Maker Pro News: Connecting at Maker Faire and More

Maker News
Maker Pro News: Connecting at Maker Faire and More

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“It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives.” –Steve Horowitz, vice president of engineering at Snap Inc.


World Maker Faire and Your Startup

World Maker Faire New York, which is now just days away — you can still get tickets here — has been described as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.” It’s a weekend-long blowout that incorporates elements of a science fair and country carnival, and which draws every imaginable species of hobbyist, crafter, engineer, educator, and student under the banner of the maker movement.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s increasingly vibrant hardware scene, the event is a destination for entrepreneurs of every stripe, from successful startup founders to garage tinkerers with big dreams. Later on in this issue you’ll find a few of the dozens of maker pros you’ll be able to hang out with in New York this weekend — a crowd that includes ventures ranging from artisans and artists to roboticists and biologists.

In addition to building connections with that community, maker pros at World Maker Faire will have the chance to rub shoulders with the makers and hackers at A-list organizations from Intel to Mouser and even West Point.

Long story short, it’s an unmissable show. If you can’t be there in person, drop by for our Twitch livestream hosted by Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft(@calebkraft).

And if you have your own maker pro takeaways from the Faire, send us a note: Maybe you’ll end up in next week’s newsletter.

Maker Pros at World Maker Faire

Here are a few of the maker pros you’ll be able to meet in New York City on October 1–2.

Circuit Classics is Star Simpson’s (@starsandrobots) loving homage to Radio Shack stalwart Forrest Mims’ (@fmim) vintage workbooks. Simpson’s Kickstarted campaign to ship PCBs of three classic Mims designs raised more than $42,000 out of a $10,000 goal — so stop by and ask her how she brought the project to life.

Berlin-based Next Dynamics will be on site with the NexD1, a high resolution, multi-material desktop 3D printer that it says brings the best of industrial fabrication to the home desktop.

Thud Rumble makes bespoke gear for DJs who want to tear up some vinyl tracks — think custom turntable slipmats and styluses — decorated with vintage graffiti-style artwork. Come geek out about audio or reminisce about NYC’s music scene.

Also, don’t miss appearances by big-name outfits including Cypress (@CypressSemi), Bernzomatic (@Bernzomatic), Arduino (@arduino), and BeagleBoard (@beagleboardorg).

Tickets for World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science are still available! Get yours here!


Kickstarter, Deconstructed

The datamancers at Polygraph (@polygraphing) have done it again with a beautiful visual essay about the Kickstarter ecosystem that analyzes 100,000 Kickstarter projects by industry, city, and number of backers.

Maker pro campaigns fall into a range of Polygraph’s categories. You can find Pressy and Omate TrueSmart in the porous “design” section, Pictar and Weather Point in “technology,” and the 10-Year Hoodie in “other.” And that’s without delving into all the terrific fabrication in the art, food, and gaming categories.

It’s worth letting yourself get a little lost in this data, though, because it offers tantalizing glimpses into the soul of crowdfunding — its astonishing diversity, for one, but also trends in the sorts of projects that succeed in a huge, viral way or simply achieve modest, sustainable funding.

Intriguing trends emerge that map not only the landscape of Kickstarter itself but quite possibly the topography of DIY entrepreneurship in 2016: College towns, unsurprisingly, are generally overrepresented; New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles produce disproportionate quantities of design-oriented campaigns; Indianapolis, of all places, generates prodigious numbers of tabletop games.

Seriously, check this thing out: The Entire History of Kickstarter Projects, by Polygraph.

Do you know of a Kickstarter project we should be covering? Do you have thoughts on the relationship between crowdfunding and entrepreneurship? We’re listening — shoot us an email at

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web:

Remember Kano, the computer anyone could make? The same team is back with three new products: the evocatively-named Pixel Kit, Camera Kit, and Speaker Kit. Check it out on Kickstarter. (At World Maker Faire, Kano founder Alex Klein will be speaking on the Maker to Market stage Saturday at 3pm.)

An intriguing entrant for the Hackaday Prize: OpenChair is a kit for converting a regular wheelchair into an electric model, using the type of hub drive motors popularized by so-called hoverboards.

Recode investigated Steve Horowitz, the ex-Motorola maker who’s heading up Snap Inc’s bespectacled debut in the hardware world. “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it,” Horowitz told the Wall Street Journal of the spectacles.

In an interesting example of cross pollination between large and small companies, Bay Area hardware startup Flybrix is making a kit that lets you build your own drone out of Lego bricks. Flybrix’s Bluetooth controller connects to an iOS or Android smartphone or a proprietary controller, and the electronic parts, the company emphasizes, are designed to be rugged enough to survive less-than-successful test flights.

Hearkening back to Will Holman’s ongoing documentation of the business considerations of opening a new makerspace, Maryland maker Alex Baddock penned a new post for the Make: blog about how to lay out a new makerspace for maximum usability, flexibility, and noise control. Maker pro tip: separate dirty from clean and noisy from quiet.

Upcoming Maker Faires

Steyr Mini Maker Faire (Austria): Sept 30–Oct 1
Maker Faire Berlin (Germany): Sept 30–Oct 2
Bogotá Mini Maker Faire (Columbia): Oct 1
Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire (Riverside, CA): Oct 1
Rocklin Mini Maker Faire (CA): Oct 1
Maker Faire Atlanta (Decatur, GA): Oct 1–2
Maker Faire San Diego (CA): Oct 1–2
Athens Mini Maker Faire (Greece): Oct 1–2
Maker Faire Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Spain): Oct 1–2
World Maker Faire New York (Queens, New York): Oct 1–2
Hsinchu Mini Maker Faire 2016 (Hsinchu City, Taiwan): Oct 3–4

Find a Maker Faire near you on the Maker Faire map.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

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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