I’ve got 99 maker business problems and they’re all the good kind.
Say “Hi” in person
The 10th annual Bay Area Maker Faire is coming up and we want to kick ass! It’s May 14-17, 2015, in San Mateo, CA. Bring your favorite drawing from your machine, or a URL to a picture you want drawn. We’ve requested to be at the booth next to PancakeBot, so just follow the smell of syrup. We plan to be ready to same-day drop ship kits from our warehouse in Canada. If you buy online when you see our booth, you can expect a tracking number in your email before you leave the event.
I’ve also received an offer to attend GEEK PICNIC in St. Petersburg and Moscow. I’ve never been to Russia, and it sounds really exciting. More news on that one as it develops.
We’re up to 926 Makelangelos as of 2015-04-07 1:15 PM PST. How long until we hit 4 digits? I’m tempted to graph the rate at which new Makelangelos come online. I’ve also assured the robot army that they can have the Earth – Just give me the moon and I’ll be happy.
Bill of Materials Update
Around here word-of-mouth knowledge is taboo. One of the worst is “what is a [SKU-NUMBER]?” To eliminate this problem, the bill of material in every kit going forward will look more like this:
A picture for every part is easier for working in the warehouse and for you at home. The QR code and the URL at the top of the page point back to the web page with all the information.
Now if only I had a lightbox big enough to take a beautiful picture of the entire Arduino Starter Kit.
I’m updating the Makelangelo 2.5 controller mount to stick on windows and whiteboards. It still attaches just fine to a board with a nail or a piece of double sided tape. I tried putting a vinyl sticker behind the suction cups. The suction force was so strong it peeled the stickers off the wood board! I plan to do the same thing for the Makelangelo 3 and I’m thinking really hard about a clear plastic cover that protects the electronics.
The motor mounts for the Makelangelo 3 and Makelangelo 2.5 are being updated. A limited number of kits have been trialled locally and I’m testing the assembly documentation tonight. The new model can be used to make either the left version (for glass/whiteboard) or right version (for an easle/wood board). The new version is lighter, quieter, has less different parts, and doesn’t require any glue. I can put each together in 6 minutes. Each can be completely disassembled so they can be done in a class room time and time again.
I still recommend a 3’x4′ (A0) drawing area which can draw up to 2’x3′ (A1), maybe more. See paper ‘A’ sizes for help planning your drawings.
I find the number of dots to connect grows longer and longer. I’m glad my private wiki has step-by-steps for everything or I would be in biiiig trouble. For example, those two Makelangelo changes I just mentioned? I have to assemble at least two kits just to be sure the updated Bill of Materials is correct. On the plus side, I get my how-to photos for free and I find everything that could go wrong. “Is there a better way to do this? Do you see any mistake in my plan?” are the two questions I ask most these days.
It would be a huge help to me if you would join our forums and help each other out. As the number of users goes up my time-per-user goes down and that’s … an opportunity to make new friends! All my closest friends are makers.
Right now with the product update the Makelangelos are low in stock and I’m looking for every possible method to make the same kits faster to keep up with demand and anticipated demand. I’m more than a little envious of Miguel’s PancakeBot: he’s got a 3rd party to make all the machines so he can spend the last three days of the PancakeBot Kickstarter celebrating >800% goal reached.
I love your pull requests! Thanks to Peter C over at MakeHartford we are now running our Eclipse project on Apache Maven. That means you can download from github and click “update project” in Eclipse to automatically get everything you need to compile and run. It’s never been easier to hack on the code.
I’ve also updated the graphics engine to run on OpenGL hardware accelerated graphics through the Jogamp library. That means the software should react faster to your commands. It also brings me closer to having one
ring app for all my robots.
If your Eclipse doesn’t have Maven, download the latest! My 2 year old copy didn’t have it and help > check for updates didn’t install it automatically.
I pledged to myself at the start of the year to post every work day. That’s completely fallen apart because I’ve been so busy. I’ve been running Marginally Clever as a single person business for a couple of years and now Marginally Clever is moving up to the next level. It’s a completely different way of thinking and growing into it is really challenging. I wonder if it will ever stop being a challenge, or if “off balance from acceleration” is the new normal?
Please keep sending in those pull requests and feedback. I thrive on any idea that helps me do my job better and your contributions are the highlight of my day. I have never received useless feedback. Challenge accepted? Ruh roh.
Also to those of you who are telling your friends about MC? Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your happiness is making us all successful. Together we are going to keep doing amazing things.