Maker Pro Newsletter #26

Maker News
Maker Pro Newsletter #26

“Mass personalization is the innovation of the 21st century.”

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 yours!


3 “Hybrid Personal Fabricators” on the Launchpad

Get ready for a new genre of 3D printer: the “hybrid personal fabricator” that combines 3D printing with other related capabilities.

Three different machines are on the launchpad: two have already started crowdfunding campaigns; a third plans to launch in early September.

The capabilities in this emerging category differ from unit to unit, but the goal is the same: to create a single product that extends the range of the 3D printer to include functions like 3D scanning and CNC routing. Perhaps a new name for these devices will emerge: so far they’ve been referred to as “all-in-one 3D printers” and “hybrid personal fabricators.”


FABtotum was the first off the blocks, with an Indiegogo campaign pursuing a $50,000 goal. With around 40 days left, they have already surpassed their goal, with more than $59,000 already pledged (as of Thurs. 1:30 pm ET).

The FABtotum unit combines a 3D printer, a CNC machine, and a 3D scanner. The creators, based in Milan, Italy, are planning to sell the unit, fully assembled, for $1,099 (a kit is available for $999). They expect to ship in May, 2014.

A prototype version will be on display at Maker Faire Rome, Oct. 3-6, 2013.

The Microfactory, which describes itself as “a machine shop in a box,” is a combination 3D printer and CNC mill. The unit also has an onboard computer, which expands its networking capabilities. A team based at the Artisan’s Asylum makerspace in Somerville, Mass., Mebotics, just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Microfactory. They are hoping to raise a cool $1 million. To reserve a unit, you need to pledge at least $4,495. Estimated delivery: October 2014.


The Zeus unit from AIO Robotics is a combination 3D printer, scanner, copier, and fax machine. It has the ability to transmit 3D objects to other machines, and duplicate 3D objects even when they are not nearby — a transporter for objects.

Zeus was created by computer science grad students Kai Chang and Jens Windau at the University of Southern California. The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to launch Sept. 4. The creators have not detailed prices yet, but they have been quoted promising that the price will be less than a MakerBot Replicator and Digitizer combination, which would put it under $5,000.


Distributed Manufacturing on the Agenda at Inside 3D Printing Conference


In yet another sign that 3D printing is splashing into the mainstream, a new digital rights management (DRM) scheme for 3D printed objects is starting to get some attention.

MIT Technology Review just published an article that describes a technology that makes it possible for a design to be sent to a 3D printer in such a way that it can be printed only once.

The software was developed by Authentise, a startup based in Mountain View, Calif.

“You don’t receive the raw design file,” Andre Wegner, co-founder and CEO of the company told the Review, “so you can’t copy and share it.”

The technology, which Wegner compares to the way Netflix streams video without leaving behind a file, could speed the development of distributed manufacturing, bringing in companies, like Disney for example, that are interested in selling designs to fans with 3D printers without giving them the ability to produce multiple copies.

Wegner will be discussing how distributed manufacturing powered by 3D printing and other digital manufacturing technologies will drive supply chain disruption at the upcoming Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo that will be held in San Jose, Sept. 17–18. The event, programmed by Cornell professor Hod Lipson, will feature talks by executives, researchers, investment professionals, and technologists.


Keynote addresses will be delivered by S. Scott Crump, chairman of the board and chief innovation officer of Stratasys, and Avi Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems.

Lipson will present his view on the future of 3D printing in a talk on the second day.

BTW, Maker Pro Newsletter readers get a 15% discount on a full conference pass to the Inside 3D Printing Conference and ExpoJust enter promo code: MAKE.

OpenDesk Taps into the Maker Network


The original OpenDesk: “free to download, pay to get made.”

Could plywood be the material that brings together a global network of CNC router-powered makers?

OpenDesk, a project based in London, is priming this idea with six furniture designs that could spark more connections among makers with CNC routers.

If you have a CNC router, you can download the designs for free. If not, you can use OpenDesk partner FabHub to help you find somebody who can cut it for you.

OpenDesk’s motto is: “Open source furniture, made locally.”

This is not the first attempt to connect furniture designers with connected makers. Fabsie, also based in the U.K., ran a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year that featured a rocking stool that you could cut yourself or buy from the closest CNC router-equipped maker on the Fabsie map.

Fabsie’s rocking stool was also customizable, because … it could be. Users were encouraged to tweak the dimensions or request decorative cuts.

As Fabsie co-founder James McBennett (@mcbennett) told Fast Company, “mass personalization is the innovation of the 21st century.”

Ted Hall of ShopBot Tools is also pushing the idea of knitting together a network of machine-ready makers.

In 2008, Shopbot collaborated with the online manufacturing service Ponoko to start 100kGarages, which aims to connect designers and digital fabricators around the world.

The name of the project derives from a question TV journalist Tom Brokaw asked during the 2008 presidential debate: “Will our challenges best be solved by 100,000 garages across the country, expressing a new era of American industry and innovation?”

100kGarages, Fabsie, and OpenDesk have a response to that: Yes!

Makerspace News


A prototype sisal twiner

John Baichtal (@johnbaichtalsurveys the scene in MAKE and finds an emerging consortium of makerspaces in the Bay Area, a bioprinter community project in Sunnyvale, Calif., and plans for a makerspace in Kenya that hopes to develop tools for making the sisal crop more profitable for local farmers.

Oakland Local looks at how Oakland, Calif. has become an art and maker mecca. Author Kevin Lee visits NIMBYThe CrucibleAmerican Steel Studios, and a new initiative, Oakland Makers.


World Maker Faire New York

Three weeks until the show! Sept. 21–22.

And consider arriving a few days earlier to attend the Hardware Innovation Workshop.

Featured Maker Faires

Start making plans to participate in the first Maker Faire Rome, Oct. 3–6. It is for Europe at large, and will attract an international crowd from all over Europe and beyond. (You can watch a sneak preview here.)

Mini Maker Faires

More than 70 are currently scheduled for this year, around the world. 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).