Maker Pro News: When A Startup Demands Everything

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Maker Pro News: When A Startup Demands Everything

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.

Everything I create comes from deep within my soul. – Miami Visual Artist Nicole Martinez

Going All In

For a harrowing tale of maker pros who put everything behind an idea they believed in, check out this profile of BGT Aerospace, a Michigan hardware startup that won a Small Business Administration (@SBAgov) loan. The catch: they needed to back up the loan with everything they owned, down to their bank accounts and homes — a nerve-wracking choice for two older workers with little business background.

“Ask my wife,” said co-founder Garrett O’Brien of the decision. “She’s terrified. We’ve got four kids and one of them is in college.”

The duo started the company after their previous employer, which tooled parts for military contractors, shut down unexpectedly in 2017. Both were master craftspeople, but that experience didn’t quite prepare them for the all-or-nothing decision they’d face in whether to pursue the loan.

Entrepreneurs often glorify risk takers, but the reality is that many good ideas don’t quite make it in the open market. And when an opportunity presents itself, founders need to weigh the decision’s potential impact not just on their collaborators but also on their families.

When should a early-stage business put everything on the line? Drop us a line at

A Personal Waterjet with an Industrial Heritage

The ProtoMAX is a high-performance, personal waterjet capable of cutting virtually anything. Using the same technology proven in the industrial environment, this small footprint machine is all but ready to work right out of the box, making it ideal for educational institutions, prototypers, makerspaces, and hobbyists.

Preparing the Next Generation of Maker Pro

new event at Bay Area Maker Faire (@makerfaire) next month calledIndustry, Career & College Day will offer resources for young people about how a maker mindset can help them in college, the workplace, and beyond.

The event will feature representatives from startups, industry, universities and more. Students will also be able to pitch ideas to Cornell Engineering (@CornellEng) for the Cornell Cup, an embedded design competition. The event is free, even if you don’t buy a ticket to Maker Faire, but slots are limited, so sign up now.

The Maker Pros of Miami

Maker Faire MiamiMake: correspondent Goli Mohammadi (@snowgoli) reports, drew a wide variety of maker pros from the community. Offerings ranged from an upcoming, category-defying musical instrument called the XT Synth to ScullSquared, which sells 3D printed wearables and accessibles.

“Nature inspires me on many different levels and it is something I strive to incorporate in my work,” said artist Nicole Martinez, who uses natural materials to create resplendent jewelry. “Everything I create comes from deep within my soul and holds the essence of my creativity.”

3D Printing Frontiers

Back in 1983, 3D printing pioneer Chuck Hall printed an eye wash cup — a choice, according to a new TechCrunch feature, that anticipated the profound ways that 3D printing has come to alter the healthcare industry, from personalized prosthetics and bioprinting to pharmacology.

Designers at the University of Tokyo (@UTokyo_News_encreated a line of flexible, 3D printed creatures that move in a startlingly biological fashion, aided by a new type of cam, and could potentially lead to new robotics movement technologies.

3D Printing Industry rounded up an epic list of reader favorite 3D printing startups — a catalog that includes household names like Desktop Metal (@DesktopMetal) and Markforged (@Markforged), but also many lesser-known contenders like Xaar (@Xaarplc) and Cubicon (@Cubicon3DP).

The police in Abu Dhabi kicked off an initiative to use 3D printing to solve crimes, by giving investigators tools to present evidence in new and intuitive ways.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

Leap Motion (@LeapMotion) announced an open source augmented reality system for hand tracking, which the company showed off in a new video. Make:Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkrafthas more.

Hobby supplier Hobbico (@Hobbico), a longtime supplier of maker-oriented goods, filed for bankruptcy protection last week. The company is hoping that a buyer will present it with a path forward.

Make: correspondent Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchiniwrites about the chocolate makers at Serra (@serracannabis) who are embracing legal cannabis in new products.

LittleBits (@littleBits) teamed up with Star Wars studio Lucasfilm to encourage kids to invent new products. The winner: 10-year-old Hollister, who invented a robot to help kids with autism stay calm during challenging situations.

Ben Einstein (@BenEinstein), the founder of hardware incubator Bolt (@BoltVC), quipped recently that he hires for “slope, not y-intercept.” A new post looks at how to evaluate which hardware startups have potential before they have revenue or even a product.

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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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