DIY without owning the tools — Dale Dougherty of MAKE interviews Ponoko CEO David Ten Have

talkin’ robots, 3D printing, and on-demand manufacturing to the masses

Ponoko’s David ten Have sat down with Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of Make magazine, to talk about Personal Factory — a distributed and on-demand manufacturing system available to anyone.

David talks about how the Personal Factory platform works (how Ponoko makes your stuff, where Ponoko makes your stuff, and what you can make stuff from), but more importantly he discusses with Dale the importance of bringing on-demand manufacturing tools to the masses.

“You can make almost anything you want, anywhere you are. You don’t need a big lab, a maker space, hacker space, fab lab…” says Dale. “You could do this on a computer, press a button, and have it delivered to you…”

“Exactly. And that’s the exciting thing that has emerged over the past four or five years,” explains David. “[We’ve] started to bring these tools online. So that means you can have your own virtual factory, your own Personally Factory, that you run from your computer. And the parts turn up, just like books turn up from online stores.”

Many of Ponoko’s customers don’t just use their Personal Factory to make one-off designs. Several small businesses, from jewelry designers to toy makers to providers of custom housing for DIY electronics, run on Personal Factory.

Interested in designing and making your own stuff? Learn more about Personal Factory and sign up for yours, free.

Waka Roa [First] Light

When New Zealand cultural heritage and digital manufacturing meet in a first of a kind eco-house

Earlier this year Wellington designer David Hakaraia designed a light for the solar decathlon house project.  The house was designed and built by a team of Victoria University architecture students – a group privileged to have been selected as one of 20 university teams to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.  This was the only entry, ever, from the southern hemisphere.  The house was named First Light, and this is where David, known to all as Hux, drew his inspiration.

Hux’s light references the first waka – traditional Maori canoe that arrived to the pristine landscapes of Aotearoa.  The waka precedent is articulated not only through the overall form of the design, but through its use of Pacific binding techniques and Whakairo – traditional carving.  The Waka Roa light represents the heritage of many New Zealanders with its mixture of design elements from Maori, Pacific and European cultures.  It blends traditional motifs with contemporary technology and expresses Whakairo using digital manufacturing techniques.Hux talks about the project under the cut:


“We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge & understanding…

and after that, things can get interesting.” ~ Everything is a Remix

Everything is a Remix is a 4 part video series created by Kirby Ferguson. And part 3, entitled The Elements of Creativity, explains how copying is essential to innovation.

The 7 minute video (which you can watch after the jump) explains that, “Nobody starts out original. We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding.”

Product engineering is the focus of this part of the series, and the video begins with examples of variations and improvements on existing inventions.

The creation of the personal computer is the main case study, and there’s a bonus 4 minutes or so on the concept of multiple discovery.

How 3D printing is changing consumer products

Talks from the 2011 RAPID conference

Consumer Products was one of the major topics at this year’s RAPID conference on additive manufacturing. I attended all five presentations and was honored to be one of the speakers presenting on how 3D printing was changing this area of design and manufacture.

This is the fourth and final post on my experience at RAPID. What follows is summary of each of the talks on Consumer Products.

How to Create an Industry with 3D Printed Consumer Products

The first speaker was Janne Kyttanen, founder of Freedom of Creation.

Kyttanen was 100% designer from his insistence on using his own MacbookPro to give a Keynote lecture (We were supposed to only use Windows and PowerPoint.) to his Marilyn Monroe by Warhol Madonna t-shirt.

And it was from a designer’s perspective that he talked about his vision of a new industry completely based on 3D printed consumer products.


How digital fabrication is democratizing product design

presentation for the 2011 RAPID conference

Last week I presented one of the Consumer Products talks at RAPID 2011. Several people approached me afterwards and asked for a copy, so I’ve decided to share it here on the blog. View and download the PDF here.

Here’s an abbreviated version (14 instead of 36 slides) of my 30 minute talk.
And because the conference was about additive manufacturing, the presentation focuses on 3D printing.

I started out by giving some context around the maker movement and explaining that a handful of new companies, all launched within the past 2-4 years, are helping people create their own products.

