“I had known about Ponoko for a long time,” says Michiel, “but never had a great reason to use the service.”
That reason finally came while he and his soon-to-be wife Jo-Ann planned their Berkeley, California wedding. “Many of our guests were traveling from different countries, and we wanted to give them something special to say thanks for making the journey,” Michiel explains.
His idea was to use our laser cutting service to create a DIY kit that let people build their own honeymoon scenes.
Andrea’s inspiration came from the medieval history surrounding his home near Modena, Italy. “It’s not a strict reproduction of a real castle. I wanted to include as many medieval elements as I could,” he says.
As part of the prize, Ponoko sponsored free laser cutting for the winner. Andrea’s epic design required thirty-two P3 (about 31″x15″) size sheets. Rather than ship an entire castle battle over from the US, we worked with our friends Vectorealism, a laser cutting service based in Milan, to have Andrea’s design made closer to home.
The picture below of Andrea’s son standing behind the castle walls demonstrates just how big this toy is!
Marblevator: a fully configurable marble run you can print yourself
This Thingiverse project from dedicated enthusiast gzumwalt has what it takes to give a 21st Century twist to an age-old favourite toy.
The Marblevator (marble elevator) is at the heart of it all, endlessly stepping little balls up until they meet with the whims of gravity. Additional track segments easily snap together and clever height-adjustable tressels combine to allow you to build with complete freedom, creating one of those mesmerising toys that you could happily lose yourself in for hours on end.
Click through to see more detail on the tressel mechanism, as well as a collection of video clips of those balls going round and round and round.
Going one step further than sticking those kiddie scribbles on the fridge, Crayon Creatures is now providing proud parents with a unique 3D printing service.
All that’s required is a 2D drawing fresh from the child’s imagination, which is scanned and inflated to form a volumetric model with 3D contours. This data is then printed on a ZCorp 3D printer and shipped back to the family home.
Knowing how quickly kids move from one playful fantasy to the next, it is possible that by the time you receive your print the ‘artist’ has forgotten drawing it altogether! Even still, just watch those smiles of delight as their imagination is brought to life.
Pictured above is the mysterious incarnation titled Hamster on a Speedboat. Click through to the source for more examples from Crayon Creatures.
Web series uses puppets to inspire the next generation of inventors
Adafruit continues in their quest to make DIY electronics easy for all ages with Circuit Playground, a children’s web series that teaches electronics in a quirky and fun way.
“We’ll have each component have a story, a song and something to do”
From Cappy the Capacitor to Hans the 555 Timer Chip, this light-hearted approach will enable enquiring youngsters to immerse themselves in technology as they gain valuable real-world knowledge.
Supporting the show there are additional fun low-tech teaching aids including a colouring book and a set of plush dolls that will bring the characters to life. Combine this with the Circuit Playground iOS app and you’ve got plenty to not only keep the kids entertained and engaged with the learning process, but also maintain the underlying goal of inspiring the next generation of engineers.
“We want to celebrate the fun and good parts of making things, and even tackle complex subjects like what’s ‘good’ to make”
Circuit Playground is scheduled to air in March on Google+ and Ustream.
Indiegogo campaign spreads the word about DIY digital manufacturing
What exactly does it take to be crowned the king of CNC? Amongst those jostling for Regal top honors is the prolific and wildly enthusiastic Jon Cantin, a fellow you may recall as the guy behind WoodMarvels, now known as CNCKing.com.
Jon has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help make Volume 4 of his CNC book series available to a wider audience. It draws on many years of experience making children’s toys using the distributed manufacturing models offered by companies such as Ponoko.
This book contains all the knowledge I wish I had access to all those years back… if you want to learn how to design using a CNC table router or laser cutter, you must add this book to your library!
Beyond selling a few books, a broader goal of the campaign is to encourage more kids and educators to embrace the potential that CNC machines have to change peoples’ lives. Jon imagines a day when children ask Santa for a CNC machine so that they can build their own toys.
Learn more about the campaign and pledge your support at Indiegogo.
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.