Maker Pro Newsletter #19

Maker News
Maker Pro Newsletter #19

“You shouldn’t need a device to tell you if your glucose is too high. Your clothes should tell you.” 

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, innovators, along with technology and market trends. Please send items to us at makerpro@makermedia.comClick here to subscribe to this newsletter!


New Hardware Incubator, Highway1, Launches

Supply-chain giant PCH International, headquartered in Cork, Ireland and Shenzhen, China, has launched a hardware incubator program, Highway1, that offers portfolio companies up to $20,000 and a hardware course that includes a trip to the factories of Shenzhen.

Startups that do well in the incubator program have the opportunity to progress to PCH’s accelerator, which offers investment and supply-chain management.

The four-month program will be based in San Francisco, and includes access to a new $3 million machine shop. A two-week module in Shenzhen will help participants “get China ready.”

The $20,000 seed investment from Highway1 is in return for 3-6% equity in participating companies.

Microsoft Offers 3D Printing Support in Windows 8.1

Microsoft is adding native support for 3D printing to its new Windows 8.1 operating system.

The goal, said Microsoft VP Antoine Leblond, will be to make 3D printing “just as easy and seamless as printing in 2D.”

A built-in API will enable third party developers to add 3D printing to their apps.

The Seattle software giant made the announcement during a demonstration of the new operating system. Two printers were specifically mentioned in the demonstration: the MakerBot Replicator 2 and the 3D Systems Cube.

More details are available in Microsoft’s Windows Dev Center.

Chicago Public Library to Open Makerspace

The Chicago Public Library plans to open a free Maker Lab on July 8 — the first large urban library to experiment with a makerspace.

The facility will run through December 2013. After the six month run, the library will evaluate the project to determine the fit with the library’s mission and the ability to bring the project, or elements of it, to a wider audience in the neighborhood branches.

The Lab will feature software such as Trimble SketchUp, Inkscape, MeshLab, and MakerCAM; equipment will include three 3D printers, two laser cutters, a milling machine, and a vinyl cutter.

MAKE Starts Curated Site on Kickstarter

With thousands of projects in 13 categories, it’s easy to get lost in theKickstarter supermarket.

To help thin the herd of projects, MAKE has just announced that it has launched a curated page on Kickstarter.

The first week’s selections include the winner of the recent Pitch Your Prototype competition at the Hardware Innovation Workshop, and a project to display animations on your bike wheels.

Bookmark it to keep up with the latest campaigns.

And watch for a companion page on Indiegogo, coming soon.

Three new 3D Model Marketplaces Launch

  • From Switzerland: Cuboyo.
  • From Germany: Stilnest, with an emphasis on jewelry.
  • From Mountain View, Calif.: Layer by Layer, which sells individual 3D prints optimized for your 3D printer. Currently compatible with MakerBot Replicators 1, 2, and 2X.

Square Launches Online Marketplace

The company that brought e-commerce to phones now offers online storefronts as well, in the new Square MarketJack Dorsey (@jack), Square’s CEO, also co-founded Twitter, and the connection is apparent. Wired Business explains how the new online marketplace will make a storefront out of Twitter, and Pinterest, and Facebook.


What is the New Industrial Revolution?

Nick Pinkston (@nickpinkston) is the guy you want to read on this subject: he’s founded a few hardware startups, and he runs the San Francisco Hardware Startup Meetup.

He’s also an energetic commentator who does not shrink from impolitic observations. So it’s worth paying attention when he unloads his views on MAKE.

His point in this post: 3D printing is great, but much more significant is the digitization of manufacturing in general — “from CNC milling, to factory floor automation, and all the way to system-wide integration.”

Also check out Pinkston’s talk from MAKE’s Hardware Innovation Workshop, “New Dimensions to 3D Printing.”

3D Printing: Micro and Macro

Developments have been occuring on the frontiers of scale.

On the tiny extreme, scientists at Harvard University and theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used 3D printing technology to create batteries that are about the size of a grain of sand. Among the uses of these batteries: to power micro-electronics, medical implants, and insect-sized robots.

