The basics of laser cutting with Ponoko

Helpful advice on how to get started with the Ponoko Personal Factory

For those who have always wanted to give Ponoko a go but are not sure where to start, this training video shows just how easy it is to produce your own laser cut designs.

In a little over ten minutes, Josh talks through the process of using Ponoko, and highlights a small project that makes a great starting point to help you feel your way with the Ponoko Personal Factory.

The material overview covers felt, cut and engraved bamboo, leather, 3d objects assembled from laser cut acrylic, and laser cut plywood. There is also advice on which materials are the best to get started with – and how to avoid common ‘beginner’ mistakes.

Then it gets to the good stuff – a neat little demo of how to actually make your very first product. The walkthrough explains how to use Inkscape to create a file that can be uploaded to Ponoko for laser cutting.

Starting with the Ponoko P1 template, Josh quickly whips up a collection of forms that use both laser cutting (for outlines) and laser etching (for surface details).

The upload process is then explained, with useful tips on how to check your files are correct and also how to order multiple copies of your design. Next comes material selection, which reveals some very useful information – how much it will cost! You’ll see that it’s really easy to switch to another material and see the price adjust accordingly in an instant.

The video wraps up with a few more handy design tips to be sure you start off on the right track.

Sound like fun? We think so. Watch the video, then dive right in!

source: The basics of laser cutting with Ponoko

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123D Make partners with Cricut

Giving 3D form to desktop cutting projects. Next stop, to the laser cutter!

Already well established as the gold standard for bringing super-simple 3D construction to the DIY masses, Autodesk 123D has announced an exciting partnership that goes one step further. They’ve teamed up with Cricut, the guys responsible for desktop electronic cutting machines that induce equal measures of desire and envy amongst Makers and Crafters.

The collaboration features a new series of easy-to-assemble 3D DIY projects including dinosaurs, rocket ships, creatures and homewares that are all geared towards owners of the Cricut machines.

Now, while this is a clearly targeted partnership that brings the clever slicing technology of 123D Make to users in the Cricut community, it is also a welcome reminder of the resources that are readily available and can be easily incorporated into your laser cutting workflow.   (more…)

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Turn your 3D printer into a laser cutter

L-CHEAPO conversion kit brings laser cutting to the masses

Imagine turning a desktop 3D printer into a laser cutter without compromising its printing capabilities. That’s what Matteo Borri from Robots Everywhere has done, and the L-CHEAPO laser cutter attachment is now the focus of a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign.

Capable of cutting 3/16″ wood and 1/4″ acrylic on any hobby grade 3D printer or CNC mill, this clever little attachment runs off the existing machine’s power supply and software environment. Once the attachment is set up and configured, in a matter of minutes you can swap back and forth from laser cutter to 3D printer functionality.

“you can switch from laser to printer mode and vice versa in less than two minutes, with no tools”

Why would you want to do this? For one thing, laser cut parts tend to be much tougher than the thermoplastics used in 3D printers. This means the scope of making possibilities is significantly widened, all from the one machine.

Matteo is looking out for the little guys with this project, with the goal of making laser cutting accessible to those who might otherwise be hindered by the substantial initial investment that is traditionally associated with purchasing a laser cutter.

“I hope that this allows high school shop classes, small universities and local hackerspaces to be able to work with a wider variety of materials and techniques”

He also promises that there are larger, more powerful lasers in the works. It will be interesting to see what the big brother to L-CHEAPO is capable of.

The 3D printed component is available to download from Thingiverse and you can head to Indiegogo for further info and project updates.

Here’s a little extra, just for fun. Proving that he is serious about his DIY laser cutting prowess, Matteo uploaded this geekily amusing clip of the Tetris theme song, as played by an L-CHEAPO laser cutter in action.

via Hackaday

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Ponoko Customer Turns Product Into $100,299 In Just 20 Days

Ponoko + Kickstarter = Designer’s Dream

We covered this briefly before, but it’s going bananas! So we thought it was a good idea to introduce how designers are using Ponoko and Kickstarter to make and sell their products.

