Ponoko unboxing of lasercut Kickstarter rewards

Ponoko-made project by Garland West

Ever wondered what it’s like to get a shipment from Ponoko? The video shows Garland West, an artist/crafter outside of Charlotte NC, unboxing her recent lasercut order featuring a variety of materials and sheet sizes.

You can see her peeling the protective paper and popping out her designs including bamboo business cards, acrylic jewelry, and a big red octopus.

“A lot of the items you see in the unboxing video are pledge rewards for my Kickstarter project,” she says.

“I made thank you cards from cardstock, yoga pose jewelry from bamboo, and coasters out of cork.” And the octopus? “Oh, that’s not a reward. It’s a ‘clocktopus’ project I’m working on.”

(more…)

Related posts:

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.

(more…)

Related posts:

Create your own jewelry by mapping your favorite places with Meshu

Ponoko-made products from Meshu founders Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang

When Rachel first moved to San Francisco, she was looking for work and knew she wanted a job in data visualization. “I was using Twitter to find potential contacts,” Rachel says. “Sha was gracious enough to meet me for dinner, and the rest is history!”

The two of them hit it off, eventually moving in together in a sunny carriage house in the Mission. And yes, Rachel landed a great job at a design studio. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Last year, Rachel and Sha sat down in a tea house and started brainstorming ideas for a side project: something that could combine their skills in design and data visualization with their love of travel.

The result was Meshu — a web-based app that brings together data visualization and digital fabrication.

Meshu lets you design products like necklaces, earrings, and cufflinks based on the connecting lines of various places.

For example, you could create a design using your Foursquare checkins or the route you took on your epic road trip. And you could have that design turned into a pair of one-of-a-kind lasercut earrings or 3D printed cufflinks.

(more…)

Related posts:

Stylish 3D printed jewelry by Hot Pop Factory

Procedurally generated and finely-tuned

Bi-Ying and Matt with their MakerBot Replicator

Hot Pop Factory is a new 3D printed jewelry company started by architects Matt Compeau and Bi-Ying Miao. (Disclosure: they are also colleagues of mine at Site 3!)

What I love about their designs is that they’re tuned specifically for the 3D printer that they’re made on. Matt and Bi-Ying started with procedural designs in Rhino and Grasshopper, and then iterated over and over until they found the exact grain pattern that they wanted: (more…)

Related posts:

Jewelry by Black Swan Design

Victoriana of the Long White Cloud

Black Swan Designs re-emerged after the Christchurch earthquake at Mel’s post-quake office (aka home). Fortunately, outsourcing fabrication (especially when the design files are in cloud) means that even a natural disaster can’t stop the Maker wheels from turning. The Black Swan aesthetic is strongly inspired by the Victorian era – a vintage and ornate style that lends itself to traditional jewelry making techniques. However, Mel found that even with her jeweler background, creating the desired aesthetic using conventional jewelry making methods would result in the finished product being priced out of the local market.

Mel decided to try laser cutting to fabricate the Black Swan Designs line of necklaces, earrings, brooches and rings. Most of the highly detailed jewelry is cut from bamboo and black acrylic, and there are plans to introduce paper and 3D printed ceramic into the range, as a shift towards more eco-friendly materials. Once the laser cut pieces arrive at her door, Mel farewells her manicure and diligently removes the backing paper from all the tiny parts. Afterwards the pieces are painstakingly glued together, and findings are attached.A few words from the designer after the jump:

(more…)

Related posts:

Generative jewellery from Foursquare check-ins

Location check-ins crafting jewellery design

Locations can be very meaningful to people – everyone has their favourite holiday destination or memory of an amazing place they’ve visited. Jewellery designers meshu are enabling customers to personalise their jewellery by drawing location points on the globe that generate geometric patterns based on some of their favourite places. (more…)

Related posts:

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:

(more…)

Related posts:

Small Business Stories: interview with eco-jewelry designer Leslie Yang

Retail Ready with FiestyelleLeslie Yang is passionate about jewelry, eco-awareness and San Fancisco. Her jewelry line Feistyelle is yet another fantastic example that green design doesn’t have to be all brown rice and sandals, but can communicate a polished, modern aesthetic. A Ponoko regular for a number of years, Leslie was the first person to laser cut felt for jewelry. With that innovative approach to materials she has been evolving her ever-popular, wearable laser cut designs and regularly introducing new ideas.

Getting Started

• What made you decide to start your own business? I officially started feistyelle in the fall of 2005. At the time, I was pretty active on online crafty message boards, and some makers were starting to set up small businesses selling their work online and at shopping events. This was all pre-Etsy! It felt like the next, exciting step for me was to get my work out in front of a increasingly DIY-friendly public. I was making really different pieces during those first couple of years: brooches, hair clips, badges, out of needle felted wool and Japanese textiles.

• How did you decide on the jewelry direction? I’ve always loved jewelry, but it was actually serendipitious that I started making earrings. When I found out that Ponoko was offering to laser cut felt I about dorked out with excitement. I started by designing a dahlia brooch, and because I didn’t want to waste the felt, I threw in a smaller vector of the dahlia in remaining space. A co-worker wound up wanting to buy the brooch but when she saw the smaller pieces, she said she’d love them as earrings and asked if would I make her a pair. I said, “Sure!” and then walked to my local bead store and asked the shopkeeper sheepishly, “Um, how do you make earrings?” I poked around the bead shop and settled on the hoop design that I still use for the majority of our earring designs. When my co-worker wore the earrings to work, it started a stampede to my office of female coworkers asking for their own pair. I started to realize that I had a hit on my hands!

• What skills did you already have when you started your business and what did you have to learn? I’m a graphic designer so it was helpful to have experience in branding and packaging and of course design software. I did and still am learning about marketing, accounting, and all those very necessary business skills.

The important takeaway here is that you should know how to do everything but you should definitely not do every single thing yourself! I love the extra time I get by having a photographer shoot my product and model shots as well as a person handle online order fulfillment.More from Leslie after the jump:

(more…)

Related posts:

Minimising Timeframe from Idea to Product

“Form follows constrains” philosophy aids design processAlienology’s physical design output is pretty impressive.  As a designer your head space has to be perpetually filled with evolving concepts.  Time permitting, those imagined concepts become sketches or even make it to the CAD phase for rendering.  Resources permitting, a concept will result in a prototype.  However, the chances of the prototype ever becoming a product that makes it to the market are pretty negligible.

Alienology founder Igor Knezevic isn’t interested in showing half-baked concepts or even refined ideas.  Alienology portfolio consists only of products available for purchase – an outcome enabled by a commitment to minimise the time span between idea and the manufactured object. Igor has embraced on demand digital fabrication with every limb to rapidly move through a process that would have required much time and capital investment under the traditional manufacturing model.

The LA based design company embraced the Ponoko model from the onset and has used its laser cutting and 3D printing services to create numerous lighting elements, jewelry and tableware.  Igor already had experience with digifabbing technologies and had access to making facilities, but the option of an online service made it possible for him to focus on designing the products rather that concerning himself with how to make them physically.

Of course, design is never a straight forward process, and prototyping one of its integral features.  Many of Igor’s designs undergo repeated experimentation to achieve the functionality, fabrication efficiency and the desired aesthetic of the final product.  Igor has had pieces 3D printed in plastics and Stainless Steel, and for laser cut objects worked with tinted acrylics, felt and different wood materials, such as Veneer Core and Eurolite Poplar.  He makes a point of considering material quality as one of the starting points in a design, so little finishing is necessary to complete the products.  There are also some products that are designed to be spray-painted and lacquered.A few words from the designer after the jump:

(more…)

Related posts:

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.

Related posts: