Maker Pro Newsletter: Special Maker Faire Edition

Maker Pro Newsletter: Special Maker Faire Edition

“The tools of making have never been cheaper, easier, or more powerful.”

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.

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World Maker Faire New York 2013: The Play-at-Home Version for Maker Pros


This year’s World Maker Faire New York turned out to be nearly an entire week, starting with Wednesday’s Hardware Innovation Workshop, and including off-site events, workshops, and meet-ups.

No surprise, then, that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (@mikebloomberg) issued a proclamation designating it Maker Week.

And once the weekend rolled around, it really got BIG, with the arrival of more than 650 makers, presenters, and performers. Seven stages in and around the New York Hall of Science were in constant use all day Saturday and Sunday.

Media outlets like The Verge said this year’s edition was an indication that DIY making is pushing into the mainstream.

Maybe, but it was also a target-rich environment for maker pros, who follow how the maker movement impacts business and technology. It seemed like Wednesday’s Hardware Innovation Workshop never ended, it just got much larger and more varied.

Still, it was possible to draw a bright, maker pro virtual subway line through the festivities.

Here are some of the stops.

How to Make a Makerspace


On the Friday before the Faire got started, as vehicles were scurrying around the site, generating a constant background chorus of backing-up beep-beep-beeps, a focused group spent the day under a tent considering the meta question: how to Make A Makerspace.

The workshop was led by Gui Cavalcanti (@RoboGui) of Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, Mass. MAKE’s John Baichtal (@johnbaichtal) and Travis Good (@travisgoodsat in.

Among the topics: the makerspace chasm and makerspace business models.

The live Twitterfeed gives a sense of how the workshop went.

New Products: Announced, Demoed, Launched, Released…

Bring together 70,000+ makers, all actively interested in new and exciting developments, and products will be launched, and demoed, and discussed.

That happened a lot at World Maker Faire New York.

3D printing company Kraftwürx announced a new Digital Factory program that allows anyone who creates 3D models to set up their own 3D printing store on their own domain and sell their goods themselves. Customers shop at the creator’s own website, but the purchases are 3D printed and fulfilled by Kraftwurx. According to Kraftwurx, the system provides your brand or store with access to a network of more than 125 3D printing facilities worldwide and 85 materials. Packages start at $49 a month.

The first public showing of a five-axis CNC  – the PocketNC – caused MAKE’s Travis Good’s jaw to drop.

PocketNC, a 5-axis mill for around $3,000.

PocketNC, a 5-axis mill for around $3,000.

MAKE’s Anna Kaziunas France (@akaziuna) was fascinated by the embedded, multi-axis motion control system: TinyG. It’s being developed by Synthetos.

The new MinnowBoard raised the bar on embedded computing.

A prototype of a coffee-making robot, the PourSteady, served long lines of customers all weekend. BBC Business called PourSteady “The most interesting thing we’ve seen at the show.”  The Maker Media staff was so impressed with the technology, and the coffee, that five of them awarded PourSteady Editor’s Choice ribbons.

Automated production of six pour-over coffee stations.

Automated production of six pour-over coffee stations.

Finally, a still-in-development prototype got a $5,000 boost towards becoming product. It was announced at Maker Faire that Firefly Newborn Phototherapy was the voters’ choice at the Pitch Your Prototype competition held earlier in this busy Maker Week at the Hardware Innovation Workshop.


Elizabeth Johansen of Firefly with Dale Dougherty of Maker Media. That’s a $5,000 check in her left hand.

The State of Arduino and Raspberry Pi

Mr. Arduino himself: Massimo Banzi.

Massimo Banzi, a co-founder of the Arduino project.

Massimo Banzi (@mbanzi), the co-founder of the Arduino project, spoke about The State of Arduino, which is rapidly turning into an ecosystem. He cited a number of new partners that are now working under the Arduino umbrella. He also previewed Arduino’s new website.

BTW, MAKE’s Alasdair Allan reported during Maker Faire that the Arduino Yún was available for sale for the first time in the United States in the Maker Shed.


Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Eben Upton, founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, gave an overview of where the Raspberry Pi is headed. On the horizon: a wider focus on community, general science, and education.

The State of 3D Printing

There was an entire 3D Village at Maker Faire, but it didn’t even come close to containing the activity related to this fast-growing sector. 3D printers and related products were all over the Faire.

