Personal Factory Projects for Mother’s Day

Plus Make Your Own Mom Presents with FREE design files!

Mother’s Day is only a couple of weeks away, so we have some creative inspiration and gift ideas to get you on the path to becoming your mother’s favourite child. Few admonitions are as cutting as “I am disappointed in you” coming from your mom. Make sure you make her something wonderful this year, or at least buy her something unique that doesn’t come from a mall.

Personal ornamentation is often a popular option. Gilded Butterflies are a range of one off fluttering pendants that are as individually unique as each butterfly’s wing pattern. The pendants are laser cut out of bamboo plywood and laminated with real butterfly wings. Feisty Elle offers an impressive variety of intricately cut bamboo and 100% wool felt jewellery, with the dahlias being so well recognised that they are now being plagiarised around the world. Plagiarism is not cool. Colleen Jordan’s 3D printed miniature wearable planters are infinitely customisable by whatever is planted inside, and they are also available in different shapes and colours.

Jewelry needs somewhere to be stored. Harbinger Co don’t just make jewellery, but also create beautiful boxes for all that loot. You may be already the apple of your mother’s eye, but chances are that there are some other family members that your mom is fond of. Such as the dog or the goldfish. Familial pride and joy is best displayed photographically, in a picture frame, such as the flower one by BEDA Design Inc. You know you’re not doing your mom proud if the goldfish gets the middle flower. On the topic of furry and scaly friends, Pepper Sprout Designs make animal themed trivets amongst many other home gifts. These are laser cut from 100% wool felt.

Your mom will hopefully be happy to see your smiling face, and should that grimace require additional illumination, a lamp could be very useful. Alienology create different types of lighting, including the Bloom Table Lamp that is laser cut from Eurolite plywood. Jenny Keate’s fluffy Luminant lamp is made from a combination of wool and laser cut plywood. It has the softness of a sheep without any of the annoying bleeting. Another home frienly idea of mum is a Decoy Lab clock made from Earth friendly bamboo and adorned with a forest-full of cute animals.

The best gift is the one made by you, and we’re here to help facilitate the opportunity by providing FREE design files that you can download, customise and make with Ponoko. The Tulip Vase is designed to be flat packed and easily assembled with minimal components. All you need is a glass test tube to put water and flowers in and to give the vase structure, so no glue is required. If made from plywood or MDF, the parts can be painted, waxed or varnished, and there are a few finishing options for both US and NZ materials. The Ball of Stars by Dizingoff is designed as a 3D printed art object that can be made into a light with an addition of an LED. Mother’s Day is usually accompanied by a greeting card, so this is no exception. The Lace Card is designed specifically for cardstock, which is the Ponoko promotional material until the end of April – design something to be laser cut from cardstock and you could win a neat piece of technology. We even have a tutorial on how to use laser cutting to make greeting cards.

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Parametric voronoi bookshelf

An experiment in interactive generative design

Voronoi shelf

Inspired by the likes of Nervous System, Alan Rorie of Hero Design has created a generative software bookshelf application with Processing based on the voronoi pattern algorithm. The software allows users to determine variables such as overall size, shape and depth and then automatically generates the appropriate 3D geometry which can also be flattened and saved as a PDF in 2D for cutting out via the selected production process i.e. laser/waterjet cutting or CNC routing.generative (more…)

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Free Universal Construction Kit — 3D printable adapters connect all your toy building sets together!

the latest project from Free Art & Technology

Check this OUT: The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of nearly 80 unique pieces designed to connect with 10 different building toys.

Each piece in the kit can be freely downloaded in STL format from Thingiverse. And that of course means that each piece can be 3D printed!

The kit is compatible with Lego®, Duplo®, Fischertechnik®, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, K’Nex®, Krinkles®, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoy®, Zome®, and Zoob®.

The adorable video below reveals the inspiration behind the kit as four-year-old Z explains “My thing is, I’m trying to make a carrr…”
(more…)

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Fritzing: an open-source community for DIY electronics

Learn, build, document, fabricate, share…

Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing.

I got introduced to Fritzing through a tipoff on the Ponoko User’s Forum and all I can say is ‘wow!’ It’s an amazing tool to support people all the way from their first taste of electronics to final production of their own designs.

