Maker Pro Newsletter – 02/13/14

Maker Pro Newsletter – 02/13/14

“What creates wealth is what you share, not what you hide.”

From the editors of MAKE magazine, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends.

Please send items to us at

Click here to subscribe to this newsletter.

Are you a Maker Pro? We’re compiling a list of Maker Pro Twitter handles, so please send us yoursSubscribe to the Maker Pro Twitter list here.



There’s a new 3D printing network and marketplace, Maker6, on the eve of what promises to be a busy few days on the 3D printing scene.

* Expect action in the world of 3D printing as 3D Printshow ramps up in New York. Already: an all-metal 3D printer from Printrbot; a new 3D printer network and marketplace, Maker6; and Intel Capital has announced that it’s funding two startups in the space: CGTrader, a 3D model marketplace, and makexyz, a 3D printer network.

James Dyson, the head of the vacuum cleaner company that bears his name, could be getting ready to take another run at a robotic vacuum cleaner, according to the BBC. Dyson said the company developed a prototype a few years ago, but it was too heavy and too expensive. To jumpstart the new project, Dyson has given more than $8 million to create a robotic vision laboratory focused on domestic robots at Imperial College in London.

Google is using some of its new robot smarts to help Chinese contract manufacturer Foxconn, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Google wants to get better at manufacturing, specifically electronics assembly, so it can compete with rivals like Amazon, the article says. The Verge thinks this is significant. But it’s worth noting that most of Google’s robots are still in the moon shot prototype stage. It could be that Rodney Brooks‘ factory-ready robots are better positioned to start assembling gadgets.

* Here’s a funding option you may not have considered, yet: the self-IPO. Would you take $70k from 14 investors in exchange for 6.94% of your earnings for the next 10 years?

* Pursuing a peaceful quadcopter project? Consider applying for a Drone Social Innovation Award.

* Trace that 10-cent through-hole resister back to where you ordered it from: take a behind-the-scenes photo tour of Digi-Key, in Thief River Falls, Minn.

* Finally, MAKE is hosting its first MakerCon, May 13–14, the week of Maker Faire Bay Area. A broader more expansive conference and series of workshops, MakerCon looks at the impact of makers and making on education, the economy and emerging markets. It offers makers of all stripes — from hobbyists to makers pros — a chance to discover new tools and technologies; available resources and services; and learn more about topical trends and new markets emerging from the maker movement.

If you are interested in submitting a presentation proposal, please visit



Gabriella Levine on Open Source Hardware


Gabriella Levine, president, Open Source Hardware Association

The open source hardware movement, which continues to grow and evolve, is the subject of this interview in Open Electronics with Gabriella Levine (@gabriella_sneel), the newly-appointed president of the Open Source Hardware Association.

Levine, who is an artist and roboticist, makes the case that an open-source approach, rather than patent grabbing, is better suited to today’s quickly changing marketplaces.

“No longer will patent ownership be the driving force behind success,” she says, ”but success will come from the best technology that is fastest to make it to market.”

It’s a philosophy that Levine follows on her own projects, including Protei, an autonomous, inflatable, articulated sailboat that collects the oil from oil spills. As Cesar Harada (@cesarharada), Protei project coordinator, told The New York Times, “What creates wealth is what you share, not what you hide.”

Startup Financing for Visual Learners

It’s a complicated business, sorting out the funding options for startups. The terminology makes it worse: “seed rounds,” “option pools,” and so on.

So treat yourself to some startup visual candy, courtesy of Funders and Founders. The infographics on the site are not comprehensive, but maybe you’ll get a fresh view of a topic that put you to sleep the last time you tried to plow through a chapter on the topic.


Detail from How Startup Funding Works (credit:

A few of the infographics worth perusing:

And here’s a bonus infographic, on the Internet of Things, from SAP, paired with a speed summary of a GigaOm report on the subject.


Makerspace News


Representative Nancy Pelosi touring San Francisco’s TechShop with CEO Mark Hatch, right.

* Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (@nancypelosi), the minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, toured San Francisco’s TechShop and declared that she was “in awe” of the makerspace movement. Pelosi also participated in a roundtable discussion with TechShop CEO Mark Hatch (@markhatch), and local hardware entrepreneurs.

* Speaking of TechShop, two community makerspaces in Grand Rapids, Mich. are worried about the impact that the makerspace chain will have if it opens a local facility (Grand Rapids is on a TechShop list of possible future locations).

The head of one of the spaces, the Geek Group, is seriously concerned, referring to TechShop as “the great Satan” which will “destroy community hackerspaces wherever they go.” The founder of a smaller Grand Rapids makerspace, GR Makers, is just kind of wondering what the impact will be. There could be room for all three, based on what happened a few hundred miles away in metro Detroit, where TechShop opened a facility in 2012, according to the write-up in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Still, more conflicts like this could lie ahead, as the expansion plans of for-profit TechShop overlap with existing community makerspaces.

* Among the new locations where makerspaces have cropped up: a library in Toronto, and a museum in Louisville, Ky.

Lowell Makes, a nonprofit makerspace based in what the founders proudly consider “the cradle of the American industrial revolution,” has launched a campaign to fund a wood shop.

Maker Pro Tweets of the Week

Subscribe to the Maker Pro Twitter list here.


Mini Maker Faires

Here’s what’s coming in the next few months:

What’s ahead further down the road? Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.


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


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).