A Maker’s Christmas: Order Holiday Gifts By These Deadlines

christmasdeadlines

Santa is a busy guy. He is a maker, ya know. So do the guy a solid. Help out his elves and create some cool Yule products to sell in your Etsy shop or give your friends, family and coworkers.

So if you want your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivas celebration to be full of good cheer, then you better get your designs ready to start making! Your festive items take time to make, so place your order by these deadlines. You don’t want to be left with a lump of coal in your stocking!

Laser Cutting Order Deadlines
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Upgraded Making & Shipping Speeds (charges apply): Last Orders by Monday, December 12, 2016

Metal Machining (PCM) Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

3D Printing Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

What’s the difference between standard and upgraded? With standard making and shipping speeds, there are no extra fees for production or shipping if you order PCM or 3D printing by the November 18 deadline or order laser cutting by the November 25 deadline.

But what if you miss the deadline because all the stock in your Etsy store sold out? Or if you went to the mall and realized that you can’t get your mom another snowman sweater because she’ll disown you? Not to worry, you can upgrade to faster making speed and expedited shipping so you don’t miss out on the holiday festivities. This means you can wait to order…but only if you don’t mind spending some extra coin!

Also, delivery dates are dependent on shipping locations. To make sure your order is under the tree in time for Christmas, check the Estimated Delivery Date provided when placing an order. If it’s after December 23, then adjust the making speed or shipping speed (or both) until your preferred delivery date appears.

Holiday Making Inspiration

Not sure what you want to make? Need some inspiration to get in the holiday spirit? This Instructables tutorial will show you how to make laser-cut holiday decorations.

To see what kind of Christmas items sell on Etsy, check out CraftyLou2’s ornaments and baubles.

craftylou2-laser-cut-christmas-ornament

And don’t forget to check out the Ponoko Showroom where you’ll find ideas for snowflakes, candle luminaries, this Christmas Tree Ball Ornament With Stars—and more.

decorations

Remember: Christmas is the busiest time of year for us as well as for carriers, so things can take a little longer to make and ship than during the rest of the year. Don’t wait to make. Order by the deadlines and receive all your custom products for selling or personalized presents for gifting in time for your special celebrations. Get started today. You don’t want to end up on the naughty list!

 

New Materials: Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

golden-ticket

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!

gold-black-snowflakes

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.

gold_cut_edges

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

red-blue-green-product-collage

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.

red_cut_edges

Acrylic – Two Color – Blue on White

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

blue_cut_edges

Acrylic – Two Color – Green On White

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

green_cut_edges

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!

 

TheMoonLab: Dream Jewelry Pieces Come To Life With Laser Cutting

Etsy Seller Combines Science + Pop With A Side Of Quirk To Create A Fun Jewelry Line 

The Secret of NIMH Necklace

Aeryn of TheMoonLab had a dream. She wanted to create unique jewelry pieces that she had always wanted for herself–things that don’t even exist yet on the market.

She began her search online for a laser cutting company that could work with colored acrylics. When she came across Ponoko and found that we work with different types of materials from acrylics to wood and stainless steel, she knew she found the right personal factory to work with for her business.

Making The Dream A Reality With Laser Cutting

Her dream pieces finally came to life with Ponoko’s help. Her product lines have a lot of original designs and some that are inspired by movies and shows. “My favorite piece is something I’ve wanted ever since I was a little girl, and it was inspired by the necklace from the film The Secret of NIMH. It’s this amazing red medallion with an inscription on the back. I had to hunt around for the perfect cabochon to use for the red stone, and when I finally finished the piece it really felt like an accomplishment to me,” Aeryn says.

Working with Ponoko also allowed Aeryn to push the boundaries of creativity and really try out new things. “I also experimented using glowing powders with my resin so many of my pieces glow in the dark,” she says. “Or I include LED lights because I am in love with light and color!”

Saturn Laser Cut Necklace

The saturn necklace is an example of the combination of glowing resin and stainless steel.

Precision cutting also let her explore the world of 8-bit video game translated as jewelry pieces. “Growing up I would have loved to own a necklace based on my favorite games, so these are some of the things I love designing,” she says of this line.

