatory.
The report predicts that the number of manufacturers will rise to 500 over the next decade. The animals most likely to sport wearable electronics in volume are livestock, work animals, and pets. Devices used in the conservation of wild species will also increase in number and sophistication, the report states.
PICK THE RIGHT BLUETOOTH MODULE
Upverter has gathered some of the most popular Bluetooth modules on the market and accumulated all the essential information into one helpful table. It includes everything from price per unit to power receiver sensitivity.
MAKE AN EDU-MAKER TRUCK
Maybe it’s time to put your project, or product, or program on the road.
The SparkTruck, created at Stanford, has two cross-country trips of experience. So there’s plenty to learn in this story in Make:, and the detailed Open Source Guide for Anyone Making a Edu-Maker Truck.
SparkTruck’s startup costs for its first cross-country trip, were roughly $100,000. (The trip was about $30,000 of that; about $70,000 was the truck.) The big items were the truck itself ($16,000) and laser cutter ($17,500). The medium and small stuff (tools, furniture, consumables) added up to the rest.
Maker Pro Adventure
ACROBOTIC TURNS A HOBBY INTO BUSINESS
Francisco Zabala never intended to become an entrepreneur, but a little less than a year ago he launched a small company with the goal of turning a lifelong hobby into a for-profit business. The result: Acrobotic Industries, a hardware electronics company closely associated with the Smart Citizen project.
Tweets of the Week
— Alasdair Allan (@aallan) June 6, 2014
— Lisa Regalla (@Regallium) June 9, 2014
— Josef Jo Průša (@josefprusa) June 10, 2014
— Rethink Robotics (@RethinkRobotics) June 10, 2014
Upcoming Maker Faires
Here’s what’s happening over the next few weeks:
- Columbia Mini Maker Faire (SC): June 14, 2014
- White House Maker Faire (Washington, DC): June 18, 2014
- Rogers Mini Maker Faire (AR): July 19, 2014
- Maker Faire Paris (France): June 21 & 22, 2014
- McAllen Mini Maker Faire (TX): June 21, 2014
- Barcelona Mini Maker Faire (Spain): June 22, 2014
- Maker Faire Kansas City (MO): June 28 & 29, 2014
What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.