10 stories of how people are using Ponoko to make amazing things

Best of the Blog 2011 – Maker Stories

2011 was the year that really started to show the potential of Ponoko as a digital making system available to the designers and makers of the world.

People were using our digital fabrication services — lasercutting, 3D printing, and CNC routing — and turning those results into absolutely fantastic things.

From machines that let regular folks sequence DNA and devices that scramble your brainwaves to works of wearable art and products that embody beauty and function, these are the top 10 Maker Stories of people making amazing things with Ponoko in 2011.

#1 The incredible folding ukulele

Origami master and MIT celeb Brian Chan created this amazing fold-up ukulele. It was a smash-hit holiday gift this season, and Chan is looking into selling the design files as well as the lasercut kits and assembled instruments.


6 resources to get you started on a lasercut cardboard project

rocketships, sliceforms, perfect packaging, and file optimization

We’re throwing our second Prototyping Party and giving away FREE cardboard for the rest of the month when you make something with Ponoko.

To give you some design ideas we put together a post of 20 inspirational designs made from cardboard.

With just two a little over two weeks left on this promotion, it’s time to get down to business. So here are 6 resources to get you started.


Small Business Stories: creating a show-stopping trade show booth

Retail Ready with Made On Jupiter

If you’re a small business owner, exhibiting at a trade show is something that can really boost your business. Not only will you meet lots of prospective clients and buyers, but those places are always packed with members of the press. I’ve been to a handful of ICFFs, Stationery Shows, NeoCons, and lots of art fairs — and let me tell you, your booth design makes all the difference.

When it comes to trade shows, your booth matters more than your product. So what does it take to create a booth everyone wants to visit? Well it isn’t easy, but it’s certainly attainable.

Just ask Made on Jupiter, the digital fabrication specialist branch of New Zealand based design collective Jupiter Jazz.

Their latest project was the Puffer, a cumulus-cloud looking trade show booth developed for Siggraph Asia. The time lapse video above shows the assembly of over 1000 uniquely shaped cones to create the booth.

Tom Kluyskens published a detailed account of how his team went from design idea to booth build in less than 5 weeks.


20 inspirational designs made from cardboard

getting creative with cardboard

If you haven’t heard, we’re making our cardboard materials FREE all month when you make something with Ponoko.

Cardboard is a *great* material for prototyping your design and making it in another material later. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use cardboard in a final product. Check out these 20 inspirational designs made from good old fashioned recyclable cardboard.

1. Corrugated coardboard artwork

Artist Mark Langan creates stunning works of art entirely out of cardboard — from original gemoetric designs, to masterpiece interpretations, to corporate logos and signage.

2. Kranium cardboard helmet outperforms traditional helmets

This student project Anirudha Surabhi demonstrates the impact resistance of corrugated cardboard. His Kranium cardboard helmet stood up to four times the amount of impact withstood by typical polystyrene shells. (Video of a DIY arduino powered test in the original post.)


MakerBot announces new Replicator dual extrusion 3D printer for pre-order

with bread-loaf size build area!

MakerBot has announced the latest model to their line of personal 3D printers, and this one’s not a kit. The new MakerBot Replicator™ is a fully assembled desktop 3D printer that lets you print 2 different materials or colors in a single design.

It features a wider shape and a larger print area. It also comes with a new MakerBot Strepstruder for extruding ABS or PLA plastics, and you can choose either a single or dual extruder version.

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, will show off the Replicator at CES tomorrow. But you can already pre-order the Replicator starting at $1,749. (Well, you can whenever their site recovers from the traffic crash.)


Five fabulous pieces of digitally fabricated jewelry from 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – jewelry

Jewelry achieves that wonderful marriage of artistic expression and everyday function. Here are five examples from 2011 that demonstrate pushing the boundaries of both.

#1 Wearable flora — 3D printed planters as pendants

Colleen Jordan lets you wear springs of botanical beauty with her unique 3D printed planters. Her planter pendants comes in soft round shapes or geometric angles, and each one is hand finished for a look that’s truly one-of-a-kind.


