Make Oh-So On-Trend Light Boxes

New Material: Opal Acrylic Is Re-Released In The NZ Catalog

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If you want to light up someone’s life, then you need to be making with the re-released Opal Acrylic. With its popularity in the USA, we’re now bringing it back to New Zealand for all the makers down under.

Why Opal Is A Great Choice

Since it’s the first single color 2mm acrylic in NZ, makers benefit from a lower base material cost. Additionally, the thinner thickness is faster to cut through, so it costs less to make the same design on 2mm than on 3mm. Double cost savings. Sweet!

Opal Acrylic is slightly translucent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to diffuse light—such as electronics projects, signs and lamp shades. Or make a light box to really be on-trend.

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How Etsy Sellers Are Using Opal Acrylic

RoKDesignStudio has made this lamp from natural oiled oak, complemented by red twisted cloth vintage wire and opal acrylic for light diffusion. Use it on the floor, bookshelf, table or anywhere else where a mood light can be placed to create atmosphere.

What Else Can You Use It For?

Opal Acrylic isn’t limited to functional light sources. It can also be used artistically. Helen Reynolds, a Wellington-based artist, created a series of work exploring cloud shape and formation, including a sculptural installation she created with the help on Ponoko’s laser cutting service. See behind the scenes of how she did it in the article “Creating Cloudscape Sculptures From Laser Cut Layers.”

Acrylic – Opal

The acrylic tends to pick up light on the edges, which gives off a kind of subtle glow. And the color of light can easily be changed by using different colored light bulbs.

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Learn more about Opal Acrylic and get a Sample.

What bright ideas do you have for making with this re-released acrylic? Would it be functional…or more artistic? We’d love to hear all about it. Share by leaving a comment below!

 

New Ultrasuedes: You “Can” Touch This

3 New Shades Of Ultrasuede Added To The USA Materials Catalog

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Forget what M.C. Hammer says. When it comes to our three new shades of ultrasuede, you can touch this.

Why Ultrasuede is Special

A synthetic microfiber fabric with a natural-looking suede surface, ultrasuede is sooooooo soft that you can’t keep your hands off it. In addition to its tactile appeal, the new black, bone and red colors are beautiful aesthetically too.

Ultrasuede is special because being synthetic means it’s a vegan alternative to leather—so it’s great for carnivores and herbivores alike. And since the polyester used in ultrasuede is recovered from pre-consumer waste, it is appealing to those with environmental and sustainability concerns.

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Ultrasuede – Black

Black is a great choice to compliment stationary.  You can make items such as book covers, bookmarks, document pouches and business card holders. Incorporate it into branding with items such as clothing labels and hangtags. Or make fashion accessories such as bags, purses and wallets.

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Learn more about Black Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Bone

We love this natural color, which has a great contrast when engraved. You could even combine the flexibility of ultrasuede with hard materials to give designs added texture and depth. However it is used, ultrasuede looks beautiful with engraved text, design—or both.

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Learn more about Bone Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Red

Use red for a pop of color. If you’re obsessing over ultrasuede (like we are!), you may also want to check out the three colors we debuted in August: Caramel, Coffee Bean and Executive Gray. To see all the materials currently available, check out the USA Catalog.

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Learn more about Red Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Are you as stoked about these new ultrasuedes as we are? Give us a shout in the comment box and let us know what you can’t wait to make with these new materials.

 

New Materials: Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

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Do we have a golden ticket for you! Now you can add some bling to any project with our new 1.6 mm Two Color Acrylic – Brushed Gold on Black. The first gold colored option for New Zealand, this acrylic features a metal-like, brushed-gold finish on top with a smooth black finish on the bottom.

Since the two-color acrylic engraves beautifully to reveal the black underneath, it’s perfect for making jewelry, signage, front panels on electronics and holiday decorations. Snowflakes are super pretty!

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You can also make “golden tickets” for wedding invitations or use them as event VIP tickets.

For the ambitious, make golden tickets to kick off a special adventure for friends and family that would make Willy Wonka proud. (And there’s no purchase of Willy Wonka chocolate bars necessary. But you may start singing “I’ve Got The Golden Ticket” like Grandpa Joe. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…)

Acrylic – Two Color – Brushed Gold on Black

Learn more about Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic Sample.

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With the addition of this new two-color acrylic, we now have 23 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in the NZ catalog. And if you love the gold and black combo, you’ll also want to check out Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic and Matte Black On White Acrylic to see how these cool graphic qualities can be added to designs.

 

What kind of golden projects do you want to make with this new material? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

 

New Materials: 3 Two-Color Acrylics With Matte Finish Top

Just Released In The USA Materials Catalog

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Just in time for the holidays: Three new 1.5 mm Two-Color Acrylics have made their debut in the USA catalog. With the addition of Red On White, Blue On White and Green On White, you’ll be happier than Buddy the elf when he finds out Santa is coming to town.

