7 Important Dates for Online Sellers

For folks selling online, Christmas is without a doubt the busiest time of year.

Online shoppers shelled out over $46.5 billion in the 2013 holiday season.

While a big chunk of sales went to powerful online marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart, last year shopping carts such as Shopify and Big Commerce commanded the highest dollar value per individual order.

If you’re making and selling online, get ready for this year’s influx of holiday orders by planing around the following important holiday milestones:

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Metal etching project hits 300% of Kickstarter goal

POLIGON Sculpture Shows What’s Possible With Ponoko’s Metal Etching Service

Unfolding into the mailboxes of many backers, the latest runaway success from Kickstarter features these elegant and refined sculptures by Poligon.

At the time of writing, pledges for the faceted brass and stainless steel creatures are about to eclipse 300% beyond the modest Kickstarter funding goal. Produced using a metal cutting and engraving process called PCM (Photochemical Machining), the clean lines and precise folds of these user-assembled sculptures have a striking visual presence and it’s easy to see why everybody wants one!

“We fell in love with the process because it doesn’t require hugely expensive tooling but gives highly accurate results with beautiful metals. It really has freed our creative thinking and these sculptures are just the beginning!” – Poligon

While we talk a lot about laser cutting and 3D printing here at Ponoko, metal cutting and engraving via Photochemical Machining is perhaps the quiet achiever. Taking less of the everyday focus, but (as we can see with the sculptures from Poligon) PCM certainly makes quite an impact from time to time. The Ponoko service is often used for intricate jewellery, and you can learn more about how Photochemical Machining works in our comprehensive overview.

Rodrigo and Matthew from Poligon had their own extensive experience in modelling and production to draw on, and the success of their Kickstarter campaign is well deserved. If you are inspired by this to give PCM a go yourself, then Ponoko has all your needs covered from laser cut card prototypes through to finely etched products in brass, copper and stainless steel.

Other Kickstarter projects that have used Ponoko’s services and exceeded expectations include the wildly successful Game Frame (1,031% over goal), the LittleRP affordable resin 3D printer (475% over goal), and the musical wonder that is Motion Synth (108% over goal).

Support Poligon on Kickstarter
Make your own PCM products with Ponoko

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Manufacturing The Future

How 3D printing went from pipe dream to your desktop

When Ponoko was founded back in 2006, we envisaged the third Industrial Revolution, where consumers of the future can download and make products at home. The road to distributed digital mass production was paved by the pioneering work of stereolithography inventor Chuck Hull and transformed once again with the rise and rise of MakerBot, to name just a few.

In a fantastically comprehensive article over on Digital Trends, the full history of 3D printing has been laid out in detail.

3D printers are all the rage with enthusiasts, but they didn’t just materialize out of nowhere like the sculptures they produce. Here’s the untold story of how the next big boom in technology came to be over 30 years.

It’s a fascinating story where dreams become reality and the stuff of science fiction enters our daily lives. We have seen this first-hand, with over 400,000 custom products produced online via Ponoko’s global network of digital making services.

Click through to Digital Trends to learn how other key influencers have helped shape the strange past and seemingly impossible future of distributed digital mass production over the past 30 years.

via Digital Trends: Manufacturing the Future

image thanks to Pete Golibersuch/Knurling LLC

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A $154k Kickstarter Retrospective: What You Can Learn From the Game Frame’s Success

Anatomy of a successful Kickstarter

Jeremy Williams is the San Francisco based engineer / hacker / programmer / maker / video game enthusiast behind the Game Frame, a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art and old-school video game graphics.

Earlier this year Jeremy raised over $154,000 on Kickstarter for the Game Frame – an amazing sum considering the project’s original $15,000 goal.

7 months later – With the last of the Kickstarter rewards fulfilled, we sat down with Jeremy to get some insight into what led to his amazingly successful campaign.

Here’s a look at what has happened before and after the campaign was funded, along with some important lessons—both good and bad—that crowdfunding hopefuls can learn from Jeremy’s success story.

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We’re Hiring a Maker / Designer / Hacker to Help Our Customers Succeed

Full Printed from nueveojos on Vimeo.

We have a part time Customer Success Manager role (developing into a full time role) for a maker / designer / hacker to support our customers to make their custom products online. And to help us change the world.

