Ponoko 10-Day Design Challenge: Games and Puzzles

2314103187_3626f781d2.jpgimage via Flickr


We want to make it easy for you to do cool stuff. And with the fantastic response we got from our first Design Challenge we’ve decided to run another one showcasing Games and Puzzles. So this is another chance to show off your design skills, get your creations made and delivered to your door for free. Oh, and win $1,000 in cash plus several thousand dollars in other prizes.

Design brief

Games and Puzzles can educate and entertain. They can be a solitary exercise or a group activity and when you have memorized how it goes together, you can pass it on to friends or family.

Your challenge is to create intriguing and entertaining games or puzzles on a laser cutter — within 10 days!

Laser cutting brings a new angle to games and puzzles. The ability to create incredibly intricate detail means the games and puzzles can be as simple or as complex as you like. The traditional jigsaw shape can now be designed with much greater variety and intricacy.

Laser surface treatments can be a graphic in nature or a texture. How these are used is essential in the design of your puzzle. Every mark or line on the material becomes a clue on how to put the puzzle together.

Your creations need not be 2D. You could make a 3D puzzle using layers or shapes connected in an interesting way. Think about how multiple pieces can be combined to create an interesting design.

Attention to detail, material combinations, connections, production feasibility and quality will be key to making your design stand out.


Up to $5,000 in prizes are up for grabs:

Open Round

Everyone is invited to submit a product design — the more times you enter the more opportunity you have of winning:

* The top 15 designs will be made for free — that’s materials, making and shipping to your door.
* Plus they’ll be invited to be submitted into the Invitation Round.

Invitation Round

The top 15 designs from the Open Round will go head to head:

* The top product will win $1,000 cash.
* The two runners up will each win $500 cash.
* The “People’s Choice” product will win a $500 Ponoko voucher.

Design requirements

* It must be possible for Ponoko to make the main component of your design.
* Designs must be new (i.e. not already hosted on Ponoko).
* You can only use materials in the Ponoko materials catalog.
* You can use extras such as fixings in your design (supplied and assembled by you).
* If you submit multiple designs, they must be unique. Please don’t just submit iterations of the same design.
* Designs may be as simple or as complex as you want.


There are two phases to the judging process:

Open Round:
Submit your product design idea to win up to 15 prizes

* The first round will be judged on a graphic representation and a description of your idea uploaded to your Ponoko Showroom. (See “How to enter” below for more information about submitting your design).
* Entries will be accepted between May 1st and May 10th 2008.
* 15 designs will be selected by a panel of judges.

If your design is selected among the top 15 entries, we will make it and ship it to you free of charge. We will also invite you to enter your product into the Invitation Round!

Invitation Round:
Submit your finished product to win up to $2,500 in prizes

* This final round will be judged on photographs of your assembled product and a description of it uploaded to your Ponoko Showroom. (See “How to enter” below for more information about submitting your product).
* Entries will be accepted up until May 30th 2008.
* 4 winning products will be selected by a panel of judges and community voting: 3 products will be selected by the judges and 1 will be selected by the community. If a product selected by the community has also been selected by the judges then the next best as voted by the community will win the “People’s Choice Award”.

People’s Choice Award

Community voting for the Invitation Round will be held on our blog between May 15th and May 30th 2008. We will post the top 15 on our blog for the community to vote. So tell your friends and family to head over to our blog to get voting for you!

Judging criteria

Entries/finalists will be judged on the following criteria, in no particular order:

1. Innovation in design concept.
2. Clarity and resolution of design and final product.
3. Originality.
4. Presentation and photography.
5. Interesting use of material(s).
6. Attention to detail.
7. Production feasibility and quality.

Judging panel

The judging panel is made up of representatives from Ponoko along with the Ponoko community — people you give a nudge to come and vote for you on our blog for the “People’s Choice Award”.

How to enter

There are 2 rounds to enter:

Open Round:

May 1st to 10th 2008:
you’ve got 10 days to enter!
Go to your MyPonoko account and upload the following elements into your Showroom:

1. Product design .eps files;
2. Photos/images representing the final product;
3. Up to 200 words describing your idea;
4. Enter the tag “PuzzleChallenge”.

The key here is getting your idea across. The images need to show what your design looks like (sketches, renders, photos, 3D drawings) plus you need to include a description of up to 200 words that communicates your design concept. 3D sketches and photos of well-crafted cardboard models are great ways to show what something will look like. Remember, your entry must be submitted between May 1st and 10th. This means you have just 10 days to come up with an idea and upload it into your Ponoko Showroom. This is the challenge — we want to see how good you really are!

Thursday May 15th 2008:
we announce the winners of the Open Round

Congratulations! The top 15 entries will be made and shipped for free and go through to the Invitation Round. We will post these top 15 on our blog for community voting to commence. So you can tell your friends and family to get voting to win the People’s Choice Award.

Friday May 23rd 2008:
we will have delivered the top 15 products to the Open Round winners

If you’re one of our Open Round winners, we’ll be busy making and shipping your stuff to you. Once you get it, you will have about a week to assemble your product, add any finishing touches, photograph it and upload the new photos into your Ponoko Showroom to be eligible for the Invitation Round prizes.

Invitation Round:

Friday May 30th 2008
: entries close for the Invitation Round

Go to your MyPonoko account and upload the following elements into your Showroom:

1. Photos of your final assembled product;
2. Put your product or product plan on sale in your Showroom, with a price to buy it;
3. The tag “PuzzleChallengeFinalist”

Photos on a plain white or black background look best. Use a tripod if possible and avoid using a flash. If your camera has a macro function using this will help with any close up photos or detail shots. And remember to get your friends and family voting for you!

Tuesday June 3rd 2008:
we announce the winners of the Invitation Round

Congratulations! The grand prize winner will receive $1,000, the top 2 finalists will get $500 and the People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $500 Ponoko voucher.

Some important details

For those who are interested in the fine print, here you go – Ponoko 10-Day Design Challenge: Games and Puzzles terms, eligibility, intellectual property and copyright

Please contact us if you need help with any aspect of this challenge.

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