The world’s easiest making system is now available in the EU

From today our existing making hubs will be joined by a new hub in Berlin.

So now you can choose to get your products made and delivered from the USA, New Zealand or Germany. It’s another small step in solving a big problem with product manufacturing – the cost of shipping around the world.

It’s great news. It means EU-based creators will pay just a fraction of the shipping costs which has made ordering products from our US and Pacific-based making hubs prohibitive.

For example the cost of shipping a P1 size of 3mm thick plastic sheet of material to anywhere in Germany will plummet by about 85% to around just US$9, while places like Amsterdam and Paris will reduce by around three-quarters to about US$16!

The new hub also opens up the European market for creators in other parts of the world. Items can be produced in the EU and shipped locally, reducing the cost – and environmental impact – of long-distance shipping to the EU.

The German hub is the result of us licensing our online making system to Berlin-based fabber, Formulor. They are a team with 12 years’ laser cutting experience, with support from leading material supplier Modulor. The Modulor name is well known in Germany – creators like you have been using the site to source materials for more than 20 years.

A glimpse into the future

The German hub is a departure from our existing making hubs in the USA and New Zealand which are owned and operated by us.

Formulor is 100% independent of Ponoko. This means the pricing is different, the materials catalog is different, and the business terms are different. And in this case, your package of goodies will be delivered from Formulor, not Ponoko.

Over time, we see our role expanding to be about connecting creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers of goods rather than simply providing manufacturing services ourselves. This means others like Formulor will join the Ponoko network to be suppliers of digital making services going forward, rather than just Ponoko.

So just like eBay provides the marketplace for buyers and sellers to engage, Ponoko provides the world’s first marketplace for buyers and sellers of product designs – and now digital making services.

We’re working with other digital making service providers to add more making hubs around the world. It’s about making it easier for you to get things made, no matter where you, or your customers, are in the world.

Updates to Ponoko

Existing users will notice a few changes when you log onto your MyPonoko account. Expect another post very soon explaining the nuts and bolts of those changes and how to get your stuff made and sent from Germany. If you can’t wait, log in now and follow your nose to change your making hub to Formulor in Germany. You’ll find the changes to accommodate the new hub are fairly self-explanatory.

You’ve got a good reason to choose Germany now

Check out the new shipping rates to Germany and the EU!

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das ist wunderbar.

While I’m very happy that we finally have a EU hub, and will be using it, I’m very dissatisfied by one thing. I logged into my account and was greeted with this: “IMPORTANT NOTE: Prime is for orders made at the NZ and US making hubs only. Prime does not apply to orders made at any other making hub (e.g. Germany).” I have supported Ponoko from the beginning, paying my monthly fee because I believe in the system and was willing to wait until we had a EU hub to realize my discounts and advantages of having a Prime account. If I had known (or if it was even hinted at) that it would not apply to any other making hub, I would have never signed up for Prime in the first place, since the only place that I will be making things at is the Germany hub (I live in Italy.) It seems that there should be some sort of sharing of that Prime fee with other hubs, rather than restricting your most loyal customers to just two hubs, unfortunately ones very far away from me. If this policy is not likely to be changed, I’ll be canceling my Prime account immediately, as I just don’t see the reason of continuing to spend what amounts to a $22 donation to Ponoko with no benefits.

Hi Keith,
Thank you so much for your feedback – I’m very sorry that this exciting news was accompanied by disappointment when you discovered Prime is not able to be used with non-Ponoko-owned hubs.
As we signal in the blog post above, what has made this move into the EU possible is joining forces with the fantastic team at Formulor. The result of this is naturally that we can connect you to their fabrication service, but we do not own or operate it. The fact we do own and operate the hubs in NZ and the USA allowed us to create the Prime subscription for use with them (it did not exist when we first began).
A Prime-style account is not out of the question for Non-Ponoko-owned hubs in the future, but there will not be one offered at Formulor’s Germany hub immediately.
I’ll drop you an email tomorrow with a bit more context and to discuss your best course of action with your existing Prime account.
Thanks again for taking the time to explain your position as a European Prime Member. I’ll be sure to share your feedback with both our team and the one at Formulor.

Although I share your concern Keith, especially if this is how Ponoko sees itself expanding into the future, I believe that it will be counter-weighed as more people get laser cutters of their own. For the general public, Ponoko (and their affiliates) have a vital role but having different materials, pricing and shipping rates at different hubs doesn’t lead to a very efficient “global manufacturing” model once you have more than a few dozen product offerings.

I’m happy to keep supporting Ponoko with my Prime membership regardless. They do a lot more than cut stuff, they also promote the idea that laser cut items are cool and help the entire concept gain traction in the world of mass produced plastic junk.

I hope they keep expanding (hopefully offering perks to us Prime guys and gals) while at the same time, help to growth the marketplace for us designer of laser cut products.

Jon @

Yikes! Just plugged my design into my account and the making has gone up from roughly $46 to $176, as Prime is not applicable!! Even if my order takes the scenic route from New Zealand to get to Spain, stopping off for a boozy weekend in Las Vegas (including ticket to see Barbra Streisand in concert), it probably wouldn’t come to that price difference in the shipping costs!

There is not much of a “saving” still when shipping to the UK:

Destination USA NZ Germany
United Kingdom $59.90 $24.40 $22.49

I’m very very disapointed 🙁

I am happy Ponoko is here in Europe, but yet sad about Prime.

But let’s remember, Prime didn’t exsist for the first year in NZ or USA either 🙂

I am really excited that the new hub opened in Berlin! AWESOME. GO GERMANY GO! But I am disapointed as well that I can’t use Prime over there.. 🙁

Thanks to all of you for your comments.
I’ve put together a bit more context for you over on in the comments of the “Come and Get It” blog post. I hope it helps to clarify a few things.

Hithis is great, when are you expanding to Africa? 🙂

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