The big idea
We’re reinventing the future of products by making it easier to make things.
We see a future when you download your products from the Internet and make them locally.
Just as the Internet revolutionized the exchange of digital photos, music and movies, Ponoko pioneered the creation and exchange of downloadable products:
2007: Developed the Personal Factory software platform to make downloadable products.
2007: Launched Personal Factory online laser-cutting service in New Zealand.
2009: Launched Personal Factory online laser-cutting service in USA.
2010: Licensed Personal Factory to three independent laser cutting services in Europe.
2010: Added Personal Factory electronics catalog supplied by SparkFun.
2010: Launched Personal Factory online 3D printing service.
2011: Launched Personal Factory online CNC routing service.
2011: Released Personal Factory API & the world’s first directory of ‘product creation apps’.
With Ponoko you can:
How it works - for creators
Distributing product designs (free and paid) is the easiest and most profitable way for creators to get their products to market:
How it works - for buyers
Downloading and customizing product designs (free and paid) is the simplest and most affordable way to buy original products:
Click to make
One day we thought to ourselves "if we can click to create great looking designs all over the web, why can't we click to make these creations into real products?" We found out you can.
Given the choice, we'd much rather buy products that have been created specifically for us. In fact, a growing number of people demand to be a part of the creation process - they don't want what they're given. And we agree - buying things designed from scratch is...
We cut the waste from oversupply by making products on-demand. We also cut carbon emissions by sourcing local materials and making products as close to the point of consumption as possible. We're just starting but this minimizes reliance on the traditional supply chain associated with the transportation and storage of the products we typically buy today.
Everyone who uploads their creations to Ponoko owns the copyright absolutely, subject to other people's rights (if any). We also enable you to set copyright license using the Creative Commons scheme - from all rights reserved through to free and open use, with a few in between. The Ponoko community is given the tools to report copyright abuse too. So we're pretty keen for everyone to mix, mingle and play nice.
The Internet enables us to share more than ever before. And clever software now enables more than one person to be a part of the product creation process. It is now possible for anyone (not just those with lots of time and money) to get a product that no one else has, with the click of a mouse.
Product plans are being shared freely across the web in the same way we share software, photos, music and movies. The good news is these earlier examples are educating us about how to share and sell design files so everyone is happy.
Here are some of the cool things about manufacturing-as-a-service direct from a product plan:
- You can change the product to how you like it, rather than being forced to take a standard one from the shelf.
- You have infinite choice because unlimited creativity means the virtual shelf is never out of stock, of anything. This also means that if you can not find it anywhere else, you will find it here.
- There is much less physical waste from oversupply.
- And as a seller you have unlimited inventory without the cost of inventory.
The post-industrial revolution
It's here and it's changing the way products are created, traded and distributed. You can now 'click to make' individualized goods using your PC.
The future - a virtual transporter system
Ultimately, instead of buying a physical product that was designed in California, made in China then shipped to your local store so you can drive down, buy it and take it home, Ponoko enables the product plans to be shipped to your home, where you can download it and make it on demand. We openly wonder when the stars will align for this to happen?
Who is using Ponoko?
Jeff is a trained designer. He already knows how to get his ideas made and doesn't want traditional manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers clipping the ticket on the way to market to the tune of at least 50% (and up to 95%). He uses Ponoko to get in front of customers directly - anywhere in the world. And by making, selling and delivering his products through Ponoko, he can concentrate on developing new ideas rather than managing a business.
Sue is a maker from way back. She makes costume jewelry, badges and other cool stuff. Sometimes though, she finds it hard to get the materials she wants - and she doesn't have the tools she needs to cut out the intricate designs she would love to make. With Ponoko, she can design delicate pieces made from a whole range of materials - and add the finishing touches herself to create truly individual pieces.
Martha wanted a new lamp for her living room, but the ones she saw in the big lighting stores all looked kind of the same - and the cool designer ones were way out of her price range. She bought a light box direct from a designer on Ponoko. It's got a unique story behind it - she's pretty sure none of her friends will have one like it - and it cost a fraction of what she would pay in a design store.