Ponoko on the radio

NPR gives us some love

This past weekend, NPR (National Public Radio) aired a story about digital fabrication with a focus on 3D printing. Ponoko’s own Rich Borrett was interviewed and does a great job explaining CNC routing. Our friends at SketchChair were also interviewed as well as mentions for Shapeways and 100kGarages.

Listen to it or read the transcript. It’s great to see our work and community getting this kind of attention.

Piccolo tiny CNC platform

Pocket-sized printing at a suitably tiny price

Even with the various DIY kits and systems available these days, the costs involved can be prohibitive for new enthusiasts trying to get set up with quality CNC equipment. But not for long…

The Piccolo CNC platform is a pocket-sized stand-alone device that will soon be available for under $70. This diminutive laser-cut wonder is capable of more than just plotting graphic designs. It includes Arduino and Processing libraries that enable the device to move autonomously or respond to sensors and data. Multiple Piccolo plotters can be programmed to work together to create large scale outcomes, and the platform is also just right for further experimentation in either 2D or 3D fabrication.

Piccolo is being developed by Diatom (who you may remember from the wildly successful SketchChair project) in a collaboration with Cheng Xu and Huaishu Peng from the CoDe Lab.

We are currently refining the Piccolo prototype into an open-source design that is simple, quick to assemble, and easy to use, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.

Click through for a perky little demo clip of the Piccolo CNC-bot in action.   (more…)

CEO David ten Have announces Personal Factory™ 5

Making apps & CNC routing are here!


Today I can proudly and confidently say that Ponoko is at the leading edge of the digital making industry.

From day one, we envisioned Ponoko creating a platform that would change the rules on who was able to make things and the way things were made.

This goal is being achieved by connecting a network of people who want to design and customize their own products with a network of digital manufacturing technologies that can make products on-demand closest to the point of consumption.

Today Ponoko expands both of these networks with the release of Personal Factory 5.

Personal Factory 5 is the biggest advancement of the Personal Factory platform since we launched in 2007, and in a moment you’ll see I mean that literally. :- )

The 5th release of our platform gives a larger group of people the ability to create their own products in more ways.

I’m talking about apps. More specifically, ‘making apps’… (more…)

Personal Factory™ App Gateway brings you ‘making apps’ to design & create custom goods

The world’s easiest making system just got a whole bunch easier.

Announcing the all-new Personal Factory App Gateway, a directory of ‘making apps’ for creative consumers to design, customize and make individualized goods.

And it’s where app developers can create and distribute their ‘making apps’ without the need to invest in the required digital, manufacturing and distribution infrastructure.

The App Gateway is perfect for non-designers

This is where you find, customize, and make your custom goods — clothing, home ware, lighting, jewelry, furniture, toys, electronics, car parts, and much more.

You do not need 2D or 3D software design skills.

You just search the directory for the product you want to customize, choose it’s size, color and materials, then click ‘Make it’.

All apps are quality assured, so you know you’ll get a quality experience.

The App Gateway is also for designers

If you prefer to work with 2D and 3D design software, this is where you’ll find market leading product design apps you can use to make things.

You can use these apps to create customizable product designs for non-designers to start from.

Awesome apps coming soon! (more…)

World’s largest wooden structure

Slots and grooves on a truly grand scale

Looking like something from the dreams (or nightmares?) of the guys at SketchChair, this enormous $162 million pavilion in Spain is a sight to behold.

It’s the Metropol Parasol, designed by Jurgen Mayer H. Architects for the historic medieval district of the city of Seville. Towering above an archeological museum, the world’s largest wooden structure also houses restaurants, shops and tourist facilities. Eager sightseers can even access the canopy via a winding terrace that offers spectacular views of the city.

Click through for more from Fernando Alda and David Franck’s collection of striking images. (more…)

SketchChair on Kickstarter: Update

Introducing the rocking stool

With only a few days to go in the SketchChair Kickstarter campaign, pledges and support continue to flow in for the team at Diatom.

