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The story of MakerBot is bigger than just 3D printing – Hackaday’s Tom Nardi

Inventables Spotlights its Maker Pro Users

Inventables (@Inventables) CEO Zach Kaplan (@zkaplan) delivered a keynote address at Technori (@Technori), in Chicago’s Chase Auditorium, in which he highlighted the growing importance of maker pros to his company’s business model. In fact, he said, the company’s latest offering, Easel Pro, is specifically aimed at the needs of X-Carve users who are using the cutter to run their own maker businesses.

“What we’re launching is a project that started in response to the increasing number of Inventables customers who have become maker pros,” Kaplan told us in an interview. Early on, Kaplan said, he was skeptical of the concept of maker pros. “But what’s happened each year since then is that a higher and higher proportion of our customers have started their own businesses.”

An Inventables customer that has impressed Kaplan with its level of proficiency: Highline Guitars (@highlineguitars), a custom electric guitar maker in Colorado that builds resplendent instruments using Inventables’ machines.

What are other ways that one maker company is providing tools that let another one do better work? Email us at [email protected].

Indiegogo Launches Maker Marketplace

Maker marketplaces from Etsy (@Etsy) to Amazon have long been staples of the maker pro ecosystem. Last week, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo launched its own online market — and, notably, it’s not restricted to crowdfunded products, indicating that the company may have ambitions to break outside its niche.

The move poses dual questions: whether existing Indiegogo users will be interested in non-crowdfunded merchandise and whether the marketplace has the merit to find buyers outside of Indiegogo’s existing community. To commemorate the launch, Indiegogo is curating an online “pop-up store” of products on the platform, ranging from artisanal backpacks to VR rigs.

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3D Printing Frontiers

The Boston Globe profiled Desktop Metal (@DesktopMetal), a Massachusetts startup working on a desktop metal printer. The story also touches on competitor Markforged (@Markforged). “We’re not in the Lamborghini business,” Markforged founder Greg Mark told the paper, “although we do sell to Lamborghini.”

MakerBot (@makerbot) unveiled a project called MakerBot Labs, which could represent a step back into the open source community. Or, according to Tom Nardi‘s critical Hackaday analysis, could be the latest in a series of missteps that have alienated open source devotees. “The story of MakerBot is bigger than just 3D printing,” Nardi notes.

And 3D Hubs’ (@3DHubs) latest 3D printing trends report, released last week, takes on an increasingly crowded industry with data from 6,000 3D printing service providers around the world who together produced some 200,000 prints. One key shift: London is now the world’s top 3D printing city, overtaking New York — though the United States still sees the highest market share overall. Dallas, intriguingly, is number three.

The Maker Pros of Maker Faire Atlanta

Make: contributor Goli Mohammadi’s (@snowgoli) account of Maker Faire Atlanta (@AtlMakerFairedescribes a rousing all-day event that celebrated “fluidity between schools, the community, and business” — and created a fertile ground for maker pros.

There was an Innovation Showcase, for instance, which let makers pitch products they developed in local makerspaces. There was the Makerspace Organizers Summit, which let the people who run makerspaces explore the social and business challenges of keeping a space operational. And there was MakEdu, which explored the many roles making can hold in the classroom.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

State-of-the-art maker manufacturing center Building 77, at NYC’s Brooklyn Navy Yard (@BklynNavyYard) complex, will open with an epochal kickoff party in two weeks, according to a recent announcement by CEO David Ehrenberg(@EarlyGrowthFS). No word on how to get an invite, but stay tuned…

A group called startAD (@NYUADstartADplans to launch the first hardware accelerator in the United Arab Emirates, which will be a 10-day program called Venture Launchpad.

If you noticed that Adafruit (@adafruit) founder Limor “Ladyada” Fried’s public Facebook account disappeared briefly last week, you weren’t the only one. Adafruit was as puzzled as anyone; the next day, the account reappeared, again without explanation.

Two new examples of makers helping to rebuild in the wake of catastrophe: MakerShare (@themakershare) and humanitarian nonprofit group Field Ready (@fldrdy) have banded together to put forth a call for designs for a pump that can pull water from cisterns. Also, don’t miss the story of how Hackerfarm (@freaklabs) is building and donating solar lanterns to communities in Puerto Rico.

The maker pros at Livin Farms (@Livinfarmsraised more than $145,000 to sell a countertop habitat that grows edible mealworms in a home kitchen. Yum! Make: correspondent Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchinihas more.

The founders of Chinese robotics startup Unitree Robotics (@UnitreeRobotics) have long been inspired by the weird, bio mechanoids created by Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics). Now, they’re looking to create similar legged robot walkers as ubiquitous and affordable “as smartphones and drones.”

Bay Area maker pros might want to drop by the Nov. 13 Hardware Massive event at San Francisco’s Launchpad Space, where venture capitalists including Mary Vincent (@MaryVincent) and Alastair Trueger (@AlastairWJT) will share their perspectives on upcoming hardware trends.

Magic Leap (@magicleap), the mixed-reality hardware startup that’s earned rave reviews from Wired — and capital from industry leaders including Googleand Qualcomm (@Qualcomm) — confirmed an impressive $500 million round led by Singapore fund Temasek (@Temasek). We can’t wait to see a consumer-facing product from them.