On Site: Digital fabrication and mid-century seats at Graffiti Gone Global during Art Basel Miami Beach

CNC, NBA, and Eames

Earlier this month Miami was invaded by celebrities, gallerists, museum directors, designers, and lots of rich people for the 10th annual Art Basel Miami Beach.

This international contemporary art fair has spawned countless satellite fairs, events, launches, exhibitions, and parties. I stopped in Midtown Miami’s Design District to check out one them: Graffiti Gone Global.

Now in it’s fifth year, GGG was developed by restaurant entrepreneur Shimon Bokovza to celebrate urban culture.

The statement piece of the show was a cumulous cloud looking aluminum structure entitled ‘Labyrs Frisae’ by architect and designer Marc Fornes. Although I assume the 256 sheets of metal were CNC cut, the aesthetic is in line with what The Economist calls the “organic look” of 3D printed designs.


Movement through geometry — laser-engraved and hand-inked artwork

Ponoko made projects by Otto Gunther

After a career in the medical IT field, Otto Gunther had decided to dedicate some time to more creative pursuits.

When he first came across Ponoko, Otto started out designing and making a range of lasercut items like jewelry, garden markers, and coasters. “I think making a coaster design is a contractual obligation when signing up for Ponoko,” he joked. (Ponoko does indeed have a step-by-step tutorial that teaches you how to design and make a lasercut coaster.)

“But none of these ended up satisfying my creative itch,” he says. “Without realizing it, I was so focused on trying to come up with something that would be commercially viable, I hadn’t bothered to ask myself what I wanted to be creating. It was when I decided to design for myself instead, that I was inspired to start creating the art that you see today.

And what we see today is a series of original artworks that takes inspiration from the idea of movement through geometry.

Otto has so far created 3 works entitled “Radial”, “Radiant”, and “Radiate” which are available at his Etsy store ARTbyGUNTHER.


2011 Holiday Gift Guide: 7 guyish gifts for guys

Click the image to make it bigger.

1: video game controller ornaments $30 for set of 7 by digits – this is a safe-bet dude gift; available in white, black, red, and true blue

2: jazzblaster guitar template kit $48 by Paul Rhoney Guitar Co – what guy doesn’t want to DIY up their own Sonic Youth inspired guitar

3: woody allen pin $42(aud) by Sniffle Co – this has a wider audience than you might think; you can give it to allen fans, academics, film buffs, men who date women half their age, or self-indulgently frantic new yorkers

4: arduino mount 8.99–$12.99 by Phenom Engineering – do you know someone with an arduino? well they need a mount

5: clear desktop clock $sold out by iluxo – this is a neat clock, and that’s probably why it’s sold out. email the designer and ask her to make more!

6: ninja star coasters $48 by Doug Best – set of 9 lasercut coasters to “protect your coffee table, delight your friends, and assassinate your enemies”

7. hunting season pin $38(aud) by Sniffle Co – timely not just because it’s a holiday gift, but now is firearm deer hunting season too

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: 7 super cute things for kids

Click the image to make it bigger!

1. Mushroom Wall Clock $68 by Decoylab – I don’t really know why toadstools are so precious, but they are!

2. Lion Wall Clock $78 by Decoylab – This lion face clock lasercut from bamboo is Jonathan Adler-level adorable but so much more affordable.

3. Custom Modular Wall Art (contact for price quote) by A.R.T – Design your own work of modular wall art with a downloadable template or work with a designer from A.R.T. to create the perfect, kid-friendly installation.

4. Hand painted Kokeshi Broach $42 by Kimono Reincarnate – Just ask Australian designer Melanie Gray to leave off the metal brooch backing, and you’ve got a darling little doll.

5. Cycloidal Scribbling Engine $35 by Mr. Velocipede – have some old-school spirograph fun making colorful radial art with this set of 5 acrylic discs.

6. Pop-out Snowflake Ornament Set $38(aud) by Sniffle Co. – The pop-out action of these snowflake ornaments makes this gift double as a puzzle!

7. DIY Ponocto Stool Kit (2) $180 by Made on Jupiter – This is not just a great product, but a great project for kids and parents to do together. You’ll receive 2 stool kits that require tab cutting, some sanding, assembly and finishing. Made from quality Baltic Birch plywood.