Retro lasercut necklace

Why TheMoonLab Loves Ponoko

Aeryn says of her experience with Ponoko: “My first run of stainless steel pieces from Ponoko came out so wonderfully that I kept submitting designs and ordering more. I am more than pleased with the services, and for the price it really can’t be beat. They are very attentive with customer service and offer a lot of great advice for anyone who is just starting out and maybe not sure what they want. The look and also thickness of the stainless steel is absolutely perfect for my products. I will continue to use them and would recommend them to anyone looking to have designs cut from acrylic, wood or stainless steel!”

What To Expect In The Near Future

More amazing designs are definitely coming soon. Some popular designs that sold out are going to be back in stock at the beginning of October, so keep an eye out.

We love these pieces that are popular with gamers and anime lovers.

Laser Cut Kodama Necklace

Laser Cut Kodama Necklace

 

Laser cut Moogle necklace

Laser Cut Moogle Necklace

 

Laser cut Totoro necklace

Laser Cut Totoro Necklace

 

Find out more about Aeryn and TheMoonLab at www.themoonlab.com 

 

Laser Cut Toys For The Big Boys

Serious Fun With Drones And Robots

laser-cut-robots-bider-letsmakerobots

What is it about building robots that is so much fun? If you ask a kid, you will likely get a meaningful answer… however when it comes to grown men the wide-eyed fascination of youth has developed into a serious pursuit of quirky techno-novelty. In recent years, drones have joined the venerable robot as one of the top projects for big boys to tinker away at.

Through laser cutting, the design process for both drones and robots is streamlined and fully functional prototypes are just a mouse click away.       (more…)

Make Halloween Spooktacular; Order By These Deadlines

halloween-deadline

Skulls and spiders and witches, too
Ghosts, goblins and things that go boo
Your favorite time of year is near
Because Halloween is almost here!

 

What’s Halloween without fun costumes and scary decorations? Whether you like black cats, bats, pumpkins or zombies, there’s something ghoulish to add a little fright to this special night.

3D Laser Cut Skulls make festive decorations and are a fun activity for family and friends. Get the how-to instructions at Instructables.

3d-laser-cut-skull

For more Halloween inspiration, check out these mini laser cut skull and cross bones from Etsy seller TimberGreenWoods, who says the charms are great for beads, crafting, confetti or whatever else your imagination can dream up.

laser-cut-skull-cross-bones

And these laser cut witches from Etsy seller ecoandfun will have you chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

laser-cut-witches

Don’t forget to check out the Ponoko Showroom for even more ideas.

Want this Halloween to be frightfully special? Then you better get your designs ready to start making! Your spooktacular creations take time to make, so jot down these important dates. If you miss ’em, it will be all trick and no treat!

Laser Cutting Order Deadlines

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Thursday, October 13, 2016
Upgraded Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Metal Machining (PCM) Order Deadline

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, September 30, 2016

3D Printing Order Deadline

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, September 30, 2016

What’s the difference between standard and upgraded services for laser cutting? With standard making and shipping speeds, there are no extra fees for production or shipping if you order by the October 13 deadline.

But what if you miss the deadline because your black cat ate your sketches? Not to worry, you can upgrade to faster making speed and expedited shipping so you don’t miss out on the fun. This means you can wait to order…but only if you’re not frightened by a little price increase!

Also, delivery dates are dependent on shipping locations. To make sure your order is in your hot little hands in time for Halloween, check the Estimated Delivery Date provided when placing an order. If it’s after October 28, then adjust the making speed or shipping speed (or both) until your preferred delivery date appears.

Don’t have a horrific Halloween. Start making today. Or else you’ll be haunted until next year!

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 7

Think Custom, Not Commodity. With An Idea For Adobe.

law-7-think-custom

When swag recipients receive one of your promotional gifts, is it obvious that it came from you? What if the logo or branding were removed? Would it still be clear the promotional products were yours…or could the item be from anyone—including your competitors?

Generic promo products are just that. Generic. They don’t stand out in a crowd. They don’t completely tie into your brand story or marketing strategy. And there’s no differentiation with what you’re giving and what your competitors are giving…unless you create custom swag that is unique to you.