These batteries perform much like the batteries we use every day.

“The electrochemical performance is comparable to commercial batteries in terms of charge and discharge rate, cycle life, and energy densities. We’re just able to achieve this on a much smaller scale,” said Shen Dillon, co-author of the paper announcing the advance.

This battery is about the size of a grain of sand.

This battery is about the size of a grain of sand.

Also on the micro tip: Japanese researchers have developed a “two photon printing” process that can print microscopic objects. The advance has implications for microelectrodes, medical implants, and microcircuits.

famous Stanford Bunny

They demonstrated their advance using the famous Stanford Bunny.

Way over on the colossal end of the spectrum, building printer D-Shape won a prize from the City of New York for its innovative solution to the crumbling pilings on the city’s waterfront.

And China now claims to have the largest laser 3D printer in the world, which is in keeping with the way the new technology is playing out in that country. The big 3D printer has a maximum processing size of 1.8 meters, or nearly two yards. Fortunately material costs are not a problem: it uses sand.

Next Big Things

Bloomberg hosted a conference on the topic, and Inc. magazinecaptured the top five: Bitcoin, “contextually aware systems,” personalized mobile phone news alerts based on Twitter activity, car sharing, and increased consumer management of personal data.

Expect layers of contextual awareness, Intel CTO Justin Rattner (@intc_rattner) told the audience.

“You shouldn’t need a device to tell you if your glucose is too high,” he said. “Your clothes should tell you.”

Makerspace News

Crowdfunding Leaderboard

The Pocket Tripod

The Pocket Tripod, currently popular on Kickstarter.

Popular this week on Kickstarter: custom-machined pens, a virtual reality interface for your feet, and a wallet-sized iPhone stand. (The designer explains how he used 3D printing to prototype his project here.)

On Indiegogo: a button tracker for frequently lost items, a medical tricorder, and a smart lock for your home.


From MakerBot re: Digitizer

MakerBot has posted a few updates on the Digitizer 3D scanner project it announced at SXSW earlier this year. The latest trials: three thrift-store figurines, a cat (as in feline) scan, and an icon.

A Third Bendable Filament Option

From Kai Parthy, of Laybrick fame: translucent Bendlay. It joins the previously mentioned  Elasto Plastic and Rubber-like in 3D printing’s new, soft parade.

More on SparkFun’s Autonomous Vehicle Competition

Engadget has finished editing an excellent video on the event.

My Mini Factory Open for Business

We raised the curtain on this online British 3D printing marketplace a few weeks ago. Now it’s open.

Smartphone 3D Scanning

Pelican Imaging predicts 3D scanning is going to get much easier when smartphones start sporting multiple lenses.


World Maker Faire New York

It’s less than three months until the show, which is Sept. 21 and 22. The Call for Makers is open now until July 28.

And this just in: the popular Road to Maker Faire Challenge, which has been awarding one maker a year $2,500 to bring a project to Maker Faire Bay Area, has added a World Maker Faire New York version. If you’ve got a project on the runway, considerapplying.

Featured Maker Faires

Maker Faire Kansas City is taking place this weekend: June 29 and 30 in Union Station. The fourth annual Maker Faire Detroit happens on July 27 and 28 at The Henry Ford. Also, start making plans to participate in the first Maker Faire Rome, Oct. 3–6. Event curators Massimo Banzi (@mbanzi) and Riccardo Luna(@riccardowired) are producing the event with World Wide Rome, a Rome Chamber of Commerce initiative, but the Faire is really for Europe at large and will attract an international crowd from all over Europe and beyond. The Call for Makers has been extended until this Sunday, June 30. If you’re a maker, performer, or presenter, Maker Faire Rome wants to hear from you.

Mini Maker Faires

More than 70 of them are currently scheduled for this year, around the world. Check the Maker Faire Map to find the closest one to you.

MAKE’s Hardware Innovation Workshop

Did you miss the MAKE Hardware Innovation Workshop? Watch the videos from the event!

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
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