Recent updates from Greg and Tiago have introduced the Rocking Stool, which will become one of the options for those generous souls pledging $300 to the cause.

This playful, dynamic piece of furniture emerged out of a collaboration with Nadeem Haidary and Defne Civelekoglu, and joins the SketchChair collection along with the friendly SketchChair Minis that have been designated as rewards for more modest pledges of $25.

Cut from 18mm birch ply, Nadeem and Defne’s rocker is yet another example of the breadth and versatility promised by the SketchChair system.

If you like what you see, there are still a few days remaining to put your money where your mouth is…

Rocking Stool via SketchChair Kickstarter Updates

1 week left to enter — I Want It Customized! contest

Win a full size CNC chair or laser cut miniatures from SketchChair!

We know there’s got to be some product that you really wish you could customize. And we want to hear your ideas.

We’ve got over 30 great ideas so far, and you’ve got seven days left to vote on your favorites and tell us what product you would love to customize.

The 3 ideas with the most votes will win prizes from our pals at SketchChair.
1st prize: full size CNC Antler chair
2nd prize: full set of 5 lasercut miniature chairs
3rd prize: one lasercut miniature chair

I Want It Customized! contest — Tell us what product you would love to customize!

Win neat-o prizes from SketchChair!

UPDATE: Thanks so much for all of your awesome ideas! We’ll be contacting the winners soon.

In the meantime, you can see who won and check out all the ideas HERE.

The world of cookie cutter products is fading fast, but there’s still a lot of stuff out there that needs to be customizable.

And we were just kind of wondering…
What product do you really wish you could customize?

Your idea could score you a supercool CNC cut chair or some lasercut miniatures from our friends at SketchChair.
(more…)

Using CodeThread to create 3D objects

Programmatically generate GCode of 3D objects for your 3D printer
CodeThread example 1

Diatom Studio, the folks responsible for the SketchChair project that’s been mentioned here before, have created a neat library for Processing called CodeThread. It can be used not just for making objects, but for developing new styles of printing. As Diatom says on the CodeThread page on Thingiverse:

“One of the things we love about makerbot in contrast to commercial printers is that you have complete control over every aspect of the print technique. We think there is a lot of opportunity to develop new printing styles with makerbots, beyond traditional solid prints.

We wanted to experiment with the materiality of makerbot prints by working directly in gcode with processing, so we made this small library that provides some simple functions for generating gcode commands, and prints a gcode file.”

Here’s how you can try CodeThread for yourself:

  1. Download and install Processing
  2. Download and install CodeThread
  3. Run CodeThread
    • - Open your processing-1.2.1 folder and run processing.exe (or the appropriate executable for your platform).
    • - Click File –> Open and navigate to “processing-1.2.1-expert\processing-1.2.1\libraries\codethread\examples\simpleCube”
    • - Open simpleCube.pde and click the Run icon in the toolbar

You should see a new window called simpleCube that renders this output:

CodeThread example 2

Each time you run the simpleCube script it will overwrite code01.txt in its own folder with the newest version of the GCode.

From here you can begin reading the documentation,or start messing with the script in the main window and see what alterations you can make!


Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts on the Ponoko blog every Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

SketchChair: 90% and counting

Kickstarter campaign soars towards funding goal

The rate of support for SketchChair’s Kickstarter campaign has been something to behold. Over 90% of the funding goal has already been pledged, and there are still four weeks remaining in the campaign.

Not only has the enthusiasm for SketchChair been building as people put their money where their mouth is, but Greg & Tiago have also been working away on new chair designs as they refine their nifty creative system. The above sketch is from Defne Civelekoglu, who together with Nadeem Haidary has been collaborating to further expand the SketchChair range.

True to their design democratisation roots, the guys continue to post updates that keep contributors informed of where SketchChair is heading; as well as answering questions and expressing their appreciation (and excitement!) on a regular basis.

Read what they have to say, and see a few more sketches over on Kickstarter.