Pro yo-yoer creates & demos flatpack lasercut yo-yo

Ponoko-made project by Drew Tetz

Drew Tetz is a professional yo-yoer who travels the country competing as part of the official Duncan Crew. When it’s not yo-yo time, he works as a graphic designer in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Drew has combined his design skills and yo-yo know-how to create a flatpack yo-yo with Ponoko. His design was a runner-up in the recent EvD lasercut toy design competition, and you can see him assemble and demo the yo-yo in the video below.


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Transforming robot made with 3D printed parts

Fully functional Autobot transforms from Robot to Car in seconds

A walking, bipedal robot that can transform into a sleek street car may sound like the stuff of Hollywood fiction, but visitors to the Maker Faire in Tokyo next week will be in for a treat when they encounter the Brave Robotics Transforming Robot 7.2.

The latest incarnation from these masters of automation, this 1:12 scale robot can walk around in the familiar shuffling gait of its humanoid counterparts, while shooting missiles from weaponised forearms. In a matter of seconds the robot transforms into a fully functional vehicle that can be driven around just like a standard RC toy car. Further enhancements include a wifi camera that sends a live stream from the transforming robot to a nearby tablet.

Click through for an impressive video highlighting just what this robot can do.   (more…)

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Low-Tech Factory: Animal Growth

Simple technologies enable objects to take form before your eyes

One of the gorgeous explorations from the students at ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne, Animal Growth challenges the automated production processes that most designers have come to rely on.

In Animal Growth, simple hand tools are utilised to break down the manufacturing process of expanded foam animal toys. Templates that enable an operator to cut, glue, and fill the animal form have the appearance of something much more refined than the prototyping model-shop roots that these techniques would suggest.

The Low-Tech Factory projects were recently exhibited as a part of a local design festival, and showcased six fun, unique production processes. Each project is supported by an engaging video of the process in action, where you can really get a taste for the physicality of the forms as they come to life before your eyes.

“Students look at showcasing the manufacturing process of an object, from the machine to the finished product.”

Click through to see the Animal Growth clip, and we’ve also thrown in the other quirky Low-Tech Factory videos. They’re just too good to skip over.


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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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Hummingbird is a ‘pre-Arduino’ for kids

Making it even easier to get into electronics

We all know and love Arduino, and what it has done for the rapidly growing world of DIY electronics. Yet the complexities of Arduino can be a bit much for young makers, and education enthusiast Tom Lauwers just may have the answer to harness that creativity while it is still fresh.

Heralded as a kind of “pre-Arduino”, the Hummingbird kit from Birdbrain consists of a custom controller that connects to a range of motors, sensors and lights that allow kids to build their own functional robots and more.

“…the Hummingbird controller is designed for kids who have never touched electronics or programming before.”

It’s really easy to get started making fully functional electronic devices, but don’t take our word for it. Click through to the source where Tom talks it all through in a neat clip featuring an animatronic cardboard dragon made by some 10 year old kids. Now that’s seriously fun.

Hummingbird via Engadget

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Laser-cut mechanical Donkey Kong

Complete with original NES controller!

This is amazing: Martin Raynsford combined a couple servos, switches, and ball bearings with an Arduino and a lot of laser-cutting to make a functioning electro-mechanical replica of the beloved old Donkey Kong game. Not satisfied with this awesome (and well documented) build, Martin already has plans to scrap version 1 and rebuild the game to bring in even more of the original gameplay. Genius!

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3D printed prosthetic for a stuffed animal

A new lease on life for one of society’s plushest members.

Christopher Jansen (ScribbleJ on Thingiverse) rehabilitated a 15-year-old stuffed pig with the help of 3D printing.

Subject is a 15-year old stuffed pig, whose right arm was lost to a vicious animal in a horrifying accident. Doctors carefully measured the pig’s left arm to create a duplicate that would be virtually identical to the original limb in fit and function.

Via 3D printed event blog

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Pocket-Tactics: the open source 3D printed miniatures game

Print your own armies for dining room battles.

With the exception of an adventurous few who made pieces by hand, miniatures games have long been the domain of large game companies. Widespread access to 3D printing can change that. Pocket-Tactics by Ill Gotten Games is a miniatures-based tabletop game, and all the rules, stat sheets, and even STL files for 3D printing are available online for free. The reason for the name should be obvious from the picture. All the pieces can easily fit in a small bag, and the game can be played in an area the size of an airplane tray.

The rules and stat sheets, 3 versions in fact, are available on the Ill Gotten Games website, and the STL files are available on Thingiverse. If you’re not inclined to print them yourself or through a printing service (like Ponoko Make), a complete set of printed and painted pieces is available for sale on Etsy.


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3D printed toy records

The future meets the past with this sweet OpenSCAD project

This is a cool project: Instructables user fred27 reverse-engineered the encoding pattern for an old Fisher Price toy record player and developed a method for 3D printing or CNC cutting new records. He’s also written software that allows you to convert your own tunes to play on the forty-year-old toy. This is an excellent demonstration of parametric modeling using the free OpenSCAD software. Brilliant!

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Laser-cut force feedback controller for Angry Birds

Simulating a slingshot with an Arduino, motorised fader, and MaxMSP

{sound + design} released a beautifully executed and beautifully documented hack this month.

Super Angry Birds is a force feedback USB controller for Angry Birds that simulates the feeling of a slingshot. All the controls found in the game are available in this device. You can control the pull, the angle, and of course trigger the special power of the bird.

Underneath the slick design is a serious piece of hardware and software engineering work. Very cool.

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