Jeremy Williams is a San Francisco based engineer and video game enthusiast with a passion for pixel art. His latest project, the Game Frame, is a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art anywhere. Jeremy’s product on Kickstarter just passed $100,000, and is trending to hit over $150,000 before closing.

The Game Frame was initially just a fun personal project – Jeremy loves 8-bit pixel art and wanted to find a way to display it on his walls – but after his prototype was demonstrated for Tested in June, the positive feedback inspired him to see if he could turn the Game Frame into a real product.

Using laser cut parts from Ponoko, Jeremy went through several iterations to refine his design. After months of prototyping, and multiple prototypes, Jeremy arrived at a Game Frame that was sleeker looking, cheaper to build, and easier to use.

With a new Game Frame in hand Jeremy set out to test the market viability of his new product.  There’s many ways to do this, like setting up a website, an ETSY store, or selling at a local event. But he decided to use Kickstarter to put his product directly in front of potential customers to gauge interest in the Game Frame, and to gain pre-orders to fund his first production run.

The enthusiasm was overwhelming. Within 4.5 hours the Game Frame had met it’s initial goal of $15,000. Within a week, he had over $50,000 in backing. As at press time, Jeremy has already sold 448 Game Frames = $107,123 and counting!

Now comes the fun part: Jeremy will spend the coming months fulfilling the orders for his Kickstarter backers, wiring the PCBs, soldering LEDs, & assembling laser cut frames using his Personal Factory at Ponoko. The first orders are scheduled to ship in June.

Jeremy’s story is an inspiring example of how you can take a cool idea, make it real at low cost with Ponoko, and discover a whole market you never knew you had.

We’ll be following this and letting you know more about how to use Ponoko and Kickstarter as the story unfolds.

If you’re interested in starting your own product line too, you can signup for free here to make and sell your own products.

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Win a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince, the first 3D printing book for kids!

LEO the maker prince

This week, Ponoko has partnered with author and designer Carla Diana to give away five free copies of her new book for kids (and adults!), LEO the Maker Prince.

The first book about 3D printing for children, LEO follows the adventures of Carla and her friend LEO, a 3D printer. Chancing upon each other during a New York hurricane, Carla and LEO traverse the fascinating new world of 3D printing and all of the creativity and common sense solutions that it offers. LEO is a machine; Carla is an accountant who had always dreamed of being an artist. Together, they discover how personal fabrication can, has, and will continue to change the world. It certainly changes Carla.

Published by Maker Media, each creation featured in LEO can be downloaded for free and produced on your home 3D printer. 3D printing isn’t magic, but LEO the Maker Prince is. Written for anyone who wants to learn more about 3D printing, this book explores today’s emerging technologies in a way that makes it understandable to readers of all ages.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment telling us what character(s) from which favorite children’s story book you’d like to 3D print—and why.

Details:

You may enter as often as you like between Jan. 13-17, 2014, but each submission idea must be distinct from your last. Repeat or similar entries from the same applicant will be disqualified. Author Carla Diana and a representative from Maker Media will choose the top five suggestions from your comments. And yes, creativity and smarts do matter.

Prizes:

Five winners will each receive a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince either as a PDF or hard copy, depending (the vagaries of shipping constraints outside the U.S. may determine).

Deadline:

Sweepstakes closes at 10pmPST on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Winners will be notified by Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, and announced in an update to this post.

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CNCKing.com Volume 4: Rise of the CNC

Comprehensive CNC resource now available on Amazon

Here is some great news for the digital manufacturing community. As a CNC evangelist Jon Cantin is in a league all of his own, and he has put in a huge effort to share his knowledge and expertise in the latest CNCKing.com publication, volume 4: Rise of the CNC.

Imagine an encyclopaedic compendium of CNC know-how, covering topics from laser cutting and CNC routing all the way through to plasma cutting and 3D printing. It’s perfect for people looking to do their own laser cutting in wood, acrylic or metal and covers topics that even advanced makers will find insightful and valuable.

