Avoid Scale FAIL with Free Prototyping

My first Ponoko mess-up and how I could have avoided it…
Scale FailLEFT: result of my original design. | RIGHT: what it was meant to look like.

Yes that’s right – I managed to make a TINY unreadable business card (about the size of a Mahjong tile) as a result of using the wrong Units when I was designing it. Suffice to say, Pixels do not equal Millimeters.

I console myself that this age of rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing allowed me to discover my mistake quickly and with minimal expense. Not like the $327.6 million which went down the drain due to improper Unit conversion with the Mars Climate Orbiter.

However, I could have easily spotted the mistake before even uploading my design. I now know that I could have prototyped my design at (virtually) zero cost to myself, using equipment available in my own home.

I could have printed out my design on paper.
Avoid Scale FailSo next time you’re uncertain whether your design is too detailed, if you’ve left enough room to fit chain through a hole, or if you want to see how large your Ponoko business cards will turn out…

Print it out at 100% Scale and make your first prototype FREE.

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Ha ha ha!! That’s so great! Thanks for sharing. You should totally post this at CraftFail. 🙂

What I learned from my mistakes is that your model can be 99.5% perfect, but that one little 0.5% part that is a few mm off will screw the rest of it up.

This is why I check my stuff several times across 3 programs, it catches a lot of mistakes though they have dropped significantly as I continue to learn from them.

Jon @ WoodMarvels.com

nice one
Remember my $800 stainless steel trivet

I had actually missed that story, Duann – ouch!

@Duann, your fail reminds me of the miniature Stonehenge in “Spinal Tap.”

oh Josh, you could have learnt from my mistake… I haven’t.

Heather, allot of similarities with spinal tap, it truly was a gut sinking disappointment when I first saw them, and I was wearing lycra and leather at the time….

Paul Wujek

Hmm, just tried it, the 0.003mm blue cut lines are just barely visible, and sometimes fade out, from my HP ink-jet printer.

Your scale FAIL post has inspired me to share a recent ponoko fail of my very own.

Paul – good point there. In the instance above I was using Illustrator which makes allowances for the display and printing of very thin stroke weights. My reccomendation for using Inkscape is to leave your line weights wider until you’re ready to save your final design and upload – even 0.1mm will print and appear fine on screen when zoomed out. Then just make sure you reduce them back to 0.003mm before adding them to your Ponoko account.

Josh – Fantastic, thanks for sharing your recent fail too! Oddly enough I’m almost convinced by that description to go ahead and make some…

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