Maker Pro Newsletter #11

Maker News
Maker Pro Newsletter #11

“If you come, we will build it.”

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!


Makers Report on the Inside 3D Printing conference in NYC

The first Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo was held in New York City last week, and reports have been rolling in.

MAKE’s Nick Normal (@nicknormal) and Brian Jepson (@bjepson) filed an article that estimated the crowd at 3,000. Nick and Brian were struck by the mix of attendees — from newbie explorers to savvy buyers from the medical and aerospace industries. The pair also attended a “lightning round” session for startups; they included seven companies noteworthy companies in their review.

Todd Blatt (@tblatt) also attended the conference and published his thoughts in MAKE. He was particularly impressed with Mcor’s Iris printer, which can print multicolored 3D objects using everyday copy paper.

Two 3D Printable Design Marketplaces Launch

Those of us who aren’t designers can empower ourselves by adapting others’ open source designs. At the same time, talented designers need to make money from their designs. Enter 3D Burrito, a marketplace for 3D printable models with the same 70/30 split that prevails on iTunes.

Also launching: a new manufacturing marketplace, Additer, based in Melbourne, Australia. The idea is that designers and consumers can post their projects, and manufacturers can bid on producing them.

Makexyz partners with 3DLT

As 3D marketplaces and services proliferate, the partnerships are starting to multiply.

The latest: 3DLT, a 3D printing marketplace where professional designers, students, companies, and other organizations can sell their 3D printable designs online, has partnered with makexyz, the distributed 3D printing service.

And it makes sense: 3DLT customers can browse for printable items, and then use makexyz to print it on the nearest 3D printer.

3DLT is still in beta, so you can’t browse the virtual shelves yet, but testers are being actively solicited on the site.

In Brief

  • Staples opened its first 3D printing center in Almere, Netherlands.
  • 3D Systems reported a 31 percent jump in revenue in its first quarter earnings report. It sold 81 percent more printers than the same quarter a year earlier.
  • iMakr, which claims to be the largest 3D printing store in the world, opened earlier this week in London. Among the wares on sale: three printers from 3D Systems: the Cube, the Cube X, the Cube X Trio, and the Solidoodle 3.
  • MAKE publisher Dale Dougherty (@dalepd) gave the closing keynote address at today’s session of the OuiShare Fest in Paris, the “first major European event dedicated to the collaborative economy.”

Hardware Innovation

Tim DaRosa’s Exciting, Crazy, Upside-Down Hardware Education

Ouya is a new kind of game console for the television. It is open and allows any creator to develop games. It costs $99. All the games are free to try. Hackers can dismantle the device by loosening 4 small screws — without voiding the warranty.

It may have crossed your radar last summer when it blew the lid off its Kickstarter campaign, raising $8.6 million, eight times its original $950k goal.

But what you may not know is what an “exciting, crazy, upside-down education” process this has been for the small (around 25 employees) Los Angeles based company that is on track for its June retail launch.

Tim DaRosa (@tdarosa), Ouya’s marketing guy, is going to tell the whole backstory at the upcoming Hardware Innovation Workshop. He’s on the Tuesday afternoon startup panel (with David Merrill, co-founder and president of Sifteo, Alice Taylor, founder of MakieLab, Lisa Qiu Fetterman, co-founder of Nomiku, and Jay Silver, founder of MaKey MaKey).

Tim DaRosa, Ouya’s marketing guy.

There’s still plenty of time to buy tickets to catch DaRosa and the rest of the Workshop, but for those who can’t make it, DaRosa gave a preview of his remarks to MAKE.

DaRosa’s experience demonstrates how different the hardware experience is these days: the idea is launched first, on a crowdsourcing platform (the promise: “if you come, we will build it”); then the product development starts; but with gamer and developer feedback throughout; and with multiple promised deadlines: to developers, early backers, retail partners, etc. Oh yeah, and then you have to get quality, timely work from manufacturers who are accustomed to working with much bigger companies, like, ah, Nintendo, and Sony, and Microsoft.

The Ouya console

Remarkably, the team at Ouya delivered their developer consoles, and first Kickstarter units, on time. Now they are focused on their June retail launch with major U.S. and U.K. game retailers.

DaRosa’s attitude: “Game on.”


Why does crowdfunding have so much sustained, disruptive power? Because it continues to spawn new varieties.

That’s the takeaway from a recent column in Wired by former Google and Apple executive, Dave Girouard (@davegirouard). His main thesis is that the movement will segue from investing in projects to investing in people. That’s the focus of his new startup Upstart (and a competitor, Pave).

But along the way, Girouard also gives an update on the equity crowdsourcing movement, including the news that the SEC is already taking steps on the path to approval of the concept in its communications with two early equity crowdsourcing companies, FundersClub and AngelList.

According to Girouard, we’re getting closer to a time when everybody can be an angel investor.

Are you thinking bigger than crowdfunding and angels? Before you start dreaming of a venture capital investment, read Six Myths About Venture Capital, by former VC Diane Mulcahy (@dianemulcahy). Her view: the VC industry is fading as a source of innovation and startup acceleration.

Fab Labs and Hackerspaces

Photo by Urban Splash

On MAKE, Andrew Sleigh (@andrewsleigh) visits the U.K.’s first fab lab, located appropriately in the great industrial city of Manchester, and housed in a very cool building, above. Andrew spoke to Eddie Kirby of the Manufacturing Institute, a charity that supports manufacturing business in the U.K., which owns and runs the facility. Kirby’s vision extends well beyond Manchester: he’d like to see 30 fab labs in the U.K., and 150 worldwide.

Consulting group PSFK also took a makerspace tour, visiting Seattle’s MakerHaus. Founders Ellie and Mike Kemery told them that the facility’s primary users are “professional creatives” — designers, engineers, architects, technologists, developers, entrepreneurs, etc. — who are looking for a place to realize their personal and professional projects.

Finally, Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) makes a video visit to the San Francisco branch of TechShop, which currently has six locations: in California, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and three more planned for Arizona, Washington DC, and Brooklyn. TechShop CEO Mark Hatch (@markhatch) leads the 66-minute tour. If you have the time, the visit gives a good overview of what a TechShop-flavored hackerspace is like.

The Internet of Things

Last week was a good time to accelerate your understanding of the Internet of Things.

First, MAKE published the final installment of our three-part series on the topic. It featured Atmel’s Tom Vu (@tomvanvu) interviewing Internet of Things Council member Michael Koster. Koster is supremely confident that everything is moving inexorably towards connection.

“From business to academia, in the home and across the planet, the march to Internet of Things is inevitable,” Koster told Vu.

Also last week, Eric Weddington of Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World, the embedded systems design blog, interviewed Sally Carson, co-founder of Pinoccio, the wireless microcontroller system. Carson said that she hopes her boards will become as commonplace in the maker’s workshop as duct tape. (By the way, Carson will be at the upcoming Hardware Innovation Workshop.)

Finally, an article on the marketing site showed that mainstream marketers are starting to gear up for a time when everything can talk to everything else.

Derrick Daye, managing partner for The Blake Project, a Los Angeles-based strategic brand consulting firm, told that IoT “can help a company create greater brand alignment across devices, screens and experiences.”

Before You Offshore

Let the U.S. government try to talk you out of it.

The Department of Commerce has published a new tool to help inform manufacturing firms’ location decisions. The Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) tool outlines the wide range of costs and risks associated with offshore production, and provides links to public and private resources, so that firms can more accurately assess the total cost of operating overseas. ACE also shares case studies of firms that reversed their decisions to locate offshore once the full range of costs became clear.

The information is straightforward, not preachy, or guilt-inducing, or arm-twisting. It’s actually a good checklist to run through, no matter where you ultimately decide to manufacture.


Countdown to Maker Faire

Maker Faire Bay Area (May 18-19) is just two weeks away. You can browse the makers coming to this year’s Faire by category here.

Consider arriving a few days early: the Hardware Innovation Workshop runs May 14-15. There are still tickets available, but the agenda is already packed with an all-star cast of speakers who know how to navigate the new industrial ecosystem. Like Bunnie Huang, co-founder of Chumby, who will be hosting a panel on advanced manufacturing with John Park, COO, AQS; James “Laen” Neal, founder, OSH Park PCB; and Zach Kaplan, founder and CEO, Inventables. If you don’t know these names — and acronyms — that’s why you have to be there!

Here’s the latest agenda.

Further Down the Road

The fourth annual Maker Faire Detroit is taking place this summer, on July 27-28, at The Henry Ford. The Call for Makers is open now through June 7.

World Maker Faire New York is Sept. 21-22, and the Call for Makers launches in June.

Also, start making plans to participate in the first Maker Faire Rome, Oct. 3-6, 2013. 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 fair is really for Europe at large and will attract an international crowd from all over Europe and beyond. The Call for Makers is open from now until June 2. If you’re a maker, performer, or presenter, Maker Faire Rome wants to hear from 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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