Hardwarians Unite!

Tracking recommended hardware resources on The Maker Map

Something really interesting is happening with hardware startups. As chronicled and celebrated at the Hardware Innovation Workshop back in May, the combination of cheap sensors, readily available tools, materials, and intel, accessible makerspaces, and crowdfunding are fueling a whole new generation of hardware startups that are taking advantage of the new tool chain.

Here in San Francisco, the hardware community is growing quickly. At the center of all this is Nick Pinkston, organizer of the SF Hardware Startup Meetup, which seems to double attendance at each of monthly meeting. Nick has done an incredible job of bringing this once disparate community together, and helped us all discover overlapping needs and interests.

Over the past few weeks, Nick has turned his attention to the global hardware startup community by initiating a few different efforts. I thought it was worth noting some of his work:

Hardware Subreddit – It’s about time we had our own subreddit. Nick made it happen (and it’s already up to 373 members!) Here it is: reddit.com/r/hwstartups/

Hardware Discussion on StackOverflow – This idea resonated with a lot of developers, so Nick started the discussion. You can follow it here.

TheMakerMap – As someone who is just diving into the manufacturing process, I’m amazed at how difficult the process can be. When I ask fellow hardware startups about their process, I seem to always get some kind of “I have this job shop I know of” answer. It’s surprisingly difficult to get good information. Nick has proposed the idea of creating a MakerMap, a site to find local hardware resources (materials/parts suppliers, manufacturers, freelancers, etc.) A group of hardwarians got together last week for a mini-hackathon to get the process rolling. Here’s how it’s coming along: The Maker Map

We need this! As someone who’s making the transition into small-batch manufacturing, I’ve realized how unnecessarily hard the process can be. TheMakerMap aims to be Yelp for makers, a wonderfully helpful tool we’ll all have to build together. Another MakerMap hackathon is in the works, so stay tuned for more information.

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Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!

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