3D printed skull sculpture — a Kickstarter project

Artist’s Kickstarter project aims to put more art in front of more people

Crania Anatomia Filigre is a 3D printed sculpture by Joshua Harker who is using Kickstarter to launch the art piece and to reach a more global audience than is possible with galleries and exhibitions.

This delicately designed sculpture is based on drawings Harker made about 20 years ago, and now finally technology has caught up to the artist’s ideas.

Harker is full of praise for 3D printing, claiming what was once impossible to produce in sculptural form is now in the realm of reality:


Desktop CNC machine for $300 — an open hardware project on Kickstarter

Help make the ShapeOko DIY CNC machine a reality

When Edward Ford told us about his plan to launch a Kickstarter project for his self-built CNC machine — made with SparkFun electronics and laser cut with his Personal Factory — we jumped at the chance to support his project.

The ShapeOko is a complete, desktop CNC machine that anyone can build for about $300. And its all open-source!

From the ShapeOko Kickstarter page: “From CAD and CAM software to the CNC controller; every step has an open source solution. Did we mention the entire project itself is open source? Every nut, every bolt, every belt, fully documented with part numbers and vendor list. Do with it as you please!”

The goal is to finalize the ShapeOko design, make it repeatable, and then freely distribute it under an open source license.

Once the design is complete, you’ll be able to create a fully operation ShapeOko CNC with your Personal Factory — all the lasercut and 3D printed parts, plus the electronics. Only some easy-to-find hardware parts need to be purchases separately.

And project funding will go to finishing the design (purchasing materials, paying for laser cutting time, testing new designs, and exploring ways to drive the final build cost even lower than $300)

This project needs just $1,500 by July 26th.

• Pledge $1 and be part of an awesome project.

• Pledge $5 or more and you’ll be entered to win a ShapeOko CNC mill and get a big ole Thank You

• Pledge $50 or more and you’ll get a $50 Personal Factory making voucher + be entered to win the mill SOLD OUT

• Pledge $50 or more and you’ll get a $25 Personal Factory making voucher from us

• Pledge $100 or more and you’ll get 3 stepper motor drivers AND an Arduino pre-loaded with GRBL + be entered to win the mill

• Pledge $500 or more and you just bought yourself a full ShapeOko CNC mill = the hardware, electronics, frame, and rotary tool

Note: Giving away a mill is against the Kickstarter rules. Edward is super sorry about that oversight. But just maybe we’ll order one of these ShapeOkos ourselves and make it a monthly blog giveaway. 🙂

For more info on this project, visit the ShapeOko Kickstarter page.
For more info, pics, and video of the CNC mill, visit ShapeOko.com

Keep up with the status of this project by following @shapeoko or @ponoko

SketchChair on Kickstarter: Update

Introducing the rocking stool

With only a few days to go in the SketchChair Kickstarter campaign, pledges and support continue to flow in for the team at Diatom.

Recent updates from Greg and Tiago have introduced the Rocking Stool, which will become one of the options for those generous souls pledging $300 to the cause.

This playful, dynamic piece of furniture emerged out of a collaboration with Nadeem Haidary and Defne Civelekoglu, and joins the SketchChair collection along with the friendly SketchChair Minis that have been designated as rewards for more modest pledges of $25.

Cut from 18mm birch ply, Nadeem and Defne’s rocker is yet another example of the breadth and versatility promised by the SketchChair system.

If you like what you see, there are still a few days remaining to put your money where your mouth is…

Rocking Stool via SketchChair Kickstarter Updates

SketchChair on Kickstarter

Put your money where your mouth is for some Furniture Designed By You

[iframe: frameborder=”0″ height=”410px” src=”http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/diatom/sketchchair-furniture-designed-by-you/widget/video.html” width=”480px”]

SketchChair is an awesome idea. Not only is it a free, open-source software tool that enables almost anyone to realize their dreams of becoming a furniture designer; now the call is out to take SketchChair to the next phase.

The push is on with a Kickstarter campaign where customizable open-source furniture is just the start.

The goal for this project is not just to complete the software and release the source code, but also to build an online community of people creating, sharing and editing designs.