Custom Promotional Products Beat Commodity Items Every Time

In a world of crowded marketing messages, you need a vehicle that can deliver your story better than the competition. And common promotional products aren’t going to get the attention your brand desires.

Here’s an example to put the concept into perspective. In the article The Commodity Sale Is Dead (And This Is Why), Matt Heinz says:

“Produce is a commodity, right? Apples, bananas, salad fixings. But you know as well as I that some markets get a reputation for better produce than others. Freshness, selection, custom order possibilities, etc. Price is a factor, sure. But it’s one of many. If you play the commodity game, it’s just a race to the bottom purely on price. If you fail to differentiate, then you really are just like everyone else.”

While Heinz is speaking more about the products and services a company provides, the concept is also applicable to the swag you give. In fact, produce and promotional products just might have more in common with each other than you might think.

Have you ever received food gifts from Harry & David during the holidays? Their Royal Riviera Pears are legendary. First, the packaging is beautifully designed. You immediately know it’s from H&D and can’t wait to open it. Second, the product quality is excellent. The pears are soooooooo good!

At the core, the gift is simply produce. Just pears. You could go down to the corner market and get some. But you don’t. Instead, you want to give an experience. The luxury pears that are priced at a premium deliver this experience.

Translate this to promotional products. Choosing giveaways from the standard selection in a catalog or on a website is like going down to the corner market of branded commodities. If you want to create a meaningful and memorable experience for your target audience, designing custom promotional gifts is the only way to achieve that goal.

To prove this point, we gave ourselves a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Adobe Iconic Toolset

The Brand: Adobe
The Event: Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference
The Audience: Graphic designers
The Marketing Goal: Build brand awareness via repeat product exposure and use after the event

adobe-artist-tools-set

It takes something special to impress attendees at Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference—an awe-inspiring mashup of 9,000+ of the world’s top creatives and best-in-the-business experts who come together to learn, share, create, connect and play. But designer Jen Pepper was up for the task.

To create brand awareness via repeat product use after the event, Pepper designed an artist’s tool set based on the iconic Adobe tools found in its software. The set includes an artist’s quality magnifying glass, pencil, paint brush, ruler and fountain pen—any or all of which could have an engraved logo.

“Designers who use these products have the idea of the pixel tools in their brains, so bringing them into the real world is a fun talking piece for their desk and studio when they return from MAX,” Pepper says. “They are Adobe through and through.”

By thinking custom and not commodity, Pepper created a product that incorporates good design and brand DNA, is strategic and has a purpose all while targeting a specific audience and being different from the competition. She incorporated the first six Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. And this is why the idea works.

Custom Design: Creating Memorable & Meaningful Swag

So what do you think? What would happen if promotional products weren’t ordered straight out of a catalog and instead were crafted following the Immutable Laws of Event Marketing Swag? How would incorporating good design and brand DNA, being strategic, having a purpose, targeting a specific audience and being different from the competition change your approach to designing promotional products for events?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

German designer Dieter Rams said: “Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.”

We’re not gonna lie: Designing truly custom promotional products that are memorable and meaningful is hard work. It takes thought. Planning. Strategy. Maybe that’s why so many opt for simply ordering branded merchandise out of a catalog. It’s just easier.

But great brands didn’t become great brands by taking the easy way out. No way. They fought their way to the top. And paid attention to all the little details (like promotional swag) in the process.

And you can too. By removing the limits of what promo products are offered in catalogs and forgetting the commodity mindset, you can tap your inner creativity to design promotional gifts that deliver a remarkable experience. One your customers will stand in line for and share with their friends on social media. Isn’t that what you want from your promotions?

 

This is the seventh in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

 

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.

silver_on_black_edge_large

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.

turquoise-edge_large

Acrylic – Yellow (Matte)

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

yellow-edge_large

 

Acrylic – Pink (Matte)

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

pink-edge_large

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

cardboard-laser-cut-skull

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.

cardboard-laser-cut-sampler

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.

cardboard-laser-cut-lady-in-fur

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.

cardboard-laser-cut-collage-1

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.

cardboard-laser-cut-ponoko-nesting-lines-example-laser-cut-cardboard-bin-1

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.