Calling for customizable product ideas for the Zazzle Million Dollar Open Innovation Challenge

looking for mass-customization ideas worth a million

Zazzle makes customizable everything: messenger bags, t-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars, iPad cases, you name it.

But are they missing something? Come up with a great idea for a customizable product, make a 1 minute video pitching your idea, and you could win a million dollar investment to develop and launch your product.

The Zazzle Million Dollar Open Innovation Challenge is open through February 17, 2012.

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Win a multi-color pack of Sugru rubber for your DIY projects & repairs!

blog giveaway ends 25 January

What is Sugru?

Sugru is a super cool, air-curable rubber that you can use to improve, repair, or prototype all kinds of stuff.

It was developed over seven years by a group of product designers and material scientists lead by Jane who started the project while working on an MA in Product Design at RCA in London.

(You should really check out the Sugru story; there are photos of formulation experiments & application tests, the tales of funding struggles, and a new year’s resolution that ultimately lead to success.)

The end result is a simple, useful material chock full of great properties:
• electrically insulating so “it’s amazing for cable repairs”
• waterproof and flexible so it’s great to have along on outdoor excursions
• stable from -60°C/140°F to 180°C/360°F
• curable at air temperature so you don’t have to heat it
• is removable (with a little effort)
• sticks to almost anything & remains flexible when cured = perfect for prototypes

Update: This contest is closed. Thank you all for your comments.
And congratulations to Matthew C, Matthew P-F, Bob, Curtis W. and Stefania M.!! Enjoy your Sugru!

How to enter:

So now that you have an idea of what Sugru can do, we’d like to know…

How would you use Sugru in a Ponoko project? Tell us in the comments how you would use Sugru to enhance something you made with Ponoko’s laser cutting, cnc routing, or 3D printing service.


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3D printable sustainable technologies design competition to win $1000

Using open source 3D printers to promote sustainable development.

Queen’s University in Canada is sponsoring a competition for the best sustainable technologies printable on an open source 3D printer. What does that mean? I don’t really know. The competition has been left open for anything you can imagine that fits “sustainable technologies that fit human development needs.” The only firm requirement appears to be that it is printable on an open source 3D printer, such as a RepRap.

The contest closes February 1st 2012 and winners will be announced February 15th. First prize wins $1000 (Canadian dollars so around $968 USD right now), second prize wins $250, and 3 runners up receive a mention as runners up. To enter, upload your design to Thingiverse with the tag “QAS Contest.”

For more information, there is a detailed pdf on their site.

Via BoingBoing

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Autodesk 123D Halloween Challenge

Carve a digital jack-o-lantern.

Autodesk is running a Halloween challenge to promote its new free 3D modeling software 123D. The video above is a short tutorial to introduce you to the software and to show you how to “carve” a jack-o-lantern in 123D.

Digital pumpkins in three shapes are available for download from their site to get you started. Anyone who uploads their digital jack-o-lantern to the 123D gallery before October 31 will get a free 123D t-shirt.

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Submit an instructable, win a laser cutter

Who wouldn’t want a free laser cutter?

The fantastic maker tutorial website Instructables is running a competition to win a Zing laser cutter from Epilog. Prizes for runners-up include a MIG welder, a band saw, and a bench drill press. The competition ends November 14th. How to enter:

Post an Instructable that shows off your amazing skills and creativity, and proves that you’ll make good use of an Epilog Zing laser cutter. Document your project with lots of great photos, and provide clear instructions so others can learn from your work. And be sure to tell us what you’ll do with the Zing if you win!

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Win an Arduino starter kit + year subscription to Make: magazine

contest closes 31 August

This month the Ponoko blog is teaming up with MAKE to hook you up with some hard copy Make: magazines, plus one super lucky winner will also get an Arduino starter kit.

We’re giving away a year’s subscription to Make: magazine to four winners. And one grand prize winner will get the subscription plus a Getting Started with Arduino Kit v2.0 from The Maker Shed store!

How to enter

To enter, just tell us the coolest thing you ever made and leave a link for us to see a photo. It can be anything: a robot, a scarf, a table, a delicious chocolate cake — anything as long as YOU made it!

We’re not here to judge your projects, we just want you to share. So we’ll be picking the winners randomly.

Update: Please just one entry per person. Thanks.
Update 2: Don’t forget to leave a link to a photo of what you made!