ABOUT YOU

* You believe what we believe – that consumers of the future will download and make products at home (kinda like ‘digital Ikea’).

* You value what we value.

* You have a deep desire to help others make their own custom products. This will make it easy for you to smile, persevere and shine through the ups and downs our customer’s experience on their personal creative journeys, and the ups and downs we experience on ours.

* You are:

- A designer / maker / hacker. With the empathy and communication skills of a teacher.

- An expert in these design software apps, plus Meshlab and Netfabb.

- Experienced with laser cutters and 3D printers (both desktop and pro), with a practical understanding of the properties of these materials.

- A natural at online communication, familiar with Zendesk, Twitter and Facebook to reactively support customers online.

- Someone who works harmoniously with your team members to delight customers.

- Cool under extreme pressure, and radiate this with customers and your team members.

- A happy soul, empathetic, with an ‘excited’ online voice.

- Proactive. Detailed. Process driven. All three.

- Someone who likes to lead, and you enjoy working independently.

- Effective at multi ­tasking and prioritizing the daily rush of tasks that come in a startup.

- Someone who understands you get out of life what you put into it. And to change the world this means stepping forward and grabbing at responsibility.

ABOUT THE ROLE

You’ll be our voice to the world. You’ll be our customer’s voice to our team. You’ll support our customers to make their custom products online.

Your typical day includes:

* Achieving 2 key goals – quality and speed of service. Both measured and reported weekly.

* Responding to inbound chat, email and social media questions relating to customer orders, product design file preparation, materials selection, pricing and our service generally.

* Liaising with our production team to ensure on-time delivery of quality custom products.

* Delighting our customers with the unexpected, and putting a smile on their faces, particularly when all seemed lost.

* Attending 2 weekly meetings – one full team discussion about company and individual results, plus one support and production teams discussion about customer experience.

* Identifying problems with and improving our workflows to delight customers.

* As a bonus, creating or editing online help content for customers to help themselves.

BENEFITS

* Freedom and independence to run your own ship.
* Feeling that your work day means something and makes a difference.
* Market salary.
* Unlimited paid time off.
* Employee rates on laser cutting your own stuff.

ABOUT US

Dreamed up in 2006, Ponoko believes consumers of the future will download and make products at home (kinda like ‘digital Ikea’).

We foresaw the third industrial revolution (distributed digital mass production) growing out of the first and second industrial revolutions (centralised analog mass production).

Hence in 2007 Ponoko launched at the first TechCrunch conference and became the world’s first to enable designers to both make and sell their products online.

Since then a community of 125,000 makers, designers, hackers, brands and businesses have made over 400,000 custom products online. And they’ve sold them via our website, their websites, ETSY, Kickstarter, design events, and to main street retailers.

With free digital prototyping to get a design just right, no minimum order size to get started, and on-demand production available within 1 day to eliminate investment in stock, we’ve make it 10x faster than ever before for designers to prototype, make and sell their custom product ideas online.

Recognised as a pioneering leader of the online digital making industry, we have been featured in places like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN Money, Inc. Magazine (cover), Forbes, Wired, Core77, TechCrunch, Makezine, MIT Technology Review, BBC News and The Economist.

Your appointment will enable us to continue to support our existing customers, and to hatch a new 3D printing initiative to transform our industry again.

TO APPLY

Send an email to derek-at-ponoko-dot-com to introduce yourself, send your resume, and your answers to these 3 questions:

1) Why do you want this role?
2) What gaps might exist between what we need and what you have?
3) Why are you the best person for this role?

We’re looking forward to meeting you :)

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Your chance to revolutionize the concept of pasta

PrintEat 3D printable pasta competition

Being creative is hungry work, so it is no surprise that designers continue to amuse themselves by 3D printing food in ever new and delicious ways.

Set to revolutionize the concept of pasta, PrintEat is a competition over on Thingarage that probes into the future of the king of carbs. Will we one day sit down at the local trattoria and print out a dish of custom pasta right at the table?

Entrants will be challenged to:

“…subvert the traditional patterns of production (extrusion and mold) by producing morphologies that can be realized only through 3D printing”

If you think this sounds like some tasty fun, then head over to Thingarage where you can sign up to get cooking on your chance to win a share of the €2400 price money. Entries are open to the global design community and there are still (at the time of writing) 30 days left before the judges work up an appetite choosing which concepts will feature on the Specials board.

via Thingarage

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Announcing the Winners of our Premium Materials Design Challenge

The votes are in!

