Electro-luminescent prayer mat glows when facing Mecca, a Kickstarter project

bringing the El Sajjadah to production

The El Sajjadah is an illuminating prayer mat by product design studio SOPDS. Using a built-in digital compass and user input of current location, the mat detects the direction of Mecca and lights up when properly oriented. The glowing pattern depicts the story of life and indicates a place for the feet and hands during prayer.

This innovative combination of technology and religion has received international attention ranging from a cover story in the UK’s T3 magazine to the International Inventor’s Fair in Kuwait to a recent exhibition and acquisition by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Encouraged by the global interest in the El Sajjadah, SOPDS members Soner, Bahadir, Ben, and Cat have launched a Kickstarter project to put his prayer mat into production and make it available to the 1.6 million+ Muslims around the world.

Rewards for project backers include both an A3 and full scale size prints, an actual El Sajjadah from the first production run, a customized version from our UK lasercutting partner RazorLAB, and the opportunity to work with designer Soner Ozenc on a completely custom electro-luminescent prayer mat.

Check out this Kickstarter video to learn more about the project and see the mat in action.

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Ohm Sweet Ohm cross-stitch

This resistor reference chart will keep your circuits cosy!

Keeping on top of those resistor values can be a bit tricky sometimes, when working on DIY electronics projects. It helps to have a handy diagram to refer to… and Becky Stern over at Adafruit Industries has a neat way to keep all that important data close by.

Harking back to the good old homely craft of cross-stitch wall hangings, she’s put together a detailed tutorial on how to make your own ye-olde resistor reference chart. Even better still, all the bits and pieces you need are available to purchase from Adafruit in a great little kit that includes the pattern, floss, needles, cloth and hoop etc. Who would have thought that DIY electronics could be this cosy?!?

Click through for a quick video of the Ohm Sweet Ohm cross-stitch reference chart.   (more…)

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Personal Factory Projects for Weddings

Plus Make Your Own wedding stuff with FREE design files!Summer is traditionally the time for weddings. Apparently, back in the day people would marry in June because that’s when they had their annual bath. Bridal bouquets have similar origins – they were used to mask body odor. Seeing that June is nearly here, and the thought of the long awaited annual bath is probably as exciting as the upcoming nuptials, it’s time to roll out some wedding ideas.

Some people dread having to attend a wedding, and if their experience has been that of banal cookie cutter ceremonies, then the sentiment is pretty reasonable. The weddings where the contents of the bar are the main highlight for most guests are a sad abomination and are especially repelling for those with a creative streak.

Often, a lavish wedding doesn’t guarantee an iota of personality, and at the dinner table you find yourself daydreaming about being let loose with a permanent marker or a box of felt pens to escape the whitewash austerity. Of course, then you’d have to answer to the mother of the bride, and you can be pretty certain that there’s a weapons arsenal hidden under her feathered hat. It’s best to keep drinking quietly, while imagining how amazing this wedding would have been had it been you designing it.

“Amazing” is exactly the type of wedding you can magically concoct with some DIY imagination, regardless of the budget. Creative genius will do more with a stack of cardboard and some string than what you’d get from an overpriced generic package. At Ponoko we regularly see designs for wedding related fabrication, and it’s fantastic to come across unique and fully personalized ideas.

Not surprisingly, the availability of digital fabrication services has translated into customised designs for weddings. While fashion design star Iris van Herpen doesn’t specifically aim to address that niche, her elaborate 3D printed dresses can certainly inspire avant-garde wedding gown design.Check out loads more wedding project ideas after the jump:


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Laser Cutting for Costume Design

And cutting time and cost of making while at itWhen Aaron Davison discovered that the Ponoko NZ hub was only walking distance from him, he was too intrigued not to try out the service.  Since then he’s been using it for al sorts of projects and experiments.  So far, Aaron has produced laser cut 2-D and 3-D costume pieces, buttons and templates from various materials.  He’s experimented with acrylics, Styrene, Bamboo Ply, Eurolite Poplar, leather and card stock.

