Maker Pro News: Why Entrepreneurs Choose Maker Faire, Quirky Reboots, and More

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Maker Pro News: Why Entrepreneurs Choose Maker Faire, Quirky Reboots, and More

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For someone who thinks they have a better mousetrap, we’re a place for them. – Quirky CEO Gina Waldhorn

Maker Faire is for Maker Pros

World Maker Faire New York (@makerfaire) took over the sprawling grounds of the New York Hall of Science (@nysci) for a jam-packed weekend of projects, presentations, events — and, according to the maker pros who flocked to the event, boundless opportunities for entrepreneurs at every stage of bringing a product to market.

Take Zach Kaplan (@zkaplan), the CEO of Inventables (@Inventables). Kaplan, who has been attending Maker Faires since high school, says that the process of preparing a project for a booth is very much like launching a startup. It’s also, he says, a crucial opportunity for a company to connect not just with potential users but artisans who could use its product to do their own work.

Case in point, Kaplan’s latest project has been writing a new book, Getting Started with 3D Carving, that he hopes will serve as an onboarding resource to desktop carving for everyone from neophytes to experienced makers.

“Almost a third of our customers are maker pros,” Kaplan said. “That number has been steadily increasing every year. My hope is that this book can reach the people who want to take the plunge to become a maker pro.”

There’s more about the maker pros of World Maker Faire New York below. Are you a maker pro who went? Send us an email at

Quirky Embraces a Hard Reboot

When maker marketplace Quirky (@Quirkywent bankrupt in 2015, it seemed like the end for a promising concept.

But now the company is back with new ownership, a tweaked business model, and a slate of manufacturing partners ranging from consumer goods giant Viatek (@Viatek) to phone accessory builder Atomi (@AtomiUSA). Going forward, those manufacturing partners will bid for concepts designed by Quirky users — and, if the product ends up on retail shelves or online stores, the inventor will get a royalty.

“For an inventor, for someone who thinks they have a better mousetrap, we’re a place for them to come,” said Gina Waldhorn (@gwaldhorn), the company’s new president.

Jaycon Systems Makes a Pledge to Simplify Hardware

With years of experience working on hundreds of new hardware products, Jaycon makes a pledge to make it more affordable and faster for pro makers to enter the hardware market. Their resourcefulness in development and manufacturing of electronics and plastics translates into a simplified process that takes less than 120 days. Learn more.

Elsewhere at World Maker Faire New York

Make: correspondent Chiara Cecchini (@ClaireCecchiniprofiled six of the food makers who came to World Maker Faire New York, from the mad scientists developing additive manufacturing for yogurt and jelly at 3DigitalCooks (@3digitalcooks) to Mugsy (@HeyMugsy), a hackable robotic coffee maker.

Arduino (@arduino) CEO Massimo Banzi (@mbanziannounced two new boards that widen the company’s growing wireless repertoire. Banzi also emphasized the company’s ongoing commitment to open source development and engagement with users, including a new monthly “hangout” with its developer community.

Dremel (@dremel) announced — and showed off — a new 40-watt laser cutter with a robust feature set that impressed Make: Senior Editor Caleb Kraft (@calebkraft). It’s not clear what the price point will be.

Josef Prusa (@josefprusa) debuted the Prusa i3 MK3, his company’s latest RepRap-style printer. Make: Digital Fabrication Editor Matt Stultz (@MattStultz) had a chance to review a prototype version of the new unit earlier this summer, and he wrote about the results and announcement here.

Elsewhere on the Maker Pro Web

3D printing bureau Sculpteo (@sculpteoannounced a new consulting servicethat will let users enlist the help of the company’s industrial designers to bring a project to the next level. Is it possible the initiative is inspired by Hardware Studio, the collaboration by Kickstarter and Avnet (@Avnet) we reported on last week?

Speaking of fabrication, 3D Hubs (@3DHubs) this week released Metal Kit, an epic guide to manufacturing processes for metal parts.

Philadelphia hardware accelerator NextFab (@NextFab_PHL) announced its fall 2017 cohort, which includes arcade machine startup Robocandy (@robocandyPRO) and aeroponic cube maker Kelby.

If you’re launching a maker pro business, what mechanical supplies should you have on hand? Chris Loughnane (@pchrisl), the mechanical director at Empatica (@Empatica), examines the balance between keeping a workshop lean and wasting time waiting for resources to ship.

This webinar by Hardware Massive (@hardwaremassive) will look at how startups can use simulation software to avoid failure, improve a product and raise funding more effectively.

Make: republished an excerpt from the latest edition of NYU arts professor Tom Igoe’s (@tigoe) foundational book about smart things, Making Things Talk. It’s loaded with theory and practice about what’s now known as the Internet of Things.

A savvy step for hardware startups that want to protect their intellectual property: provisional patents. Check out this guide to the strengths, limitations, and practice of the strategy.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction, the maker community in Houston is helping to rally and repair the city, from robotics teams helping clear debris to makerspaces offering their resources to homeowners. Make:correspondent Goli Mohammadi (@snowgolireports.

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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

Jon Christian is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection between makers and business. He's also written for the Boston Globe, WIRED and The Atlantic.

View more articles by Jon Christian


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