In this volume, infamous hardware hacker and DIY inventor extraordinaire Ben Heck kicks things off with a foreword that highlights how CNC technology influenced his own workflow and creative career.

So if the sound of 400+ pages of CNC knowledge has you on the edge of your seat, jump over to CNCKing.com to find out more about volume 4: Rise of the CNC. The publication is now available as a digital download or in printed format from Amazon as well.

via CNCKing.com

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3D Manufacturing Community Survey

Annual survey returns with a new round of questions for 3D makers

A little over a year ago, the P2P Foundation supported the first ever wide-scale survey of the 3D printing community. Their results made for some interesting findings, a few of which are summarised in the above video.

In an industry where experimentation and innovation play a large role in the daily grind, you’d expect to see significant developments over time. So what has changed in the world of 3D manufacturing over the past year? Is 3D printing still a niche industry? Are we in the midst of the next Industrial Revolution?

The goal of the 2013 survey is to provide insights about 3D printing communities to the people who are actually doing the printing.

Click through to the Statistical Studies of Peer Production survey where you too can become a valuable 3D printing statistic. There are only 23 questions and it typically takes less than five minutes to complete.

The survey closes on August 15, with results and an in-depth analysis from P2P’s Jarkko Moilanen and Tere Vadén due out in the coming months.

3D printing survey via Statistical Studies of Peer Production

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An open source analog camera you can 3D print at home

Download it, modify it, print it.

As much as we love low-cost 3D printers and what they can do for makers, their relatively low printing resolution can limit their applications. So it’s always particularly special when someone makes something awesome with a low-res printer.

Léo Marius made this camera for his graduation project from the School of Arts and Design in Saint-Etienne, France. It’s a surprisingly simple construction, and he says it should print in about 15 hours on a Rep-Rap or equivalent. It takes some pretty decent pictures too, especially if you’re into the old-fashioned look. Marius made an Instructable documenting the project, and the files are available on Thingiverse. Check out his blog for information about the development project, but you’ll have to translate it from French.

Continue past the jump for more images, including pictures taken with the printed camera.
(more…)

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The Neo-Artist: Last chance to get involved

Time is ticking – Kickstarter campaign ends 4pm Friday EDT

When we recently discovered The Neo-Artist, it seemed like Lincoln Kamm was living the dream. He has developed an expertise in helping creative people find ways to produce and sell their work using the latest in digital manufacturing technologies, and now he wants to share it with you.

All of his knowledge (and a few extra practical perks) are condensed into the publication The Neo-Artist, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign that wraps up on Friday July 12 at 4pm EDT.

A nice snapshot of what The Neo-Artist is all about can be seen in the clip above, where Lincoln is interviewed by 3D Printer World. Watch the interview to discover more about the campaign, as well as cat-breading and other insights into Lincoln’s creative world that led him to share his expertise in The Neo-Artist.

If you need a little convincing to get involved in this campaign, one of the perks for backers is to receive discounted consultation time with Lincoln himself on your own projects. Imagine having personal, one-on-one time with an expert in making a success of making! Jump on board before it’s too late.

via Kickstarter

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AtFAB launches a line of furniture using locally distributed manufacturing

Show your support for the next industrial revolution.

AtFAB has developed a new line of furniture to be produced using locally distributed manufacturing for the consumer market. They are asking for backers through their kickstarter campaign to help fund the first few, pilot, production centers. Later, they will integrate their production with Ponoko and 100kGarages to make their production system truly local.

Locally distributed manufacturing has been around for a little while, but it has been mostly limited to the maker/DIY community. It simply isn’t accessible enough for most people. AtFAB already has considerable experience developing digitally fabricated furniture in the maker community, and now they are using that knowledge to launch a line of furniture for the consumer market. AtFAB will deliver flatpacked furniture, complete with hardware and instructions, to your door.
(more…)

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