Then I outlined the 4 factors that make the democratization of design possible. (more…)

Public outcry over Urban Outfitters stealing independent design

A simple tumblr post goes viral

It’s currently a trending topic on twitter from New York to Chicago to San Francisco. Urban Outfitters is selling a knock-off jewelry line originally created by independent designer Stevie Koerner.

Koerner’s own label tru.che is well known for its United/World of Love necklaces, silhouettes of states and countries with a single hollow heart inside.

Yesterday, Koerner published a screenshot on her tumblr I Make Shiny Things of her exact designs being sold on Urban Outfitters online store and wrote:

My heart sank a little bit. The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job. They even stole the item name as well as some of my copy.

I’m very disappointed in Urban Outfitters. I know they have stolen designs from plenty of other artists. I understand that they are a business, but it’s not cool to completely rip off an independent designer’s work.

I’ll no longer be shopping at any of their stores [they also own Free People & Anthropologie], and I’m going to do my best from here on out to support independent designers & artists.

Please feel free to pass this link on. I really appreciate all the support & love I’ve received today.

Ponoko co-founder Derek Elley interviewed at thinq_

“…bringing distributed manufacturing, ultimately, into the home.”

UK news site thinq_ recently published an interview with our own Derek Elley.

In the interview, Elley talks about Ponoko’s roots as a software company. “We could have set out and set up another company doing time-management software, or another bit of accounting software, or another piece of e-mail software — but we didn’t do that,” he says.

Instead, Elley and co-founder David ten Have decided to challenge the traditional manufacturing model by building a new platform that would let people create things when they needed them, where they needed them.

Ponoko connected this platform, Personal Factory, to some digital fabrication tech — initially lasercutters and later, 3D printers — but as Elley notes “We see this as being somewhat more fundamental than any one technology.”

The big dream? “…bringing distributed manufacturing, ultimately, into the home.” “That’s exactly what the software is built for,” Elley told thinq_

Hop over to thinq_ to read the full interview and check out a few great photos of what Ponoko makers have created.

Interview with Andrew Plumb

An early MakerBot operator and electrical engineer talks 3D printing tips, peristaltic pumps, and more!

Open Hardware logo

Derek: Did you end up replacing any of the parts on your MakerBot Cupcake?

Andrew: Well, because Rick was the first one to come out with the heated bed, that was the first thing that I replaced. So I got one of the ceramic tile types of heated bed. You sort of cement on the Nichrome wire and then mount it on magnets. So I had that running for a while and then I finally put on an automated build platform, the standard issue one from MakerBot.

D: Do you still have the belt running on your Cupcake’s automated build platform? (more…)

DIY in action at MIT

Ponoko’s own Derek Elley talks DIY with some serious thinkers

There’s a lot to talk about at the MIT Media Lab, particularly during the Spring Sponsor Meeting where a host of researchers, invited speakers and sponsors will be sharing their personal insights.

This time around it is all about the world of DIY. From workshops and updates on research projects through to open houses; attendees will be well and truly ready for the day-long DIY symposium that wraps up the event on Thursday April 14.

Ponoko’s own Derek Elley will be knocking heads with other invited speakers under the banner of DIY in action. For those who can’t make it to the event, selected talks will be webcast from the MIT website.

MIT Media Lab’s Spring Sponsor Meeting runs from April 12-14, 2011.

MIT Media Lab: DIY

Interview with Rick Pollack of MakerGear

A small business pioneer of DIY 3D printing talks about his work and hints at an upcoming project

Rick Pollack of MakerGear

First, a quick introduction to me – I’m Derek Quenneville, one of the new 3D printing bloggers here at Ponoko. I’ve been the proud operator of MakerBot #169 for a while now and came to 3D printing like many others: “Oh my god, we can do that?!”

My background is mainly in software and web stuff over at and I am all about making sure that people know about personal 3D printing. I’m the guy at your party with a bag of whistles, mustache rings and bottle openers. :)

This week I spoke with Rick Pollack of MakerGear, who popularized a number of things in the hobbyist space like printing with PLA, and using heated build platforms to reduce ABS curling.

Here’s our conversation: (more…)