This material is special because it gives you the ability to “print” directly onto the material by engraving away the matte top layer, making it great for products that need text or graphics along with the unique shape you get with laser cutting.

Christmas tree ornaments, name badges or holiday baubles are just a few of the things you can make with this new material.

Acrylic – Two Color – Red On White

Learn more about Red On White Acrylic and get a Red On White Sample.

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Acrylic – Two Color – Blue on White

Learn more about Blue On White Acrylic and get a Blue On White Sample.

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Acrylic – Two Color – Green On White

Learn more about Green On White Acrylic and get a Green On White Sample.

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To see all the acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available, check out the USA catalog. While the majority of our acrylic sheets are smooth, these three new two-color options have a matte top to give you more options for bringing designs to life while tapping into the matte-finish trend.

 

What do you think? Got any ideas for what you want to make with these new materials? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below!

 

New Material: Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

silver-and-black-acrylic-laser-cut-necklace

Silver and black is classy. Elegant and understated. Nice contrast without being as stark as black and white. And this brushed silver on black acrylic will give the New Zealand market a new alternative to metal at an affordable price.

It’s 1.6mm thick black acrylic with a thin layer of brushed silver on top. Having the second color means the hassle of hand painting to achieve contrast has been eliminated. And since this two-color acrylic engraves nicely to reveal the black underneath, it’s ideal for making jewelry, signage and front panels on electronics.

 

Acrylic – Two Color – Brushed Silver on Black

Learn more about Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic Sample.

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With the addition of this new two-color acrylic, we now have 22 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in our NZ catalog. And if you like the concept of dual color combos, you may also want to check out Matte Black On White Acrylic.

 

Are you ready to have some fun with this new material? We are. So let’s get making. Share what you’d like to create with this new material by leaving a comment below!

 

New Materials: 3 Matte Acrylics – Turquoise, Yellow & Pink

Just Released In The USA Materials Catalog

From nail polish to furniture (and even some cars!), matte finishes are so on-trend. And now you can incorporate a matte finish in your designs with the introduction of three matte acrylics for the USA market: Turquoise, Yellow and Pink.

What’s super cool about these new acrylics is that they are translucent with a matte finish on both sides. So not only is the finish and texture new but so are the exciting new colors!

With a 3mm thickness, these acrylics are perfect for jewelry, enclosures, signage, business cards, luggage tags, name badges or anything that needs a soft, matte finish color.

 

Acrylic – Turquoise (Matte)

Learn more about Turquoise Matte Acrylic and get a Turquoise Sample.

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Acrylic – Yellow (Matte)

Learn more about Yellow Matte Acrylic and get a Yellow Sample.

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Acrylic – Pink (Matte)

Learn more about Pink Matte Acrylic and get a Pink Sample.

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With the addition of these three new matte finishes, we now have 42 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in our USA catalog. While the majority of our acrylic sheets are smooth, we recently introduced a couple that are matte on one side and shiny on the other. But the turquoise, yellow and pink matte acrylics are the first to be matte on BOTH sides.

 

So what do you think? Are you as stoked about these new materials as we are? Let us know what great ideas you have for using these acrylics by leaving a comment below!

 

Material Feature: Laser Cut Cardboard

Five Reasons Why The Cheapest Material Is Often The Best

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Have you ever stopped to wonder where we would be without cardboard? For designers and makers using the Ponoko Personal Factory, cardboard is a miracle material that is not only one of the most versatile in terms of its physical properties; it is also one of the most cost-effective ways to turn ideas into laser cut reality.

Here are five reasons why we think laser cut cardboard is really, really cool.

1. Material Choice: The Cardboard Range

The versatility of cardboard owes much to its actual construction, and to make the most of these physical properties it helps to choose the right cardboard for the job. The range on offer from Ponoko varies from 6.7mm double-layer corrugated cardboard for serious structural applications through to single layer natural cardboard that is just 0.5mm thick. So whether your project involves stacked layers, slotted construction, curves, bends or folds… chances are there is something in the Ponoko Materials Library that will be just what you are looking for.

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2. Disposable or Distinguished: Cheap Enough For Prototypes, Slick Enough For Art Objects

Laser cut cardboard can be used as a low-cost prototype option before moving to more expensive materials, or as many designers choose to do, the distinctive visual qualities of cardboard can be openly embraced as features of the final product.

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3. Design Flexibility: 2D or 3D

Designing for laser cut cardboard can be as easy as sketching out a shape or pattern to be cut as a simple 2d object. Or if you prefer, complex 3D forms can be created using slotted construction, tabs and folds, and even stacking layers to create the form through progressive topographical variation.

