Highlights of the Maker Faire Hannover

Another weekend, another Maker Faire. As a regular follower of this blog you may have noticed that we have been travelling around Europe visiting several 3D printing/Making fairs over the past few weeks. We spend the last weekend at the Maker Faire Hannover. Even though this was only the second edition of Germany’s Maker Faire, the event had been warmly recommended to us as an event not to be missed.

Our Highlights from the Maker Faire Hannover

Here are a couple of things that stood out to us while exploring the exhibition floor in Hannover:

InPro – 3D Scanning

We had the pleasure of meeting the team of InPro First, creators and developers of the InOSS 3D scan software. Together with a scanner, this software solution enables you to add some serious flexibility to your 3D scanning, which means that you will not be any longer limited to table-bound scanners.

The combination of the software and flexible hardware creates the possibility to scan bigger objects from different angles and distances. The feature we did like most is the modular set-up of the scanning hardware, comprised of a webcam (30EUR) and a small line laser (25EUR), that you can mount onto the axes of your Cartesian 3D printer. InPro First designed a bracket you can download, print and attach to your 3D printer. Onto this bracket, you then fix the webcam and the laser before calibrating the assembly. Et voila, you can now use your 3D printer as a 3D scanner!

The software (currently in Alpha version) costs only 23 EUR, which means that instead of buying an expensive 3D scanner, you can use this solution for a total of 78 EUR! Now compare this to the prices for professional scanners, which range from 20,000 EUR (Creaform Go!Scan) to 10,000 EUR for the Artec EVA Lite or to the prices for consumer model 3D scanners, which range from 800$ (Makerbot Digitizer), to 580$ (Matter and Form Scanner) to 330 EUR (Sense 3D Scanner).

Provided the software turns out easy to use and scans reliably, InPro has a lot of potential in making 3D scanning affordable. We will certainly follow the developments of this 3D scanning solution closely.

For more information, visit: http://inpro-first.de (in German only)

PrintMATE3D

We have also met the team behind the printMATE 3D printer. This printer is the brainchild of two 3D printing enthusiasts, Jonas Schwarz and Sebastian Setz. Jonas and Sebastian started out by making improvements to their existing printer and ended up tweaking the machine to the point where they ended up with their own design.

The printMATE 3D is an affordable DIY printer, which is only sold in kit form. Assembly takes about 6 hours for somebody that is reasonably skilled. According to its makers, the printer is able to produces very nice prints with a precision of 50 microns (0,05mm). Having seen the machine in action, we can confirm that this is no vendor-talk, but the printMATE 3D impressed us with its print details, resolution and speed.

Not only is it able to print multiple materials like PLA, ABS, Nylon, Laywood, Filaflex and PVA, but the printMATE 3D comes with a heated printbed, it can reach print speeds up to 150mm/s while remaining very quiet. The design is completely open source, uses open source host software and only costs 950 EUR. The guys promised us a test unit for September, so we will keep you updated on our findings.

For more information, visit: http://printmate3d.com

iGo3D

We also want to give a shout-out to our friends at iGo3D, the Germany based 3D printer re-seller. They were present at the Maker Faire with their own booth that attracted a lot of visitors. iGo3D was featuring its 3D printer line-up consisting of the Ultimaker machines, the Builder and the BeeTheFirst.

What caught our attention however was the latest addition to iGo3D’s offering: the 3Doodler 3D printing pen. Ever since our experience at the Paris Maker Faire, we were eager to see if the hype around the 3D printing pens is justified. The guys at iGo3D didn’t hesitate long to lend us a 3Doodler such that we can test it in-depth. A big thanks from our side to iGo3D and stay tuned for the review of the pen.

