Makerspaces aren’t just a good source of camaraderie and hobby level one-off projects. They also occasionally create and manufacture pro-level consumer products and services. Here are a few notable items that you can purchase, which have come from makerspaces around the country.
QUESTION BLOCK LAMP
Adam Ellsworth and Bryan Duxbury developed and prototyped this Mario inspired lamp at TechShop San Francisco. After posting on Etsy, they received huge blog attention and sold 300 lamps immediately. They then enlisted a crack team from within TechShop and manually made over 1000 lamps. The next year, they launched a Kickstarter and raised $131,000 to scale up production. The additional lamps sold out; Adam and Bryan are now busy producing more.
Alden Hart met his partner Riley Porter at HackDC, and together they built the TinyG. The six-axis CNC controller with 4 motor outputs continues to get great reviews for its ability to outperform existing CNC and 3D printer controllers. Members of HackDC were early users and a regular source of feedback. The board is now available through the Maker Shed, Inventables, Adafruit, and Tiny G’s parent company, Synthetos. They’re also embedded in a variety of products including the Othermill and the 5-axis PocketNC.
Artisanʼs Asylum has a community of makers under its roof who work, dream, and collaborate. Out of this alchemy came the 3Doodler, a 3D-printing pen by Pete Dilworth and Max Bogue, which made its way to a record-setting Kickstarter of $2.3 million. Now their invention is shipping worldwide and is even available at the Museum of Modern Art.
THE GLOWING PLANT
“Natural lighting” took on new meaning when this team, led by Kyle Taylor, designed glow-in-the-dark plants. Needing a wet lab, they collaborated in the pioneering bio hackerspace, BioCurious, in 2012. From there it was a short leap to a Kickstarter, where it rocketed past its goal by bringing in almost half a million dollars.
SMALL BATCH ASSEMBLY
Makerspaces also hatch service businesses. The Nova Labs makerspace is home to this company that provides low-volume electronics assembly services specifically for makers, making it one of few makerspace co-located with a production-grade pick-and-place machine and reflow oven. This close proximity has continuously spawned synergies and projects including a Nova Labs-branded Arduino-compatible development board.