The Ponoko 10-day Jewelry Design Challenge

Body adornment dates back 30,000 years. It serves as a way to communicate our personal identity to the world and has a physical and emotional relationship to our bodies.

Your challenge is to create inspired and evocative jewelry on a laser cutter — within 10 days!

You can treat material in a variety of ways using a laser-cutter. You can cut shapes and mark patterns on the surface. You can create a single 2D piece or something more complex assembled from a number of parts.

Laser surface treatments can be a graphic in nature or a texture. There are infinite possibilities for treating the surface of a material to add value and interest.

Jewelry need not be 2D. You could make 3D jewelry using layers of material 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 $10,000 in prizes

Up for grabs:

* Open round
o The designers of the top 25 entries get their product made for free — that’s materials, making and shipping
o Plus they’ll be invited to submit their entry into the final round

* Invitation round
o The top 10 designs win US$300 cash
o Plus there’s an additional Grand Prize of US$1,000 cash for the overall winner

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 hooks, chains, clasps, pins etc (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:

1) Open Round: Submit your product design idea

The first round will be judged on a graphic representation and a description of your idea. Entries will be accepted between 1 March 2008 and 10 March 2008.

Here’s how: Upload images of your idea into your MyPonoko account. 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. (See “How to enter” below for more information about submitting your design.)

2) Invitation Round: Submit your finished product

If your design is selected among the top 25 entries, we will make it and ship it to you free of charge. We will also invite you to enter your design in the final round. Entries for this round close on 28 March 2008.

The final round will be judged on photos and text description of your completed product.

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
3. Originality
4. Presentation and photography
5. Interesting use of material(s)
6. Attention to detail
7. Production feasibility

How to enter

Open Round is from March 1st to 10th 2008, you’ve got 10 days!

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 “Competition1Open”

The key here is getting your idea across. 3D sketches and photos of cardboard models are great ways to show what something will look like.

Remember, your entry must be submitted between March 1 and March 10 2008. 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!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to entering the Open Round

What happens next?

Monday 17 March 2008: We announce the winners of the Open Round

Congratulations! The top 25 entries into the Open Round will be made and shipped for free and go through to the final round.

Friday 21 March 2008: We will have delivered the top 25 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.

Friday 28 March 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. The tag “Competition1Finalist”

Tip: 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.

Monday March 31st 2008 – We announce the winners of the Invitation Round

Congratulations! The top 10 finalists will win US$300 and the grand prize winner will receive US$1,000.

See the following page for important details on Competition Terms & Conditions (including details on your intellectual property & copyright and competition eligibility).

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

37 Responses to “The Ponoko 10-day Jewelry Design Challenge”

  1. sue Says:

    this is so tempting
    I have about 4 different ideas in my head and now i’ll have to actually get round to creating them

  2. Steven Says:

    Can’t wait to see them Sue.

  3. Jessica Says:

    Can we submit things we’ve designed and made on a laser cutter previously but not submitted to Ponoko, does it need to have been designed during the 10 day challenge?

  4. Verica Says:

    I am definitely sending you something!

  5. open source product design news » ponoko jewelry design challenge Says:

    […] so, hard competition for jewelry designer, ponoko makes it easy to customice your bling. now they make it even more affordable. i’ve your design is good enough you might make it under the top 25 of their design challenge and get your jewelry produced for free, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the trouble. […]

  6. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] With the recent announcement of our very big Jewelry Design Competition I thought I’d share which pieces that I already like that are up on Ponoko. If they are any indication of the kind of entries we can expect then I’m glad I’m not one of the judges, it’s going to be tough to pick a winner. […]

  7. sue Says:

    is it ok if we get our designs made ourselves?
    or does being part of the competition mean we need to wait?

    now i’ve designed things, i want to make them now

  8. Ben Arent Says:

    I have a really interesting mass personalized one for this one…

  9. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] Michael Berman, Senior VP/CTO of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena sent this in – a poster up on the wall of the Ponoko 10-Day Jewelry Design Challenge. […]

  10. Natalia Says:

    Good luck to every one!

  11. Lise Says:

    Hello, this is really exciting! I have about a million ideas running in my head right now…
    Assuming I get them on paper and uploaded before march 10th, how many entries can everyone submit?

  12. Steven Says:

    Hi Lise,

    You can submit as many designs as you like but we do request that if you submit multiple designs, they must be unique. Please don’t just submit iterations of the same design.

  13. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] We’ve just passed midnight on the 1st of March 2008 so the inaugural Ponoko 10-day Jewelry Design Challenge is now on! Your chance to get your jewelry designs made for free as well as winning $1000 cash is now! For full details you should check out the Design Challenge details post. I for one am really excited about seeing the creative ideas that people come up with since some of the jewelry we’ve already seen on Ponoko is very cool. […]

  14. the case of the missing camera cord « West Coast Crafty Says:

    […] I also wanted to post about something cool that my friend Jennifer Perkins just passed on: a jewelry design contest courtesy of Ponoko! […]

  15. The Ponoko 10-day Jewelry Design Challenge · Jewelry Making @ CraftGossip Says:

    […] They are currently having a jewelry design contest with over $10,000 in prizes! Check out their blog for full details.  As added incentive, my friend Jen Perkins (Naughty Secretary Club)  will be a guest judge and remember she likes her jewelry Tack-a-licious!!!! so don’t be afraid to make something big and bold! Be sure to sign up for an account, download the templates then start creating!!!! […]

