WoodMarvelsJoined: April, 08 View showroom
We asked three questions:
Where do your product ideas come from?
I get most of my ideas out of the blue based on life's experiences. For instance, right now I am on a train so I am inspired to come-up with a few toy train ideas. I also get great inspiration from other designers so I have found Ponoko's blog as a fantastic resource for me!
What and how did you typically make things?
As I am unable to draw beyond stick figures, I usually design and develop the entire model in my head over several days. I then move onto my laptop and within Autodesk's 3DS Max environment, migrate a design from my head into a 3D space. Once I am satisfied with the results, I produce blueprint and 3D animation showing assembly.
What benefits have you gained by using Ponoko?
1) QUALITY: The quality of the materials that Ponoko uses are fantastic, from MDF to plywood. No warped boards, no knot-filled faces nor half-rotten edges! I have always been incredibly impressed by the photographs of the assembled products I have had produced. 2) PRECISION: The level of precision that a laser can produce vs what can be produced in a woodworking shop is absolutely incredible. Cutting 90 degree interlocking corners is a real pain in the ass using traditional woodworking techniques but a laser cutter has no problems down to 0.01mm! 3) ADVICE: The staff have been really amazing in every regard from helping me with material selection to designing issues that have came-up. For instance, I am currently producing a shuffleboard and John/Dan has been invaluable with suggestions and answering all my questions. I really cannot say enough great things about my interactions with Ponoko. They also have a forum and blog where a lot of great advice can also be had. 4) ON DEMAND MANUFACTURING: The ability to offer customers on-demand, pre-cut kits of my products is simply astonishing. I don't need to keep any inventory, deal with shipping or other hassles that a company would typically have to deal with. For instance, I can be on a remote tropical beach with a solar charged laptop and process an order through a satellite phone to be shipped anywhere in the world! 5) OPPORTUNITIES: Ponoko has essentially allowed me to exponentially increase the size of my company. I handle the design, they do the rest (cutting, shipping, material selection etc). They have become my other half without having to invest a dime in the infrastructure costs usually involved with manufacturing. I can now concentrate on marketing and design instead of manufacturing!