6 resources to get you started on a lasercut cardboard project

rocketships, sliceforms, perfect packaging, and file optimization

We’re throwing our second Prototyping Party and giving away FREE cardboard for the rest of the month when you make something with Ponoko.

To give you some design ideas we put together a post of 20 inspirational designs made from cardboard.

With just two a little over two weeks left on this promotion, it’s time to get down to business. So here are 6 resources to get you started.


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NEW material: laser-cuttable cardstock in 3 colors!

cardstock comes to Ponoko US = a whole new range of things to make!

Awhile back we gave our most frequent customers the chance to tell us what new material they wanted to see in the Ponoko materials catalog, and we promised to add the top two materials by the end of the year.

We brought on matte black silicone rubber last month, and today we’re announcing CARDSTOCK!

We even let our top users vote on what colors they most wanted, so we’ve got black, ivory, and red.

The cardstock laser engraves really well. It looks awesome, to be honest. And one trick you can do is use a medium vector engraving line to create perfect fold lines. Because it’s paper, its 100% recyclable and can be easily joined with glue or tape.

And you can buy a sample of our new cardstock materials for $2.50 each.


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Awesome laser cut bendy corners

Laser cutting technique for bending plywood

I’m a big fan of UK open-source & DIY company oomlout. I used their work as the basis of my laser cut project box design tutorial back in August.

They’re back again with a new construction technique that I can’t wait to try out. By simply creating a series of alternating slots in a length of plywood, it is possible to create flexible flowing curves: something that has always been challenging with the two-dimensional nature of laser cutting. They have provided their design files in a wide range of different formats so you can start experimenting with curves in your next laser cut project.

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Tutorial: Guide to optimising lines for laser cutting

Optimise your files before uploading to save laser cutting time and money

optimising laser cut files

Ponoko’s recent prototyping party reminded me how important effective nesting parts in laser cut files is. This guide is about optimising line work to achieve faster cuts and thereby saving money. Cutting time is generally the most expensive component when ordering from Ponoko. In the forums recently, people shared their methods of saving money, but I think nesting line work requires greater exploration…

David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly article on personal fabrication for Ponoko. You can follow him on Twitter @dizymac

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The finishing touch: filled laser engraving tutorial

A simple technique for making your laser engraving stand out
Rich Decibels Exenterator
This week I finished a project I’ve been developing for a while: the Rich Decibels Exenterator. Sound samples and technical details and so on are available on my blog but for this post I just wanted to demonstrate my engraving-filling technique. For me it is the ideal way to add labels to my DIY electronics gadgets.

Check out the full step-by-step tutorial on the forum.

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Tutorial: how to design a laser-cut enclosure for your DIY electronics

A case design case study

I’ve just written up a step-by-step tutorial detailing the process of designing an electronics enclosure from concept to completion. It covers circuit design and layout, laser-cut construction techniques, and little extras like accounting for kerf and dog-boning corners to reduce stress.

Be sure to send any questions my way, and I’ll do my best to answer them on the forum.

For some awesome examples of this kinda thing, check out this blog post on custom, laser-cut enclosures created by Ponoko customers.

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Tutorial: using repeat patterns for laser etching

Add some pattern to your lasercut designs

Ponoko’s Josh Reuss has put together another quick tutorial that’s fun, easy, and a great way to jazz up your lasercut designs.

Josh walks you through using Adobe Illustrator and free pattern packs to create a design file that will have the patterned parts laser-etched.

Check out the tutorial and start etching patterns on your Personal Factory made products.

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Ponoko Project Guides

Free resource for running a design project with Ponoko.  Design, educate, inspire.

Are you a student wanting to design and make a something real? Are you an educator looking for an engaging project that will inspire your students to explore new technologies and create tangible products? 

Well, here at Ponoko we have created Project Guides – a super-useful step by step resource for structuring a design course or a project using the Ponoko system. 

Amongst other features, the Project Guides cover the possibilities of laser cutting, material suggestions, file formatting, costs and timeframes.   

We’ve also included some fantastic case examples from various institutions that have used Ponoko for design courses.

The Project Guides are suitable for any level of design education. After all, if you can use a computer, you can make with Ponoko.

Download the Project Guides and unleash some serious inspiration!

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A Precise Fit With Ponoko

Inkscape Instructable to help your 2d designs fit just right

Carol Wang is nutty about knots, and she’s also untangled the mysteries of laser cutting with this fantastic feature on Instructables.

In a handy companion to our own article on the same topic, Carol runs through a series of tests that help determine how to achieve snug fits in acrylic, particularly when combining different colours that interlock.

Not only will it help your 2d designs come out the way you want them to; you’ll also save money and time by ensuring all your measurements are right before making the first cut.

There’s no need to get yourself in a knot over tolerances…

Read the full breakdown from Carol on Instructables

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Isometric Drawing in Inkscape

guest tutorial from Edgar Castelo

Isometric perspective is a way to illustrate 3D objects using the object’s exact dimensions. It’s different from true perspective, because in true perspective things look smaller/shorter with distance.

Although you probably wouldn’t send in an isometric file in for digital making, it’s a great technique for technical renderings of your 3D designs.

Ponoko fan and avid Facebook “liker”, Edgar Castelo, created a tutorial for doing isometric drawing with Inkscape and has given us permission to share it on the blog. Although this tutorial uses Inkscape, it works well for any vector software. ::

Let’s pretend we want to figure this piece, with text, and a hole:


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