  16. Make it Happen » Blog Archive » Make it Real - and open your mind Says:

    […] Make it Real – and open your mind Written by Tim Norton, discussed by No one Our friends over at Ponoko who let you make real things that get cut out of wood and plastic from your designs that you put on their website, are running a design competition, details here. One of my real good buddies Pete Black makes and designs all sorts of stuff. I’ve worked on software and web projects for a few years a while back, he’s a 3D designer and animator, makes music, and can rip apart and put back together a car engine. Last week he modelled a rotary engine and threw at and got back a little kitset Rotary Engine model. […]

  17. sue Says:

    can you submit 2 version of the same design
    I’m torn between two options for one of my designs so i’m wondering if that’s ok

  18. Steven Says:

    Hi Sue,

    Unfortunately, according to the rules: “If you submit multiple designs, they must be unique. Please don’t just submit iterations of the same design”.

    Good luck in choosing.

  19. Creative Mom Cafe » Blog Archive » Creative Speedlinking Says:

    […] The Ponoko 10-day Jewelry Design Challenge – Think you have what it takes to design jewelry? Enter this contest for a chance to win $10,000 […]

  20. muriel Says:

    Hi, I need help!! I try to upload my .eps, but I can´t. The web saids me:
    The colors in this .eps file appear to be different from the Ponoko cutting and engraving colors. Check that your document is set up to use RGB colors and not CMYK. Please check and try again.
    I check that but it´s all right, I don´t know what the problem is… I have send you a mail with the files.

  21. Lise Says:

    I have a quick technical question, as I live in europe, what time exactly is the deadline to submit a design ( in US time is fine, but I’m confused with eastern/western times)… Is it on monday at midnight?

  22. sue Says:

    will you guys be looking at the eps files in the original round, it seems silly to explain something if the file speaks for itself

  23. muriel Says:

    I think I have result my problem. I have to use and install Inkscape, but now is ok! I think…

  24. Jessica Says:

    ditto on the time question. Monday night at midnight Eastern time? or is is Sunday night?

  25. Steven Says:

    All times are USA Pacific Coast Standard Times and you will have until 11:59pm on the 10th to get your designs into the showroom.

  26. Steven Says:

    Hi Sue,

    You are up late working judging by the time of this comment! If there is nothing but the eps to look at then I’m sure the judges will look at that. But as you know they can be a little drab so the opportunity to flesh out your story is there if you want it.


  27. chi Says:

    Hi I am having technical difficulites with the showroom, I created a name for my showroom and I uploaded my eps.file and a photo no problem, but when I try to upload it to the showroom it just says error on page and done, and the page dosn’t do anything. what am i doing wrong?

  28. chi Says:

    8 hours to go to and I still can’t post my design in my showroom, tried logging in and out again, tried re-loading all my photos and eps files, turned my computer off and tried it all over again… no dice. please help.

  29. muriel Says:

    chi: Something similar happened to me and I change Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox. try!

  30. chi Says:

    tech support for ponoko is totally awesome! apparently explorer has some issues and firefox is the way to go! thank ponoko

  31. chi Says:

    murie: sorry I didn’t see your post and I wrote to tech support but I want to thank you for the tip too.

  32. Umamiblog » Blog Archive » I can never think of witty titles... Says:

    […] Woo! In a few hours our first 10-Day Design Challenge open round draws to a close. We’re experiencing quite a fantastic response. We focused on jewelry or wearable art for our first challenge and looking through the pages of entries I’m blown away with the effort people have put in. […]

  33. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] The Jewelry Design Challenge officially closed earlier this week and we’ve been madly going through the entries since then. We were ecstatic at the response and we want to thank everyone who entered. The entries are just awesome! You can check out all the wildly creative pieces of jewelry in the Ponoko Showroom. It’s amazing to see what people came up with, some are funny, others serious, some are inspired by nature and others inspired by technology, there is a mix of those who come from a craft background and others who must be very experienced as product designers. It’s obvious that the versatility of laser cutting allows people to express themselves in some exciting (and bizarre) ways. […]

  34. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] Today we’re very excited to announce that the following 25 entries have made it through to the Invitation Round of the Ponoko Jewelry Design Challenge! There were a spectacular number of creative and interesting designs, and it was VERY hard for all involved to choose just 25. Congratulations to those who have made it through and thanks to everyone who participated, we’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s creations. […]

  35. Nervous System » lily pad table Says:

    […] Our new friends Ponoko are providing the laser services for us to produce this table. We entered their jewelry competition last month and are anxiously waiting to hear the results. Jesse will also be contributing to their blog in the future. […]

  36. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] It is with great pleasure that today we announce the Invitation Round Winners of the Ponoko Jewelry Design Challenge. We’ll be emailing all winners individually but below are images and links to each design and the designers page on Ponoko. Many of the designs are now for sale so feel free to click thru and get a unique gift for yourself or someone you love. […]

  37. ReadyMade » Blog Archive » You design, Ponoko builds (plus the 10-day jewelry challenge) Says:

    […] Ready to get started? This weekend, Ponoko announced its 10-Day Jewelry Design Challenge. Here are guidelines, in brief: entries should be creatable with a laser cutter, unique and original, and made from materials from the Ponoko catalog. And be sure to pay attention to detail, consider the feasibility of production, and use interesting materials, as those elements will play a key role in distinguishing your design from the crowd. Designers who make the top 25 will have their piece manufactured for free and be invited to compete for cold hard cash in the final round. […]