How to Self-Check Your Designs with Illustrator

Upload with the assurance you’ve got it right.

I’ve put together this video tutorial of a process you can use to self-check your design files before uploading them using Illustrator – as well as covering all the common mistakes to look out for.

This is ideal if your design file won’t upload to Ponoko, or you want to be sure you’ve formatted everything correctly before getting us to make it…

Avoid Scale FAIL with Free Prototyping

My first Ponoko mess-up and how I could have avoided it…
Scale FailLEFT: result of my original design. | RIGHT: what it was meant to look like.

Yes that’s right – I managed to make a TINY unreadable business card (about the size of a Mahjong tile) as a result of using the wrong Units when I was designing it. Suffice to say, Pixels do not equal Millimeters.

I console myself that this age of rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing allowed me to discover my mistake quickly and with minimal expense. Not like the $327.6 million which went down the drain due to improper Unit conversion with the Mars Climate Orbiter.

However, I could have easily spotted the mistake before even uploading my design. I now know that I could have prototyped my design at (virtually) zero cost to myself, using equipment available in my own home.

I could have printed out my design on paper.
Avoid Scale FailSo next time you’re uncertain whether your design is too detailed, if you’ve left enough room to fit chain through a hole, or if you want to see how large your Ponoko business cards will turn out…

Print it out at 100% Scale and make your first prototype FREE.

Craft 2.0 – Three Years On & Going Strong

Craft 2.0Wellington’s “hottest and most fun fair devoted to all things crafty” is now into its third year, and continues to grow in popularity, vibrancy and profile.

Ponoko was proud to be a sponsor and participant at the inaugural Craft 2.0 in March of 2007, and it’s been awesome to see how far it’s grown since then. The fair at the end of last month was the eighth Craft 2.0 event, and you can get a flavour of what it was like on their blog.

Their latest venture in New Zealand’s capital is an attempt to brighten up the contents of its residents’ pockets. They’ve joined forces with Snapper and The Wellingtonista blog to run a competition for the best Payment Card or USB Stick cover. They’re calling the competition:
Smarten Your SnapperSnapper cards have become the preferred method of paying for bus fares in Wellington, and apparently most are still seen in their original plastic sleeve. The competition is an attempt to encourage crafters to come up with cover designs so cool that the public would be crazy not to “smarten” their Snappers.

To encourage and inspire entries, the Craft 2.0 blog are also providing helpful tutorials for making covers – such as making one from felt with no sewing.

The prizes on offer are a Snapper card loaded with $100 NZD credit and a a free table at the next Craft2.0 on October 24th 2009. More details.

USA Material Catalog Changes

Replacements, Removals & New AdditionsMaterials for: United StatesSome of you may have noticed that the USA Materials Catalog was adjusted on Friday. It was the first part of a two-step adjustment of what will be available from the Oakland hub moving forward.

When we launched the US hub just under two months ago, we had established relationships with a number of new local material suppliers. These suppliers made certain promises of what they could provide, and we posted our US catalog to reflect those assurances. Since then a few of these material sources have proved problematic. These problems came to a head at the end of last week when we were informed that some of the materials we were promised cannot be provided at all.

We have been able to find alternate sources for a few of these materials, but not all. The former have been repriced to adjust for the actual cost from the new supplier. The latter group have been removed from the selection.

I’m happy to say that the next part of this Catalog adjustment will be the addition of some materials many of you have been hoping for – as well as a new variety of 3mm Bamboo Ply to replace the old one. These additions are not far away, and I am told could be up on the site as early as next week.

You can rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to build solid and assured relationships with our new suppliers, and will continue to expand the range of materials you can make from with Ponoko.

Here is the full list of materials which have been repriced, removed or are about to be added:

Acrylic – Light Blue TINT – 4.5mm
Acrylic – Red – 6.0mm
Acrylic – Orange – 4.5mm
Acrylic – Red TINT – 4.5mm

Acrylic – Medium Blue TINT – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Blue – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Light Blue TINT – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Red – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Orange – 6.0mm
Acrylic – Orange – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Green – 6.0mm
Acrylic – Green – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Yellow – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Ivory – 9.0mm
Acrylic – Red TINT – 9.0mm
Bamboo Ply – 3.0mm

To Be Added:
Bamboo Ply (Blonde) – 3.0mm
Leather Russet
1/4″ Birch Veneer
1/4″ Cherry Veneer
1/4″ White Oak Veneer
1/4″ Walnut Veneer