Check it out!

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Super cool 3D printed wire stripper

Nifty design on Thingiverse

This 3D printed wire-stripper design is pure genius: when the razor blades come in contact with the wire, the LED comes on to tell you that you’ve cut deep enough. It’s simple yet brilliant applications like this that get me excited about the utility of hobby printers, and the power of Thingiverse to allow these cool ideas to spread.

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Free 3D Software from DAZ

Digital Art Zone now offering free downloads

It can be pretty costly to set yourself up with 3d modelling software, particularly when you’re after the good stuff.

So you can imagine the buzz that’s followed DAZ 3D’s recent release of three of their major titles as free downloads for all to enjoy.

Modelling human figures? DAZ Studio Pro will sort you out.
Landscapes and environmental animations? Bryce 7 Pro has it covered.
And the one that has us talking here at Ponoko… 3D models both for rendering/animation and ready to export as .stl files? Hexagon does this and more.

To purchase this software suite from the Digital Art Zone would once have left you on the nasty side of $800, but for a limited time full version downloads are completely free.

Now all that’s left is to fire up your imagination…

Digital Art Zone

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Remote controlled flying people

It’s a bird… it’s a plane…  it’s an RcSuperhero!

The Ponoko connection may be tenuous, but I’m going for it anyway. These remote controlled flying people are simply awesome.

The above clip was put together as a part of a viral marketing campaign for the film Chronicle, but don’t let that deter you if you’re keen to take to the skies yourself.

Downloadable PDF plans are available from RcSuperhero that you can send to your favourite laser cutting service; or you can get a head start and buy the laser cut foam, sub-structure and various parts in kit form. And then what? Simply whack in the required electronics and soon you’ll be launching your own human-shaped glider into the sky.

It must be quite a sight to behold in the flesh. What a brilliant idea.

via ubergizmo

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A primer on 3D printing

2012 may be the year of 3D printing: Lisa Harouni on TED

We may be preaching to the converted, but for those who still aren’t convinced (or maybe even aren’t aware) of just how exciting 3D printing is, this recent TED talk gives a neat overview.

The speaker is Lisa Harouni, CEO of Digital Forming. Having specialised for a number of years pioneering software development for 3D printing applications, she is well placed to convince even the most sceptical of viewers that we are indeed on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution.

via TED


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The Pirate Bay now lets you download physical objects

introducing Physibles

The world’s larget BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay, has just announced the addition of a new category of downloadable files — Physibles.

Physibles are described as “data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical.” And it’s The Pirate Bay’s belief that “the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form.”

They are talking here of course about digital files that can be sent to fabrication equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, Jacquard looms and so on. And with the continued improvement of such technology and it’s increasing adoption, The Pirate Bay believes that “You will download your sneakers within 20 years.”

Physibles is currently classified as Other in the line up of available torrents: Audio, Video, Applications, Games, and Other, but perhaps one day we’ll see the addition of Objects to the main categories.

We mentioned the possibility of The Product Bay two years ago, and today it’s officially happening. “We’re thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay – but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we’ll download one,” concludes today’s announcement. (I’ve taken the liberty of throwing one together.)

Although there exist a handful of sites to find downloadable product files, including them in such a hugely popular file sharing site is a significant step in the personal fabrication movement. And just the beginning of what could make 2012 the year of the product design copyright fight.

via @golan via @bre

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OpenVSP: parametric aircraft modelling tool

NASA embraces the open-source philosophy

NASA kicked off this year by greatly expanding their commitment to open source, launching their new site code.nasa.gov:

Ultimately, our goal is to create a highly visible community hub that will imbue open concepts into the formulation stages of new hardware and software projects, and help existing projects transition to open modes of development and operation

Some of the projects they’ve opened up are way over my head, but the one that caught my eye is OpenVSP:

OpenVSP is a parametric aircraft geometry tool. OpenVSP allows the user to create a 3D model of an aircraft defined by common engineering parameters. This model can be processed into formats suitable for engineering analysis.

How cool is that? Maybe you don’t have access to an aerospace facility, but with this tool you can invent your own far-out aircraft designs and print out the models in 3D from your Personal Factory.

[Someone should make an app for that...]

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