10 stories of how people are using Ponoko to make amazing things

Best of the Blog 2011 – Maker Stories

2011 was the year that really started to show the potential of Ponoko as a digital making system available to the designers and makers of the world.

People were using our digital fabrication services — lasercutting, 3D printing, and CNC routing — and turning those results into absolutely fantastic things.

From machines that let regular folks sequence DNA and devices that scramble your brainwaves to works of wearable art and products that embody beauty and function, these are the top 10 Maker Stories of people making amazing things with Ponoko in 2011.

#1 The incredible folding ukulele


Origami master and MIT celeb Brian Chan created this amazing fold-up ukulele. It was a smash-hit holiday gift this season, and Chan is looking into selling the design files as well as the lasercut kits and assembled instruments.

#2 Waratah 3D printed lamp


Syndney based lighting design company SandFlora designed a stunning lamp based on the waratah flower of Australia. 3D printing was used to fabricate the design which is composed of over 1000 individual petals.

#3 The Brainwave Disruptor


Ponoko blog contributor Rich Decibels of Wellington, New Zealand developed the Brainwave Disruptor which scrambles brainwaves with specifically engineered flashing lights and pulsating audio. He housed his Arduino based device in a custom lasercut case.

#4 Laser engraved and hand-inked artwork


This original series of geometric artwork by Marietta, Georgia techie Otto Gunther is a great example of quality craftsmanship. These professional results come from combining the machine technique of laser-engraving with his own meticulous hand labor.

#5 The high art of digitally fabricated design


Atlanta based designer Kevin Byrd demonstrates how 3D printing can be used to repair a broken object and in doing so create something entirely new. The Femur Table sits on it’s original 3 wooden legs plus a stylized version of a leg bone.

#6 3D printing a steady cam for the iPhone


Chiara Gasparetto of Design Human Colectiv, a metro-Miami based design firm, speaks about the concept and creation behind the iPhone steady cam.

#7 Algorithmically designed jewelry


Based on the Biophilia Hypothesis, these organic looking jewelry designs from Paul Krix of Canberra, Australia aren’t so much designed as they are programmed. The leafy vein forms of each piece are generated by an algorithm.

#8 3D printed jewelry = wearable flora


Colleen Jordan of Atlanta has created some wonderfully original and absolutely charming works of wearable art flora. Her 3D printed plant vessel jewelry line is hand finished and truly one-of-a-kind.

#9 An open-source DIY DNA kit


“DNA stuff useful to regular people,” that’s how co-founder Tito Jankowski describes the idea behind Open PCR — an open-source DNA sequencing kit. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and a presentation at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, the Open PCR kit, complete with a lasercut housing, is now available as one of the least expensive PCR machines out there.

#10 Lasercut sculptures of nearly impossible geometry


Complex mathematical designs are given shape in these lasercut sculptures by Blake Courter of Boston. Courter says of the project, “[it] aims to subdivide space with developable surface forms that do not have obvious 2D representations, discretized in ways that hint at the underlying nature of the geometry.”

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