Maker Pro News: Foodtech Founders, 3D Printing on the Factory Floor, and More

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Maker Pro News: Foodtech Founders, 3D Printing on the Factory Floor, and More

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“For injection molders, 3D printing is getting real interesting, real fast.” – Matthew Naitove, executive editor of Plastics Technology Magazine

Helping Startups Succeed

One of the most difficult transitions in entrepreneurship is moving from a crowdfunded concept to a production-ready product that can be shipped to backers. Now, some of the biggest players in the crowdfunding and maker hardware markets are working to help maker pros succeed in that leap.

We’ve reported previously on Hardware Studio, a collaborative effort by Kickstarter (@kickstarter), Avnet (@Avnet) and Dragon Innovation (@dragoninnovate) with the goal of providing cradle-to-grave support for maker pros who want to create hardware. The project finally launched this week, and it looks like a comprehensive effort to provide support to hardware creators, starting long before they launch a crowdfunding campaign. An early example: this post by Pebble (@Pebble) founder Eric Migicovsky (@ericmigi), for instance, about what he learned from the crowdfunded smart watch.

To accompany the launch, Avnet — which acquired Dragon this summer — released findings from a survey of (@Hacksterio) users that presented both good and bad news for hardware entrepreneurs: More than three quarters reported that developing prototypes had become easier in recent years, but 65 percent said that it’s becoming harder to secure traditional financing.

If your startup participates in Hardware Studio, we’d love to hear about your experience. Send us an email at

The Foodtech Founders of World Maker Faire

If you need another reason to attend World Maker Faire (@makerfaire) next week in New York City, check out Make: contributor Chiara Cecchini’s (@ClaireCecchiniroundup of some of the brilliant food entrepreneurs who will be there.

At the Faire, you’ll be able to meet the founders of Green Bronx Machine (@greenBXmachine), an organization that works with students to install vertical farms that have produced some 40,000 pounds of vegetables, modular open source farming system +farm (@PlusFarm), and many more. We can’t make any promises, but some may even have free samples.

Speaking of World Maker Faire, edtech entrepreneurs might want to register for the Make: Education Forum, where leaders in education and making will meet onstage to discuss the future of the maker movement in schools. Make: founder Dale Dougherty (@dalepdwrote earlier this week about the event and the presenters who made it possible.

Finally, 3D Printing Takes on Manufacturing

The traditional way to stamp out a run of plastic components was injection molding, which pours hot plastic into a cast to quickly produce many units. Until recently, Plastics Technology (@plastechmag) Executive Editor Matthew Naitove (@mattnaitove) brushed off the suggestion that 3D printing could seriously cut into the plastics business.

But that’s starting to change, Naitove wrote this week. There are massively parallel 3D printing plants like Voodoo Manufacturing (@voodoomfg), as well as HP’s work with multi jet fusion, which could print up to ten times faster than traditional additive techniques. It’s too soon to tell what effect it will have on the manufacturing sector writ large — but not for factories to start paying attention.

“In short, for injection molders, 3D printing is getting real interesting, real fast,” Naitove wrote.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

Hearkening back to our top item about crowdfunding, Lucid Cam (@Lucid_Cam) founder Han Jin (@jinhan8) penned a worthwhile piece for Forbes this week about the opportunities — and unexpected pitfalls — of launching a hardware startup on Kickstarter.

Make: contributor Chiara Cecchini didn’t just write about the food of World Maker Faire this week — she also published an inspiring profile of Suman Ghimire, a victim of the earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 who went on to develop drone hacking techniques to help farmers monitor their crops.

Retail giant Amazon is eager to invest in startups, but according to a new reportmany entrepreneurs are increasingly nervous about taking its money. One reason: back in May, the company released the Echo Show, a smart home gadget that critics said was extraordinarily similar to the offering of Nucleus (@Nucleus_Life), a hardware startup the company had previously invested in.

Liam Grace-Flood, a Make: contributor who’s traveling the world this year to explore maker communities, published an interview this week with Baltimore maker and Open Works (@OpenWorksBmore) Executive Director Will Holman (@objectguerilla) about the business and practice of opening a makerspace.

Warehouse automation startup GreyOrange Robotics (@GoGreyOrange) has quietly grown into a major robotics player with a value in the hundreds of millions — as evidenced by reports that Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi is considering a $20 million stake in the venture.

Finally, a plug: this summer, Maker Media launched a community for makers called Maker Share. It’s a great site to show off your projects and network with other makers, and it’s about to launch its second “mission,” this one about the future of the smart home. Make: Executive Editor Mike Senese (@msenesehas more on the challenge — and you could win a trip to CES 2018 (@CESn Las Vegas.

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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison

Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

View more articles by Jon Christian


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