Tag Archives: Suzanne Deffree

EDN: Atmel powers the majority of 3D printers

Writing for EDN, Suzanne Deffree confirms that 3D printing is set for “explosive growth” in 2014 and 2015. Indeed, analysts at Gartner expect worldwide shipments of 3D printers to increase 75 percent in 2014, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.

“Atmel is one of the hardware makers answering the 3D-printer market call,” writes Deffree. “Atmel AVR XMEGA and megaAVR MCUs can be found in the majority of 3D printers on the market, including the popular MakerBot and RepRap rapid prototyping system brands.”

Andreas Eieland, Atmel’s senior product marketing manager for Flash microcontrollers, says printers like MakerBot and RepRap enable anyone, whether a DIY Maker or professional engineer, to create 3D objects.

“There are now two or three 3D printer companies that have a product that you don’t need to be an engineer at heart to make them work. They are so easy anyone can have them up and running in a few hours,” he explains.

“We have this huge development on the low-end side where for a couple hundred dollars you can build something yourself. [However], on the high end, 3D printers need to find a way to start printing harder materials, like metals. On the low end, the price still needs to come down for professional solutions.”

Nevertheless, emphasizes Deffree, 3D printing technology is reaching new heights and is now light years beyond the creation of simple Yoda busts.

“[This includes] everything from creating replacement parts for personal furnishings and gadgets, to replicating vital organs, making their way into space for use on the International Space Station [and] offering new home construction techniques. The possibilities for the near-term future are endless,” she adds.

Eieland concurs.

“I hope people realize the potential of 3D printing. It’s more than toys and a small version of their own heads. There’s huge potential here in reducing the waste and turnover of products we have in our houses. At the same time there’s an even bigger opportunity in developing something – whatever they need so they can stick with what they have.”

Atmel panel takes center stage @ 2013 World Maker Faire

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently declared “Maker Week” in honor of the 2013 World Maker Faire which opens its doors on Saturday, September 21st in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI).

“As the old song goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” Bloomberg wrote in an official proclamation. “I join you in applauding the all the Makers who continue to tinker, take risks, try new things and introduce their ideas first to New York City and then the world.”

Earlier today, Atmel kicked off the 2013 World Maker Faire with an analyst panel moderated by Windell Oskay, the co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Participants included Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi; Dr. Reza Kazerounian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Atmel’s Microcontroller Business Unit; Suzanne Deffree of EDN; Brian Jepson, an editor with Maker Media (publisher of MAKE Magazine); Annmarie P. Thomas, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas; Bob Martin from Atmel’s MCU applications team and Quin Etnyre, a 12-year-old Maker who loves to teach Arduino classes.

“The Maker Movement is changing the way people teach, learn and think. It allows you to have access to certain tech at a lower price,” Massimo told panel attendees.


“[Remember], many closed source [hardware devices] aren’t as reliable and easy as the [Atmel-powered] Arduino. The value of open source is that you can really look at code, build upon what others have done. We don’t think the Maker Movement is about the future, it’s about the present.”

Indeed, as Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian noted, bringing businesses closer to the open source community will help empower both Makers and the industry.

“The open source community could be the start of the next big commercial engineering project,” he added.

Meanwhile, Annmarie P. Thomas said she had observed that Makers often spend time creating things they are passionate about.

“The Maker Movement redefines the classroom, it makes us want to celebrate curiosity and inventiveness, returning us to a time where people still understand how things work even if they aren’t engineers. Obviously, the Maker Movement isn’t really new, and the cool thing about design and making, there’s no right answer. It’s [definitely difficult] to engineer something without being a Maker first,” she explained.

“One of the really exciting things about the MakerMovement is that it’s more about the making, less about the tools. Whatever you can obtain, you start with. The Maker Movement is about lowering cost of hardware, yes, but even more about the community pitching in. [Plus], more schools are now adopting Arduino and many university programs want to see students come in with a portfolio.”

Atmel’s Bob Martin expressed similar sentiments.

“The Maker Movement makes learning more fun, exciting and practical, allowing brilliant individuals such as Quin Etnyre to move forward and succeed. Personally, I’m trying to encourage my daughters to take their toys apart and build things. I was always a big fan of LEGO, which is probably why I’m a Maker.”

Suzanne Deffree concurred. “If we can inspire people to tinkering a bit with kids, they may go on to college to become an analog engineer,” she opined. “What we need to do is show that Paris Hilton isn’t cool. Then we’ll start seeing Makers as the really cool people.”

Quin, the 12-year-old Maker who loves to tinker with Arduino boards, said he thinks there should be more funding for Makers within the context of elementary, high school and universities, as the Movement can help teach real world job skills.

“Over past three years, the Maker Movement has started creating more Kickstarter businesses. I personally started with soldering kits from MAKE… It’s really good to take a kit, play with it, then later on dissect it and look at each individual part,” he concluded.

That’s it for the panel, but you can come visit us at the Atmel booth in the Arduino pavilion. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to out to the Big Apple, because you can still follow all the goings on via Twitter – just look for the hashtags @makerfaire, @atmel and @arduino.

For those of you attending the Faire, Atmel will be showcasing a number of uber-cool exhibits and demos including:

  • Hexbug/hovercraft hacking: Watch Atmel employees hack traditional Hexbugs and hovercrafts using Arduino boards.
  • MakerBot: We’ll be showing off the wildly popular AVR-powered 3D printer and providing 3D samples over the weekend.
  • Pensa: This company uses Arduino boards to make their flagship DIWire, a rapid prototyping machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Infinity Aerospace: The ArduLab – powered by Atmel’s versatile ATMega 2560 microcontroller – is a highly capable experimentation platform ready for space right out of the box. Sensor mounting is straightforward, with unique functionality addressing the technical challenges of operating in space.

Additional exhibitors at the Atmel World Maker Faire booth include Fuzzbot (robots), Evil Mad Scientist and Colorado Micro Devices. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Atmel booth, so don’t forget to follow us at @makerfaire, @atmel and @arduino!  Also, be sure to join us when Bob Martin presents Prototyping is as Easy as Uno, Due, Tres. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Ardruino Uno is an excellent lab tool for technicians and h/w engineers who have a specific design in mind. Martin’s presentation will demonstrate how Atmel’s MCU apps lab uses the Uno to test harnesses for LED lighting stress testing, SBC reset response and power supply stress testing on a regular basis for the weather station prototype.

When: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 12:30PM – 1:00PM ET
Where: Make: Electronics Stage