Dapper DIY — make your own bow ties!

Ponoko-made project by Jay Thomson

Jay Thomson wears a bow tie to work every day. “[People] get a kick out of seeing them, and they often will strike up a conversation with me about my tie. They’re always amazed when they find out I make many of the ties I wear,” Jay writes on his website Lavaguy.com

He wanted to wear a different tie every day, but between his day job of managing the gift store at The Barnes Foundation museum, painting beautiful abstractions, and designing fabric patterns, he was having a hard time finding the hours it took to make a single tie.

So Jay decided to find a way to streamline the bow tie making process. He designed 7 different tie shapes and used Ponoko’s laser cutting service to create acrylic templates (shown in action in the photo above).


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2012 Holiday Gift Guide — from $5 to $1500

Ponoko-made presents!

Our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide features a range of jewelry, home decor, gadgets, and holiday goodies all made by our creative customers.

We’ve featured gifts to fit any budget, from $5 moustache earbud wraps to custom computers starting at $259. Whether you’re looking for something for a geek, biker, gamer, crafter, hostess, or girlie girl, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to see the 32 products featured or jump to our Holiday Gift Guide on Pinterest.


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3D printed shoe based on bird’s skull

Fashion meets biomimicry.

3D printed shoes seem to be becoming something of a trend recently. Biomimicry has been a growing trend in design for the last couple decades, so it’s probably inevitable that someone would combine the two methods. As inevitable as it may be in hindsight, it’s still a fascinating project.

This 3D printed shoe by Dutch fashion designer Marieka Ratsma and American architect Kostika Spaho adds an interesting twist; the form is based on the skull of a bird. The front of the shoe is the cranium, and the spike heel is the beak. The bone’s of birds are extremely lightweight, which helps the shoe achieve maximum strength with a minimum of material.

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Performance enhancing 3D prints!

Footwear for sprinters made with selective laser sintering

With the London 2012 Olympics not far away, the world’s attention will soon be drawn to the spectacle of elite athletes competing for glory. London based French designer and engineer Luc Fusaro has recently designed a pair of prototype 3D printed footwear to give sprinters the edge, for his masters degree final solo project at the Royal College of Art.

The shoes are designed at least in part by the athlete’s themselves. Using 3D scans of a sprinter’s feet Fusaro is able to personally customise the shoes to match the exact contours and form of every athlete’s foot. Fusaro based the design in part on research conducted by Dr Daniel Toon from Loughborough University’s Sports Technology and Additive Manufacturing Research Group.

“Scientific investigations have shown that tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve performance by up to 3.5%, when an improvement of 0.7% can already make a significant difference in a sprinter’s chance of winning a particular race.” (more…)

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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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