We are pleased to announce the winners of our new Premium Materials Design Challenge.

We want to thank everyone who participated – whether you submitted a project or voted for your favorite – we were blown away by the caliber of the designs submitted, and thrilled to see whats possible with the our new premium materials.

We’re releasing new materials and planning more challenges for the very near future so you can all stretch your design talent again!

Without further ado, the winners:

Grand PrizeCretaceous Critters Coasters by Rebecca Cey

2nd PlaceCigar Cutter by Dan Marino

3rd PlaceCubist Guitar Sculpture by Craig Hein Design

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Top 10 Designers Announced in Premium Materials Design Challenge

Vote for your Favorites by Sept 1st!

In July, we challenged designers to showcase their skills by creating a product using one of our three new premium materials. At first, we weren’t sure what to expect; This was the first time we ran a contest where designers actually created something tangible to enter, as opposed to just submitting their design files.

Would we get any good entries? Would folks just take the free sheet of material and run? We didn’t know.

We were thrilled to find that although the amount of submissions were somewhat smaller, the quality of entries we recieved were through the roof. The creativity & quality of the submissions made selecting the finalists a challenge in itself.

You can use the hashtag #ponokonewmaterials on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to see all of the amazing submissions.

Check out the finalists below, and use the survey at the bottom of the page to vote for your top three before Sept 1st.

If you are the designer behind one of the final entries you are encouraged to invite all your friends and family to vote for you. Keep in mind: Voting ends at 10pm PST on Sept 1st.

The Prizes:

  • Grand Prize – $600 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for one year ($1,068 value.)
  • 2nd Place – $450 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for one year ($918 value.)
  • 3rd Place – $300 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for 6 months ($434 value.)

The Finalists:

 

Cretaceous Critters Coasters by Rebecca Cey

Cigar Cutter by Dan Marino

Cubist Guitar Sculpture by Craig Hein Design

BoomBox Keychain by Junichi Tsuneoka

Geometric Lamp by Iluxo

Tangram by Jeremy Williams

Mini Sketchbook / Journal by Lcrookston

Lotus Brace by Marissa Noell

Cross-Stitched Earrings by Rebecca Cey

Stainglass Game by Bertrand Le Roy


A huge thank you to everyone who helped make our design challenge a success. We will announce the winners here on Sept. 2nd. Good luck!

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What to do with your first laser cut design

Four scenarios and next step options for first-time makers

You’ve created a design and uploaded it to Ponoko, placed and order, and now you have your first piece of laser cut delight. So now what?

It all depends on what stage of the process you’re in. We’ve come up with four scenarios to keep things moving. See which one best describes you.

Scenario #1

You: My design is not quite right – it didn’t work out!

Ponoko: Don’t let this get you down. The first try pretty much never turns out perfect for anyone. Making something is a process, and you’re in the prototyping phase. Most of our customers have to make 5-10 prototypes to get their design just right. Don’t forget that we will do whatever it takes to help you get there!

What to do next:

• If you’re not sure why your design didn’t work out or if you think we messed something up, get in touch: service-at-ponoko-dot-com
• If you know what needs to be changed, revise your design and try again. To speed up the prototyping process, we recommend putting multiple versions of your design on a single sheet of material and see which one works best.

(more…)

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RazorLAB opens Makers|CAFE in London

First branch of long-dreamed half makerspace/half cafe opens its doors

When it comes to laser cutting services in the UK, it’s hard to beat RazorLAB for precision and expertise. Now you can throw in some tasty treats and a chat with the guys in the the know because they have just opened Makers|CAFE.

For those who need a little caffeine to cultivate their creativity, this really is a dream come true:

“…a space where people could have a quality coffee while having their prototypes made on the spot”

It’s an exciting time for makers in London, and Makers|CAFE are celebrating with a launch party this Thursday (August 21) where a lucky few will enjoy live music, free drinks and laser cutters + 3D printers in action.

If you are in the area and like the sound of joining in the fun when Makers|CAFE opens its doors to the public, you can RSVP at their Facebook event page or Eventbrite page. Spaces are limited so be sure to get in quick!

via Makers|CAFE

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