Aaron’s material selection is guided largely by his experience as a modelmaker – something he’s been doing for years.  Now the manual making techniques he’d learned over the years have been, in most part, taken over by the digital processes, resulting in more time spent on designing and refining ideas than making.  The manual component of the process is still there, but mostly in form of finishing, such as sanding, staining and assembly.  The general outcome? It takes less time, effort and money required to produce a more polished product.Years of hobbyist prop designing have resulted in a multitude of digital files waiting to turned into physical objects.  The main obstacle to this used to be lack of access to the right tools and enough funds to transform those ideas into real things.  Now Aaron is revisiting his old designs to prepare them for production with laser cutting, 3D printing and CNC routing.

Not everything is laser cut to be the final product.  In the case of the N7 Helmet from Mass Effect, the laser cut card stock parts formed an armature that was fiberglassed on the inside and used as a base for sculpting.Read more abour Aaron’s process after the jump:


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A fashion show of 3D printed hats

3D printing on the runway.

A collection of 3D printed hats and acessories were shown on the runway as part of the Materialise World Conference in Leuven, Belgium. Well known designers Elvis Pompilio, Daniel Widrig, Niccolo Casas showed pieces in addition to the top 20 entries in Materialise’s recent “Hats Off to 3D Printing Challenge.”

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Five gorgeous Fashion & Textile posts from 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – Fashion & Textiles

More and more designers have caught on to digital fabrication over the last year, and the trend is only going to continue. The mass customization aspect has not been fully exploited yet, but eventually everything we wear will probably be unique, as it once was when goods were all hand-made.

Here are five Fashion & Textile posts from 2011 that hint at what’s to come:

1. Surprisingly beautiful laser cut t-shirts

Designer Diana Eng created an amazing line of laser cut tees that are “pretty enough to wear to work”. Maybe someday the average boutique will have its own laser cutter, to make custom laser designs on-demand like a tattoo studio.


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CNC milled wooden high heels

Using digital fabrication to explore new forms for shoes.

These experimental shoes by designer Cat Potter were shaped from solid blocks of wood with a 3-axis CNC milling machine. Afterwards, metal hinges and closures were added to make the shoe functional. The digital files were made by DotSan.

From the designer:

Using wood in conjunction with milling machines has allowed me to explore shape without being restricted by traditional shoe components like insole boards, shanks or toe and heel puffs. Using a scanned 3D model of a last has allowed me to trace the silhouette form of the foot on the inside, diffusing its profile on the outside.


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50% 3D printed weaving loom

A designer and an engineer cooperate to make a traditional tool.

Technology seems to go full circle sometimes. This beautiful loom was designed by Chilean designer Mauricio Rojas and the plastic parts were 3D printed by Erwin Ried, an engineer, on his MakerBot. So this project is one of the oldest manufacturing technologies known to humanity made with one of the newest. I love the irony.

The project is a work in progress, and the digital files are available for download on Thingiverse.

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Small Business Stories: interview with jewelry designer Kimono Reincarnate

Retail Ready with Melanie Gray Augustin

To some people, creativity is as natural as breathing or the love of freshly baked bread. Being a creative mind or a pathologically hands-on designer is one [wonderful] thing.  However, creativity doesn’t always translate successfully to business savvy. Creativity often covets freedom and experimentation, but business demands discipline and focus.  Fortunately, there are still plenty of creative entrepreneurs to inspire those with a design vision to start their own business.

In the New Year we are starting a new feature that will focus on all things small business. Don’t worry; there will be none of that tedious business school textbook material.  As part of the small biz feature, we will bring you regular interviews with Ponoko Makers who rely on Personal Factory to create their line of products, be it household objects, jewelry, electronics enclosures or other made on demand goods.

As an extra dose of pre-holiday inspiration, we’re giving you a sneak peak at the interview series!

Meet Australian jewelry designer Melanie Gray Augustin.   Her label Kimono Reincarnate perfectly expresses her design style: modern handmade jewelry that features upcycled materials – inspired by traditional Japanese textiles and design.Read the full interview after the jump:


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Challenging the Uncanny by 3D printing prosthetics

Bespoke Innovations have introduced a paradigm shift in prosthetic limbs

Bespoke innovations

Scott Summit an industrial designer formed Bespoke Innovations with Kenneth Trauner, an orthopedic surgeon in order to affect positive change in the medical prosthetic industry using 3D printing & 3D scanning. Their focus was firmly on creating a positive user experience, through customisation. More images and video after the jump… (more…)

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