Solidworks to Ponoko via Solidsmack

Beaten to the Post
Ok, so maybe this is something Ponoko should have posted a while back but Josh at Solidsmack has just posted a great article on his blog How To Go from a SolidWorks 3D Part to Ponoko – Fast

A perfect step by step guide for Solidworks users to get their designs in to the Ponoko workflow.
The only addition is to double check all the colors you’re using match the required RGB values – this is probably easiest done before converting the lines to 0.003mm as they tend to be hard to see after that point in Illustrator.

Big thanks to Josh Mings….

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As a solid works user who was the prime target for Solidsmack’s article (I not only design flat pack furniture, but give some of the designs away free on my site) I have been frustrated by the lack of easy translation from Solidworks to Ponoko. The fact is, though, that most people who are Solidworks users are unfortunately unfamiliar with Ponoko. Ponoko is a populist movement geared towards bringing manufacturability to the the masses. Most designers trained in Solidworks are designers who’s positions are dependent on them being the only access to manufacturability.

While technology will continually move towards bringing design to the public from skilled —though possibly “untrained”— designers, the establishment (of which I am, at this point, a part) is entirely geared towards participating in a specific process before people can design: go to school, do your time as a CAD or 3D “monkey”, become a designer… if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, Solidworks, especially due to it’s solid modeling (vs surface modeling which is more common among non-industrial designers) nature and price, is not a common program for the undirected (read: didn’t go through design school) designer to learn.

Until our system for design is focused towards merit-based design and not towards those who play the system well, there is likely not going to be a large cross-over between Solidworks designers and Ponoko designers. I can certainly understand why Solidworks was not one of the priorities of Ponoko. That said, Solidsmack’s article was worthwhile to a small percentage of us and I promise that within 10 days, I will have some of my CNC designs available on Ponoko.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this, Jeffrey – there is a lot of food for thought here. I’ve just been having a look at some of the fantastic CNC designs on your site, and look forward to seeing them on Ponoko. If you require any help with our system, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how we might move toward a system focused on merit-based design?

Hi Josh,
I think the solidworks translation is perfect for university/trade students who do not have access to a laser cutter at university, and wish to forgo the $75 file reading charge that most laser cutters charge.

as far as merit based design goes, I guess if there was a search filter based on most sales, highest rated, positive feedback etc? that may at least point towards the more popular designs. But often more popularity and quality are not the same.(he says citing the case of top 40 music charts).

Thanks Jeffery, I quite like The Mod also and look forward to seeing your designs in the Ponoko Showroom

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