Some pretty solid thinking has gone into this, including a few nice ways to reward people who pledge their support. More modest contributors of $25 will become the proud owners of SketchChair Minis, while higher level pledgers receive full-size customised designs and even the opportunity to collaborate with Greg and the Diatom guys on their very own modern masterpiece.

Find out all about it at Kickstarter, and if you like the way these guys are democratising design, pledge your support before crunch day on May 11.

SketchChair on Kickstarter

Laser Cut Toys For The Big Boys

Serious Fun With Drones And Robots


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…)

How Motion Synth Became A Laser Cut Success

Motion Synth: A Laser Cut Kickstarter Success Story

AUUG Motion Synth

When the Auug team dreamed up their novel music interface the Motion Synth, they knew that there would be a great response from musicians and enthusiasts alike. Before Motion Synth, there was no integrated system that allowed for electronic musicians to interact with their instrument in a natural, intuitive way.

The innovation that makes all the difference with the Motion Synth is in the way that it combines a cleverly resolved physical interface with the robust and technologically powerful iOS mobile device range. Motion Synth consist of three elements, all working together: the AUUG Grip, the AUUG app and the AUUG cloud.

motion synth 3

The Grip is what we’re focusing on here. Laser cut from aluminium and then CNC cold-formed, it encases an iPhone or iPod touch in a way that leaves the fingers free to interact with physically defined regions on the screen. All this happens without interfering with the intuitive process of actually playing music; no distraction from whether the device is secure, or looking to see where to place the fingers.

You may think this sounds a bit like a 21st Century Theremin, but there is actually a whole lot more to the Motion Synth. A true laser cut success story, the Motion Synth is a showpiece for the integration of digital manufacturing technologies such as laser cutting with high-end electronic devices.

Auug’s Motion Synth is a fantastic example of how laser cutting gives product developers the ability to go from concept to fully functional prototype in a smooth, efficient workflow. Already highly resolved prior to the successful Kickstarter campaign, the commercial product has also received serious attention from investors on Shark Tank Australia. By working with the available technologies and making clever use of their combined strengths, AUUG founder Dr Joshua Young is breaking new ground with the Motion Synth.

We highly recommend checking out the product videos on auug.com to see just how amazing this combination of physical and electronic components can be, and you can also learn more about the product development and public funding process at the Motion Synth Kickstarter campaign.



Customized Laser Cutting for Tech Geeks

Designing Your Own Enclosures for Electronics Projects

adafruit laser cut enclosure

Laser cutting has long been the chosen solution for many DIY electronics project enclosures, and with good reason. By building a custom case using laser cutting, you are able to protect components, give precise access to interface elements, and also add laser etched details that communicate function and branding.

We’ve previously taken a look at how to make a laser cut enclosure using Box Maker and similar plugins for laser cutter-friendly software programs. Another neat browser-based option is MakerCase (screenshot below) where it is easier than ever to enter design constraints, interact with a 3D model of the enclosure and then save a file that is ready for laser cutting.


These fantastic tools and software solutions go a long way in making laser cut enclosure design accessible for projects large and small. While a laser cut enclosure can be quite simple, the thorough breakdown by Phillip Burgess on Adafruit covers a number of key considerations and comes strongly recommended indeed. The eye-catching rainbow Raspberry Pi case pictured at the top of this post is a prime example of the way that the strengths of laser cutting can be leveraged to produce unique, desirable outcomes.

Personal projects get a serious boost from laser cut enclosures, and the next step is often to produce and sell products that look both professional and highly resolved. A notable example of how custom laser cut enclosures have helped turn personal projects into Kickstarter success stories is the Game Frame (pictured below) from Jeremy Williams.


So whether you’ve baked yourself a techno treat with the Raspberry Pi, or created new possibilities using the latest boards from Arduino; those electronic projects can get such a boost when a custom laser cut enclosure is added to the mix.

In short, laser cutting enables customization and full control over the following design and interface elements:

Protect components: Boards, screens and connectors can all be housed securely.
Location of openings: Plugs, connectors, lights and vents can all be positioned in exactly the right spot.
Communication: Adding custom branding, labels to ports, and a bit of personal flair.

