“One screw can put you out of business.”
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@example.com.
MAKERBOT PUSHES THE EASY FRONTIER
MakerBot has launched a new, free iOS app for the iPad, PrintShop.
The app’s primary thrust is steering users to pre-selected designs that are optimized for ease of use. Three categories are featured at launch: rings, bracelets, and type.
The goal: enable new users to accomplish the easy stuff, score some early wins, and gain some momentum.
The improved entry-level user experience could also keep MakerBot ahead of a growing, yappy pack of competitors.
Read more about it in the Make: blog.
NEW CROWDFUNDING SITE WANTS TO MAKE HARDWARE SOCIAL
It’s probably the only crowdfunding site based in a makerspace, specifically Makerversity, in London.
It’s an attempt, the founders say, “to make hardware social,” by creating a platform “with an open and collaborative culture.”
The niche they are seeking, at this early stage, seems to be that undefined territory between crowdfunding success and the product on your doorstep — the “pre-sale” zone where startups and consumers are often collaborating on what the final device will actually be … and, not incidentally, when the #!? it will finally be delivered.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN ROBOTICS TODAY
According to Business Insider. The list of 15 is too short, and too U.S.-centric. It could have been twice as long. But worth a scan for an easy overview of the current scene.
So who’s on it? You can probably guess some of them, based on these affiliations: 3 from MIT, 2 from Google, 2 iRobot-related, 2 from Carnegie Mellon, 3 open source hardware advocates, 1 from Georgia Tech, and 2 who work for the U.S. government.
MAKE BETTER BOMS (BILLS OF MATERIALS)
Octopart has updated its BOM (Bill of Materials) Tool.
It is now possible, for example, to easily compare distributors.
If you’re just getting into the manufacturing game, Octopart co-founder Sam Wurzel recently gave a primer on how to source electronic parts at a Hardwired NYC meetup. Worth checking out.
The engineering hub Element14 also upped its toolset with a recently launched Design Center, still in beta.
WILL WE BE HEARING MORE FROM ION CORE?
The British 3D printing company Ion Core Ltd. just landed a $10 million investment from a pair of hedge fund managers.
Ion Core’s Zinter 3D printer
The press release claims that the money will be used to help the company’s flagship Zinter 3D printer take on MakerBot and 3D Systems’ Cube 3D printers in Europe and the U.S. Bold goal.
BTW, the Zinter is a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printer — like models from MakerBot and the Cube — that features 2 extruders. It is selling for around $4,000.
3D PRINTED JEWELRY MOVES UPSCALE
A new resin from MadeSolid, Firecast, is designed specifically for investment casting, the process commonly used to turn 3D prints into jewelry.
A ring available on Shapeways: in 14k rose gold, 14k white gold, and 18k gold
Read more on the topic, plus a suggestion for combining plastic and precious metals, in the Make: blog.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil, who now works at Google, told the Google I/O crowd that we’ll be 3D printing our clothes by 2020.
This inspired the industry blog 3D Printing Industry to pull together every single 3D-printed fashion related project they could think of.
If you are considering augmenting your wardrobe, the blog also maintains a Fashion category that’s up-to-date.
The newest wrinkle on the 3D fashion scene: a 3D Weaver that can print flexible materials that lend themselves to clothing and shoes.
The design magazine Dezeen describes the process.
3D Weaver can print flexible grids.
One use case for 3D Weaver: sports shoes.
3 BROAD TRENDS IN THE RECENT CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM APPLE, QUIRKY, AND GOOGLE.
Analyst Michael Wolf (@michaelwolf) has teased out three trends that are common to the new platforms from Apple, Quirky, and Google.
They are all more: contextual, anticipatory, and continuous.
Wolf makes a good case for these themes, and even deconstructs Google’s “Works with Nest” video to point them out.
LIAM CASEY’S HARDWARE EMPIRE
Wired has caught up with Liam Casey, who has been helping companies navigate manufacturing meccas like Shenzhen, China for 18 years, with his company, PCH. The company, founded in Ireland but with a huge new San Francisco facility, employs 2,800 people.
But Casey, and PCH, know manufacturing as few others do. So when he says, “One screw can put you out of business,” you know he’s speaking from experience.
Also interesting to read: how Casey is methodically lining up a vertical stack of ventures that will be able to take hardware startups “from zero to Apple.”
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
Anyone know someone with a cherry picker in the Bay area? Need to extract, umm, an object from a 115ft tree.
— Eddie Codel (@ekai) June 30, 2014
Mindblowing thought/meme of today: Mars is populated entirely of robots. pic.twitter.com/nDU5u7dn3C
— Carol E. Reiley (@robot_MD) June 27, 2014
— Rodney Brooks (@rodneyabrooks) June 29, 2014
Upcoming Maker Faires
Here’s what’s happening over the next month or so:
- Maker Faire Hannover (Germany): July 5 & 6, 2014
- Bilbao Mini Maker Faire (Spain): July 12 & 13, 2014
- Kingsport Mini Maker Faire (TN): July 13, 2014
- Rogers Mini Maker Faire (AR): July 19, 2014
- SolarFest Mini Maker Faire (Tinmouth, VT): July 19 & 20, 2014
- Anchorage Mini Maker Faire (AK): July 26, 2014
- Singapore Mini Maker Faire (Singapore): July 26 & 27, 2014
- Maker Faire Detroit (MI): July 26 & 27, 2014
- Manchester Mini Maker Faire (UK): July 26 & 27, 2014
What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.