MAKE’s Anna Kaziunas France ran down the diverse array of 3D prints – from complex humanoid robots to wearable designs. Some of Anna’s Vines capture these dynamic machines in action.


Seen at the Faire: InMoov, an open source 3D-printable animatronic robot

Future design blog Inhabitat found 8 Must-See 3D Printing Revelations, including the new Ultimaker 2, which had its first public showing at the Faire.

3D blog SolidSmack presented a photo tour that captured the Faire’s 3D printing zeitgeist.

MakerBot’s Bre Pettis (@bre), who described the Maker Faire attendees as “my people,” made frequent appearences at the Faire during the week. On Saturday, he introduced the new MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner to a packed audience on the Faire’s Innovation Stage.

Faire coverage by the British newspaper The Guardian focused on MakerBot’s Digitizer, and the new Ultimaker 2  3D printer, which it described as MakerBot’s main competitor in Europe.

Manufacturing Adventures

There were plenty of maker pro stories at this year’s World Maker Faire New York: about how people thought up projects, created prototypes, and shipped products to stores and customers.

David Lang (@davidtlang) was everywhere during Maker Week. He is a co-founder of OpenROV, a community of citizen ocean explorers and creators of low-cost underwater robots. OpenROV had an exhibit at Maker Faire, which included a small swimming pool for their latest robot.

OpenROV project co-founder Eric Stackpole demonstrates his underwater robot. (Juliann Brown/MAKE)

The OpenROV project at an earlier Maker Faire (Juliann Brown/MAKE)

Lang is also the author of the just-released book, Zero to Maker, so he was in fine voice on the broader theme of making in general. You can watch him here, on the Innovation Stage.

A gaggle of makers from Farm Hack explained how they are reinventing the traditional tools of agriculture.

Ericka Basile from The Grommet, told a MAKE Live stage audience what to do after your crowdfunding campaign.

The co-founders of the maker-oriented girls dollhouse building kit Roominate explained how they went from prototype to product.


The Roominate co-founders on the MAKE Live stage

Bunnie Huang (@bunniestudios) told Stories from Shenzhen, the Chinese manufacturing capital.

Mark Hatch (@MarkHatch), the CEO of the makerspace chain TechShop, was full of stories. He’s seen a lot of professional making up-close in TechShop’s six locations.

“I’ve seen businesses started almost by accident,” he said during a Sunday morning talk on the Innovation Stage, explaining that as users follow their interests they often invent things that have surprising commercial potential.

BTW, Hatch hinted during the talk that the company would be making a big announcement the day after Maker Faire. The reason, it turns out: Monday was the first day companies could take advantage of the new, relaxed “public solicitation” rules enabled by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) act.

Sure enough, at 8am on Monday, TechShop announced that it was hoping to raise $60 million through a public solicitation. At this early stage, however, there are a number of restrictions: only “accredited investors” are allowed: that’s people who make more than $200,000 a year or are worth more than a million dollars (excluding primary residence properties). TechShop is also asking for minimum investments of $25,000. It’s a pricey crowdfunding campaign, but also a valuable early test of the new rules.

Like David Lang, Hatch also had a book to promote: The Maker Movement Manifesto. So he was in an aphoristic, epigrammatic mood.

“The tools of making have never been cheaper, easier, or more powerful,” he told the audience.

During his talk, Hatch read nine rules that comprise his manifesto.

Number 2 was “share,” which seemed particularly relevant, given the setting.

“You cannot make,” he declared authoritatively, “and not share.”

The 650+ makers who attended World Maker Faire New York would probably all agree.


Featured Maker Faires

The first Maker Faire Rome is coming right up. It’s Oct. 3–6, and it’s for Europe at large. An international crowd from all over Europe, and beyond, is expected. (You can watch a sneak preview here.)

The Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC) – October 11-13

DARC, to be held at New York University, will combine a DIY/maker event, a day of curated talks, live drone demos, and a participatory tech-policy conference.

Expected at DARC: the creators of NodeCopter; CEOs from robotics companies (Parrot, 3DRobotics); Vijay Kumar of the GRASP Lab; Missy Cummings, former fighter pilot and Director of MIT’s Humans and Automation Lab; and representatives from agencies including NOAA, NASA, and NTSB.

Website:; registration:

Special discount available for Maker Pro readers: 30% off.

Promo code: MAKEDARC30 (general admission only).

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
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