You’re reading our weekly Maker Pro Newsletter, which focuses on the impact of makers in business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends. Subscribe today and never miss a post.


“I’ve seen first-hand how anyone can build internet.” – Noodle Founder Garrett Kinsman

3D Printing Frontiers

The average price of a desktop 3D printer is $1,094 — compared to $104,222 for an industrial model and a whopping $566,570 for a metal printer. But industrial customers are still snapping those units up because of their outsize potential for prototyping and increasingly, mass manufacturing.

That’s according to a new Make: feature that examines the growing role of additive manufacturing in industrial settings. Interests using 3D printing to manufacture parts include NASA (@NASA) and GE (@generalelectric), and soon-to-expire patents could drive widespread adoption.

“Today’s industrial 3D printers are capable of producing parts in quantities and at speeds that begin to compete with traditional manufacturing processes for short-run production,” wrote authors Terry Wohlers (@TerryWohlers) and Joseph Kowen, both of Wohlers Associates.

Kickstarter to Rep Hardware Studio at CES

Crowdfunding titan Kickstarter has never before had a booth at CES (@CES), the annual consumer tech extravaganza in Las Vegas. This year will be the first, according to a company spokesperson — and Kickstarter will dedicate its booth to Hardware Studio, an educational initiative it started this year with Avnet (@Avnet) and the Dragon Innovation (@dragoninnovate) to help hardware creators successfully bring products to market. At the same booth, experts from Avnet and Dragon will offer “office hours” for hardware startups.

Dragon and Avnet representatives will also be present. Avnet will be showcasing a new line of IoT advisory and lifecycle services at the show.

CES will also be loaded with projects that got their start on Kickstarter: Sisyphus, a kinetic art table, Joto (@jotorocks), a robotic drawing board, the Kano (@TeamKano) electronics kit, and more.

Introducing Noodle

Writing for Make:Garrett Kinsman (@GeKinsmanintroduces Noodle, a low power Bluetooth system that crowdsources connectivity for maker devices in San Francisco.

Kinsman spent two years in India, where he studied ways that hackers bring better internet access to the masses. Now, he wants to replicate those experiments in the Bay Area.

“I’ve seen first-hand how anyone can build internet,” he wrote. “Students are hacking together microwave links in the Himalayas and whispering dreams of Google Loon and subsidized LTE in Bangalorean cafes.”

Ringing in the New Year with HAX

The HAX (@hax_co) squad pulled together its predictions for hardware in a column for VentureBeat this week.

What’ll be hot: Robot-as-a-service companies like Fetch Robotics (@FetchRobotics) or Savioke (@Savioke); wearables that collect medical data; industry IoT.

What won’t be hot: Consumer electronics. “The era of copycats led by AmazonGoogle, and Facebook is leading to a no-man’s land for consumer-focused hardware startups,” they wrote.

And what does the HAX team hope to see? Prototyping tools that also work for production, improved regulation in the transport and healthcare space, and better batteries.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

Last week, we noted Bolt (@BoltVC) associate Chris Quintero (@Chris_Quintero)’s concerns that Silicon Valley heavyweights are coming to dominate hardware categories established by maker pros. But they can also foster strange new markets for entrepreneurs: the New York Times reports this week on Amazon’s underworld of “ludicrously” low-cost gadgets, apparel, and more.

Make: correspondent Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchinireports on yet another maker pro food startup hinging on edible insects: One Hop Kitchen (@OneHopKitchen), a “sustainable pasta sauce” made out of crickets and mealworms.

In a strange drama, arsonists burned down French fab lab La Casemate (@LaCasemate) this week. The people behind the space have launched a crowdfunding campaign to rebuild.