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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Build a 3D printer at home (really)

Detailed instructions for a Stereolithographic 3D printer on Instructables.

Rob Hopeless has posted an Instructable showing how to build a Stereolithographic 3D printer at home as part of the Instructables contest to win an Epilog Laser cutter. If you read through the tutorial, I think you’ll agree that he is a serious contender in the competition.

He went all out on this Instructable. There is a parts list, including companies who sell every part, plenty of photos at every step, downloadable files for a CNC (ok, so you probably can’t do this part at home), and 3D diagrams explaining the assembly.
(more…)

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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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3D Modeling mesh decimation tutorial in Blender

Low polygon mesh tutorial image

The faceted low polygon look is en vogue judging by how many design blogs are featuring furniture, consumer and transport products designed with this look.

This tutorial looks at a simple feature in Blender 2.59a that helps reduce the polygon count of your models while maintaining a watertight mesh for 3d printing


David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly 3D print or CNC article for Ponoko. You can follow him on Twitter @dizymac

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Comic-style introduction to Arduino

A guide for visual learners:
Getting started with open-source programming

Jody Culkin is an artist of broad and impressive talents, and she’s done something wonderful for the DIY electronics community with one of her recent projects.

It’s not an award-winning sculpture, nor an emotive photograph or whimsical animation… this time, she has turned her hand towards helping newcomers get their head around just what this Arduino thing is all about.

The comic-style introduction has been CC-licensed for all to enjoy, and can be downloaded in full right here.

More than a guide to the ins and outs of the Arduino platform, this is also a handy introduction to electronics projects in general.

Introduction to Arduino via Boing Boing

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Getting started in DIY electronics

Victorian synthesizers, laser microphones, and space explorers
Nic Collins' Trombone-Propelled Electronics
If you haven’t had any sort of training in electronics, it can be a daunting world to get started in. It’s no use having someone talk about what you can do with an Arduino if you haven’t first been shown the basics of how circuits work, or say, what you can do with just a battery and a speaker. (more…)

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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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Incredible pictures from Junior’s DIY 3D printer

This homemade printer has achieved a remarkable level of detail.

Back in May we featured a story about the ultra high detail 3D printer being developed by Junior Veloso. He recently posted the incredible pictures you can see above and below. Instead of using the extrusion process favored by the RepRap and Makerbot, Junior is using UV-sensitive resin and a projector. This process uses far fewer moving parts and can achieve much greater detail at a low cost.

Follow the progress of his project on his blog as he develops his printer for sale.

Via Shapeways

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Tutorial: creating spaceship models with Shipwright and Blender

The creator of Entoforms evolves some spaceships

Shipwright is a Blender addon by the creator of Entoforms (previously covered here) that generates spaceships from a file full of existing parts and a user-inputted “DNA” string. The resulting models are complex, but they are printable.

I’ve just added a new tutorial to the Ponoko forums that covers how to use Shipwright.

(And check out 3D printing with Personal Factory if you want to print out your spaceship model.)


Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

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