Solutions for Self-Reliance

2012 Maker Faire Presentation + 3 Ways to Turn Ideas into Products


Today’s letter includes:

  • My presentation on Resilient Communities at the 2012 New York City Maker Faire
  • Three new ways (low-cost) ways to turn ideas into products.


The Resilient Community Presentation given at the 2012 New York City Make Faire

This year’s NYC Maker Faire was held at the World’s Fairgrounds in Queens.

First off, the Faire was HUGE.

There were thousands of people (lots of them kids) and hundreds of exhibits — from robots to inventions to unusual technological artifacts.  If you haven’t been to one before, it’s well worth the trip.

Why was I there?  I was invited to the Faire by MAKE Magazine to give a speech about Resilient Communities.

Here’s a video of the talk if you are interested in seeing it.  Fortuitously,  some long time readers came to the talk and I had a chance to talk with them in-depth afterwards (which was fun).  One came all the way from Oregon!

While at the Faire, I had the opportunity to talk with makers working on a wide variety of projects.  I also ran across some inventions useful for building resilient communities.

NOTE:  I’ll provide a transcript of the speech I planned to make and a more detailed boots on the ground report from the Maker Faire in October’s premium newsletter.

While we are talking about makers, here’s a couple of services that make turning ideas into products easier (particularly if you don’t have a local maker space available).

Germany’s Formulor

Here’s a company that will cut your 2D computer design into a wide variety of materials, from leather to felt.  This allows you to take designs you have prototyped by hand and turn them into products you can sell online.

The Local Motor’s Fab Shop 

A couple of month’s ago, I interviewed the CEO of Local Motor‘s for this site, Jay Rogers.  He’s been pushing the envelope of local manufacturing for a while.  Two of the most interesting things he’s done are:

  1. Computer aided design software that’s sold as a monthly subscription (it’s usually very expensive).
  2. A Fab Shop that cuts 2D parts in Aluminum and Steel on demand from a computer file (to help make local production easier).

AutoDesk’s Fabrication Suite

If you are new to 3D printing and laser cutting, a good way to get your feet wet is to try out AutoDesk 123.  The suite of services available includes everything from basic design software, to sculpting software, to software that turns images into 3D models (like the sculpture pictured), and making software that helps you print it.

Hope you find these useful.

Resiliently Yours,




PS:  While at the Maker Faire, I ran into a compatriot of mine:  Chris Anderson.  He’s the editor of Wired Magazine and the founder of DIY Drone.  He’s also the backer of Ardupilot, the low-cost autopilot that makes the automation of drones cheap.  Unexpectedly, he mentioned that is one of his favorite blogs.

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