Be sure to read through the Adafruit Laser Cut Enclosure Design Overview and fire up your Ponoko Personal Factory to get the prototyping process started right away. Let us know in the comments below if you know of any other handy tips and resources for making laser cut electronics enclosures.


Second round for UGEARS self-propelled mechanical models

Extraordinary laser cut machines 

ugears laser cut loco

Having already received a tremendous response to their original Kickstarter campaign, the team from Ugears are not resting on their laurels… they’ve hit the ground running with a 40% increase in production capacity and the enquiries keep on flooding in. So for those who love to marvel at laser cut mechanical wonders, you still have a chance to jump on board the Kickstarter train with a time-limited second round campaign.

Be quick though, because the promo-priced gears stop rolling on January 12!

Who are UGEARS?

Watch the video below to see what UGEARS is all about. You may think you’ve seen impressive laser cut mechanical devices before, but these guys take it to the next level and beyond. Imagine what would happen if you merged the finicky precision of a Swiss watchmaker with a Dad’s club of enthusiastic 21st-century digital makers. A true labor of love, the first model took two years to develop before it was considered ready for production. During this time, the ideas kept flowing and the result is a growing collection of additional products from a tractor to a working safe, a timer to a model dynamometer and no less than 8 other fully functional laser cut plywood whimsies in between.

“Mechanisms have become so tiny. They are hidden so deep inside things that people do not see the whole beauty of rotating gears anymore. What if anybody could get a chance to create a mechanism?”

The second-chance Kickstarter campaign concludes on January 12, and then once the dust has settled, the official UGEARS store will open for business around mid-2016. So if you can’t wait until then, make a pledge on Kickstarter before it’s too late.

Also, it’s good to see these guys are steadily working through their long list of ideas for future mechanical marvels. Head to the UGEARS Instagram for a taste of what they are working on.

UGEARS via Kickstarter

Entrepreneur turning hobby into novelty toy and apparel company

Robots! Yeah!

Imagine a community of robots; from helpers to dance masters to happy companions and more. What stories would they tell? What journeys would they embark on, as their world and ours merge into one fantastical creative adventure?

The characters from RoboMustache were created and designed by Charles Wade of Greensboro NC, and they are working their way into the hearts and imaginations of young robot enthusiasts one laser cut assembly kit at a time.

It all started with the Helper Bot

GREENSBORO, NC — After graduating from college, designer and maker, Charles Wade, began his hobby by making unique animal stickers, which later morphed into woodcraft and papercraft creations. During a test for one of his woodcrafts he designed and built a poseable wooden robot. The Helper Bot was born.

With the creation of the Helper Bot, Wade began experimenting with other ideas. After receiving feedback and appreciation for his work, he created more robots and designed assembly kits that would allow others to build his creations.

Resurrected from the scrapheap in a derelict factory

Wade has cultivated his hobby into a career by establishing RoboMustache; a collection of wooden robot assembly kits, accessories and merchandise. More than a collection of novelties, the RoboMustache hints at a rich world of storytelling as well. Coined from a found project in a derelict factory, as the company grows, so will the RoboMustache universe. The story will expand to tell more about the existing robots and bring in new robots along the way.

The most mustchioed  ‘Staff Pick’ on Kickstarter

Wade is crowdfunding the project to take the RoboMustache universe to the next level. The Kickstarter launched Dec. 4, 2015 and runs through the new year. Rewards for backers include assembly kits for each of the RoboMustache characters, laser cut in bamboo ply by Ponoko.

For more information on RoboMustache, visit RoboMustache.com or email contact@RoboMustache.com. To see the Kickstarter, visit RoboMustache.com/Kickstarter

Laser Cut Self Portraits

Laser cut Frida, unicorns, boxes, signs, and a new Kickstarter!

tlc252 (2)

Above are Frida Kahlo earrings. They are laser cut and hand painted wood like Ponoko.com‘s own Birch Plywood, and come from Ave Rose Collections.

After the jump, unicorns, boxes, signs, and a new Kickstarter… (more…)