Contest closes Wednesday 31 August at 10pm pacific time.


• Grand Prize: 1 winner will receive a one year subscription to Make: magazine plus Getting Started with Arduino Kit v2.0 (over $100 value)
• Four winners will each receive a one year subscription to Make: magazine


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New brushed gold and silver acrylic from Formulor + the chance to get your design made for FREE

Design contest with new brushed metallic materials

Our Germany-based digital making partner Formulor has recently added two posh new materials to their materials catalog:
• brushed gold cover acrylic with black core
• brushed silver cover acrylic with black core

Each of these brushed metallics has a black core which creates awesome contrast for heavy raster engraving.

Use one of these new materials, and your design might be made for free.

Email Formulor a photo of your design using either brushed gold or brushed silver by 31 August, and you’ll be entered to win a full refund on that order.

The folks at Formulor will choose 2 winners, one for each material.

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24hrs left to enter our software training giveaway!

some online education for you, son

Just a reminder that we’re giving away 5 one-month, premium subscriptions to the fabulous library of software training videos at

Score one of these subscriptions and have software mastery at your fingertips. Learn Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, Blender, 3ds Max, Maya, Rhino, ZBrush, Flash, In-Design, etc etc

Already a design pro? There’s tons of other stuff to learn: different computer programming languages, content management systems, and more. has over 1,000 top quality video courses for over 100 softwares.

So enter now ’cause this giveaway ends June 30th!

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Win a 1 month premium subscription to the software Online Training Library

100 softwares, 1066 courses, 63,528 tutorials

Update: Congratulations to Deborah, Joel, Nic, Sam, and Summer!

We hope you enjoy your premium 1 month subscription to and become design software gurus!

This month the Ponoko blog is partnering with to give 5 winners a free, 1 month premium subscription to the Online Training Library.

If you’re not familiar with, its a virtual mecca for online learning of software. They’ve got top-notch courses — uncountable hours really — of video training on a 100 different softwares.

Course subjects include 3D, Animation, Audio, Business, Design, Development, Home Computing, Photography, Video, Web + Interactive.

But we think all you makers out there will really like the 3D & Design stuff.

There are courses on 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Blender, CorelDRAW, Freehand, SketchUp, Illustrator, Maya, Rhino, ZBrush and more.

And each course has free tutorials, (10% of the entire library is free actually.) so you can get an idea of what that course offers and decide if you want to subscribe.

A subscription gives you access to the entire library. A premium subscription — which is what we’re giving away — gives you full access plus the actual files used in the exercises.

Other cool features of are new releases every week and searchable closed captions for several of the videos.

Win a free, 1 month premium subscription and jump into your own software summer school with Just leave a comment stating:

1. What software listed at you are most excited about learning
2. What you would make with Personal Factory using your new software skills

The contest closes at 10pm pacific on Friday, July 29. 5 winners will be chosen at random from qualifying comments and notified the first week of August.

And if you’re new to Ponoko and Personal Factory, here’s the run down. Or you can sign up for a free Personal Factory account and we’ll send you a nice ‘n neat orientation email about how we turn your design files into real, super awesome stuff.

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Last chance to win your design printed on fabric from Spoonflower

contest closes June 30 at 10pm pacific

You’ve got just 2 days left to enter our June giveaway sponsored by digital fabric printers Spoonflower!

You could win a free yard of fabric printed with your own design.

How to Enter: leave a qualifying comment at the original contest announcement by June 30, 10pm pacific.

For your comment to qualify, you must:

1. Tell us how you would combine Spoonflower printed fabric with a Personal Factory project

2. specify which Spoonflower fabric from you would use*

3. specify which Personal Factory digital making method you would use**

Winner selection & Prizes: People from Ponoko and Spoonflower will pick their favorite 5 ideas to each win a free yard of digitally printed fabric in any fabric they choose.

Ideas & Inspiration: check out what ideas other people have entered and take a look at our latest Maker Story interview with Andy and Becka Rahn.

Click HERE to enter & get full contest details!

*Spoonflower fabrics include:
quilting weight cotton, organic cotton sateen, organic cotton interlock knit, upholstery weight cotton twill, linen-cotton canvas, silk crepe de chine, cotton voile

**Personal Factory digital making methods include:
3D printing, CNC routing, laser cutting

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