For more information, visit: http://www.igo3d.com

 

Conferences at the Maker Faire Hannover

The was more to the Hannover Maker Faire than just the floor full of projects to discover: the organizers had put together a full set of conferences that any visitor could attend. As usual, having only limited time, we couldn’t attend all sessions and we may have missed a few good ones. Of the sessions we attended, here are the noteworthy ones:

The Maker Movement – Dale Dougherty

This was the one speech we couldn’t afford to miss! Just in case you do not know who Dale Dougherty is, well he is pretty much the godfather of the Maker movement. It was Dale and his team who launched the now renowned Make Magazine as well as the very first Maker Faire back in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area. From its humble beginnings the Maker Movement has grown into a global phenomenon that is giving tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts a forum to meet, share and learn together that did not exist before.

When Dale launched Make Magazine, he started meeting a lot of tinkerers and quickly realized that they were all eager to share the projects they were working on. Most of them were confined to their garages or kitchen tables though. This sparked the idea of giving them a forum to share and interact, and that is how the Maker Faire was born.

Fast forward nine years and the latest edition of the Bay Area Maker Faire attracted no less than 130.000 visitors! The Maker Faire is also no longer confined to the Bay Area or even the US: in 2014, some 140 Maker Faire events are taking place across the globe!

It was interesting to hear how Dale characterizes the making phenomenon as “people scratching their own itch”. It is indeed refreshing to see how in a world of mass-consumption a group of people define themselves as producers not just consumers. Making is also by no means limited to 3D printing, Arduino electronics or similar high tech topics. It rather stretches from the physical to the digital and is all about the interface between people and technology rather than just technology.

As Making is all about practice rather than theory, we can only encourage you to attend a Maker Faire to experience the energy and atmosphere first hand! Check out our list of events to find out when the next Faire is taking place near you.

For more information, visit: http://makezine.com

Octoprint – Gina Häussge

Another speech we didn’t want to miss was Gina Häussge’s talk on Octoprint. Gina already presented Octoprint at the FabCon 3.D where we missed her talk such that it was high time to catch up!

In short, Octoprint is a 3D printer host software. As many other great inventions, it was born out of a user’s frustration with the status quo: Gina acquired her first 3D printer in 2012. Having played around with it for a while she realized that having the 3D printer sit on your desk is less then ideal since it is quite noisy, takes up a lot of space and the fumes of the melting filament are not always that pleasant. Moving the 3D printer to the basement or a workshop isn’t really an option either since 3D prints still need supervision.

The 3D printer host software Gina was using back in the days didn’t really offer solutions to any of this. Being a passionate software developer and a women of action, Gina set down during the Christmas holidays and started coding her own host software.

The result of that effort is Octoprint, a web browser based host software to control your 3D printer remotely with the same responsiveness as a native host application. Octoprint allows you to remotely monitor the printer, move the print head along all axes, extrude, retract and start, pause or cancel a print job. The software gives you constant feedback with real-time temperature graphs (of both the hot end and the heated print bed) while allowing you to visualize the g-code file during printing.

If you install a web cam Octoprint also gives you a live stream of the 3D print and you can create a time lapse recording that can come in very handy if you do a post-mortem on a failed print job.

Without any doubt, Octoprint sounds like and impressive piece of code. Having heard Gina describe the capabilities of the software, it looks to offer many of the very things that we would also like to see when operating our 3D printers. We’ll certainly explore Octoprint further and report on it here on the blog.

For more information on Octoprint, visit: http://octoprint.org

 

Here are some general impressions of the Maker Faire Hannover:

Conclusion

Visiting the Paris and Hannover Maker Faires almost back-to-back was an interesting experience: both Faires were organized under the Maker Faire brand yet they both offered a unique flavour. Whereas 3D printing was more prominent at the Paris Maker Faire, the Hannover Maker Faire featured a lot of projects around electronics and robotics.

This is not to say that one Maker Faire was better than the other. On the contrary, this just goes to show that it may well be worth your while to attend more than one Maker Faire a year since you are bound to discover unique and new projects and initiatives at each one.

The Hannover Maker Faire was certainly worth the trip: the fair was well organized with many interesting projects and conferences. The only thing the organisers may want to consider for the next edition is enlarging the venue. The 2014 edition of the Faire attracted a huge crowd such that the rooms booked for the conferences turned out to be way too small to accommodate all those who very interested in attending. But, this is a rather good problem for the organizer to have.

 

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