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“I would work one day a week and spend the other six building things.” — Orthodontist Hagay Klein on his work schedule previous to founding drone maker Selfly

How to Pitch Your Hardware Startup

Knowing how to pitch — to financiers, customers, even your own collaborators — is important to getting any company off the ground, but it’s crucial in the unforgiving world of hardware. Hilary Szymujko (@HilSzy), the head of program at IoT platform Brinc (@brinciot), penned a must-read guide for hardware startups that want to stand out.

The main takeaway: focus on telling a story about the problem your product solves, and pare it down to the bare bones rather than wear listeners down with unnecessary details.

“It’s very likely that whittling down your ideas and product into simple slides and explanations will take time and hard work,” Szymujko wrote. “But it will be worth it to achieve the core goals to be clear, be memorable, and inspire action.”

Have you pitched a hardware product? Tell us your story: [email protected]

Google Wants to Hear From Makers

Search giant Google quietly launched a survey this week asking what sorts of smart tools makers might be interested in seeing from the company. A Google engineer told us the questionnaire is aimed at the “broader maker community,” with the goal of learning “more about perceptions on machine intelligence.”

It’s an intriguing overture. Google’s relationship with hardware has always been noncommittal — this is the same corporation, remember, that bought and sold the entirety of Motorola in the span of just three years — but this survey could indicate a growing interest in maker-centric technologies. If so, this is a terrific opportunity to let the company know what you’d like to see.

Fabrication Frontiers

3D printing outfit Sintavia has developed a process to print F357 aluminum and other foundry-grade alloys. The company anticipates marketing the technology to the aerospace and automotive industries.

In a new post, Supplyframe (@Supplyframe) manager Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) highlights an unexpected resource for prototypers: eBay. He points to Alan Yates (@vk2zay), who’s developed virtual reality hardware for both Valve and HTC, and recently recalled tearing down secondhand CD players in order to use the lasers in an early version of the Vive’s tracking system. “The use of eBay for prototyping may be non-standard, but the concept behind it is solid,” Gammell wrote.

It’s difficult to appreciate just how fundamentally rapid prototyping tools have changed the modern workshop. DEVELOP3D (@develop3d) walks us through the history, from CNC machines to 3D printers.

Maker Pro Builds Palm-Sized Drone

Israeli orthodontist Hagay Klein would be glad to never see the inside of a patient’s mouth again, reports the Verge — and if he’s successful in selling a $99 pocket-sized drone he designed called Selfly, he might not have to.

Klein sounds like the quintessential maker pro: he’s a long time tinkerer who’s built everything from model aircraft to a complex marble clock, and with Selfly, a drone that clips to a phone case, he thinks he’s hit on a concept he could spin up into a real business.

“I hated it,” Klein said of his time in dentistry. “I would work one day a week and spend the other six building things.”

Bearing in mind that crowdfunding drones is notoriously risky, Klein is currently raising funds on Kickstarter (@kickstarter).

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Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web:

MakerBot (@makerbot) CEO Jonathan Jaglom has resigned. The once-promising 3D printer venture has struggled since its 2013 acquisition by Stratasys (@Stratasys).

Researchers at MIT (@MIT) have used a new technique to fuse graphene flakes into a material they say is ten times stronger than steel — and only five percent of steel’s density.

Wired ran a worthwhile profile of Chinese phone maker Xiaomi (@xiaomi) this week. One takeaway: cheap Chinese goods can hurt high-end Chinese manufacturers as much as they do international entrepreneurs in Shenzhen.

Save the date: Make Faire Chicago will take place on April 22–23 this year — and it’s going to be paired with the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.

A husband-and-wife North Carolina couple have started an organization called Lifenabled (@lifenabled) to fabricate personalized prostheses for patients in the developing world using 3D scanning, printing, and CNC milling.

If you go pro, you’ll probably need a business card. Check out these wild business cards Make:’s Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft) burned out with his new laser cutter.