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Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 03/22/2013

The maker movement gets a menagerie

This post has been updated.

It’s almost passe to talk about 3D printers now — almost.

Even MakerBot has expanded its inventory and is preparing to release its 3D scanner into the consumer marketplace, while companies such as TechShop offer customers an opportunity to build their dreams. But what about selling these soldered and 3D-printed imaginings once they are made into real-life products? What is the storefront for the maker world? There are sites such as Fab and Fancy, which curate cool products around the Web — from home goods and clothing to gadgets and pet accessories. But this spring there will also be Grand St., a site that curates what the company calls “creative technology.”

Grand St. soft launched last year, and is still in invite-only beta. The public launch is being planned for later this spring. Although the company began shipping products in December. The team chooses one product every other day to highlight, seeking to offer for sale a highly-curated menagerie of original technologies. And nothing is out of bounds, with past products including a remote control vibrator to canvas-covered speakers and USB cables you can wear as a bracelet or handbag accessory. The site is, much like a menagerie, a slowly (at least in Web terms) compiled collection of maker, DIY and, in some instances, just plain off-the-wall hardware that would likely never be available in your local Best Buy or Home Depot. It’s the kind of curation that places expertise and discipline over mere novelty and volume.

“It is so hard to know something really, really well unless you spend all of your time doing it,” said Amanda Peyton, an MIT graduate and co-founder of Grand St. along with Joe Lallouz. Peyton is the company’s “Memory Champion” in addition to being a technologist. Lallouz is a Kitchen Hacker in addition to being an Application Engineer. Co-founder Aaron Henshaw is the company’s “Party Savant” and Application Engineer.

Peyton is “super passionate about” new hardware, and says she has worked diligently to make herself a hardware expert. “I think that, for me, I have a responsibility to our users, our investors, our co-founders,”said Peyton, “to create the absolute best possible company that we can.”

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By  |  08:00 AM ET, 03/22/2013

 
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