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4. Low Price: Material Cost and Laser Cutting Time

We keep going on about it, and for good reason. Cardboard is cheap, in the best possible way. As a raw material, it has a low cost price thanks to the huge amounts that are used in the packaging industry across the globe. Cardboard is lightweight, which makes it faster and more economical to ship. When it comes to laser cutting, the unique internal structure of corrugated cardboard means it is fast to cut – and that makes cardboard one of the lowest priced of all the materials in terms of laser cutting time.

cardboard-laser-cut-rocket

5. Brownie Points: Recycled and Recyclable

A lot of people feel good when they use cardboard products. Not only is there a high proportion of recycled content in the cardboard itself, there are systems in place in most urban centers for cardboard recycling that make it one of the easiest materials to reuse, once your own needs for the cardboard product have concluded. So whether it’s the warm fuzzy feeling you get personally or if you’re setting an example for others with a bold ‘eco’ statement, cardboard gives your design a certain credibility that is instantly recognised across the globe.

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Cardboard deserves its reputation amongst the most popular materials for laser cutting, being well suited to both laser cutting and laser etching. Thanks to the versatility of cardboard in terms of price, appearance and structural properties, we continue to see designers find new and exciting ways to explore their creativity.

What will you make using cardboard for your next laser cut project? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credits (in order of appearance) 
3D Skull, Cardboard Safari; Cardboard, Ponoko Materials; Lady in Fur laser etched cardboard art; Airplane Costume, Aidan Chopra; Thumbs Up, UMBC Prototyping and Design; Laser Cut Rocket, Ponoko; Laser Cut Bin, Ponoko Line Optimisation Guide.

3 New Materials To Inspire New Projects: Peel & Stick Veneers

Sticker Products

Need something new to inspire your next laser cut wood project? Can’t find the right material that offers flexibility and versatility? Check out our latest additions to our material selection. The wood design on these peel & stick veneers offer incredible detail.

The premium grade real wood veneer has a pressure sensitive adhesive backing. The veneer is quite flexible along the grain and can be applied to curved surfaces. They’re great for jewelry projects, to stick on to acrylics or to create amazing 3D stickers. Your imagination is the only limit to you how you can use the walnut, bamboo amber and bamboo blonde peel & stick veneers for your next laser cut wood project.

Click on the images below to get all the details on our new premium peel & stick veneers.

Peel & Stick Veneer – Walnut

Walnut has rich, chocolate hues, auburn undertones, and beautiful grain patterns that make it appealing as material for projects that need stronger color contrast.

laser cut wood veneer

Peel & Stick Veneer – Bamboo Amber

Bamboo has a beautiful fine grain which may have some visible joints on the surface to break up the grain — giving it a unique appearance. The Amber version has a  golden brown color, a great choice for neutral-looking jewelry projects.

laser cut wood veneer - bamboo amber

Peel & Stick Veneer – Bamboo Blonde

The natural occurence of joints on this other new bamboo is also a welcome break from the fine grain. It has a golden color that is a few shades lighter than the Amber version.

laser cut wood veneer - bamboo blonde

 

 

We’d love to know your ideas for things you can make with these new materials. Comment them below.

Get Creative with 3 New Two-Color Acrylics

Have you seen our latest two-color acrylics in modern tones? We hope these spark your creativity and inspire you for your next laser-cut project. Our new acrylics are 0.8 – 2.1mm thick. With a thin layer of a different colored plastic on top. Engraving reveals the second acrylic color underneath. This results in a dramatic effect perfect for making jewelry, tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers, point of sale displays and more.

We have three new two-color acrylics available:

White on Black

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Brushed Silver on Black 

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Black on White

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What we love about the two-color  acrylic is how it changes the overall look of the finished product. Here’s a great example of brushed silver on black:

Promo products

 

How To: Get The Best Results out of Laser Cut Cardstock

Useful tips to ensure optimum cut quality from this versatile material

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Cardstock is such a handy material for laser cutting. The versatile combination of lightweight tensile strength, fast cutting/etching and low unit cost means cardstock is a wonderful choice for greeting cards, business cards, model making and packaging. A number of popular cardstock options are available from both NZ and US Ponoko making hubs.

Cardstock cuts slightly differently from other materials in the Ponoko catalogues, so there are a few useful things to know to get the optimum cut quality for your project. Some of these tips are mentioned in the Ponoko material pages, such as designing around small light pieces that can shift during cutting. We always strongly advise that you carefully read material information to get a clearer idea of what results to expect. Material samples are another handy reference, although we stress that every project is different, and prototyping is the only way to ensure the best outcome.    (more…)