6 resources to get you started on a lasercut cardboard project

rocketships, sliceforms, perfect packaging, and file optimization

We’re throwing our second Prototyping Party and giving away FREE cardboard for the rest of the month when you make something with Ponoko.

To give you some design ideas we put together a post of 20 inspirational designs made from cardboard.

With just two a little over two weeks left on this promotion, it’s time to get down to business. So here are 6 resources to get you started.

1. Josh’s Rocketship


Our community support saint Josh Judkins designed this cardboard rocketship in Adobe Illustrator and then lasercut it in 4mm single layer cardboard.

If you’re new to digital making with Ponoko AND new to Adobe Illustrator, I would really encourage you to try making this pre-designed file.

It will give you a feel for what a design file should look like, an introduction to using Ponoko, and most importantly you’ll get to see how awesome it is to get a physical thing in the mail from something that started as a computer file. Download the Cardboard Rocketship for free here and give it a whirl.


2. 7 tips on optimizing your design file for lower costs

We asked our in-house masters of digital making to share their tips for optimizing a design file to result in the lowest possible costs. Read what Josh J, Dan, Catherine, Yana, and Josh R. have to say about optimizing files for lasercutting.


3. A guide to lasercut line optimization


Ponoko blogger and maker David McGahan puts those optimization tips into action with this excellent demonstration of how to set up your design file for much lower costs. His example saved him around 40% in making costs.


4. Packing products beautifully and on a budget


If you think you don’t have a use for cardboard, think about using it as a great way to package your products.

With lasercutting, you can create perfectly fitting packaging inserts to hold your product designs — as shown in this post about packing your products attractively and inexpensively.


5. A package design that needs no glue


Designing your own package can be tricky; there’s a lot to consider. Learn from Yana as she walks you through the making of this package design meant to effectively protect a jar of delicious jam.


6. Creating lasercut 3D forms with slice form software


The easiest way to turn flat pieces like lasercut cardboard into 3D shapes is to use slice forms. By layering your pieces you can create space and depth and 3D shapes.

And guess what? There’s software that will create the slice forms for you. This Ponoko forum post talks about two plugins for SketchUp. There’s also Autodesk 123D, available in the Ponoko App Gateway. It was used to create this crazy hand bowl.


Now that you’ve got some know-how, take a look at this roundup of 20 inspirational designs made from cardboard.

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