Awesome Laser Cut Robots That Fit in Your Pocket

Ponoko-made pocket sized robots by Junichi Tsuneoka.

Junichi Tsuneoka is the illustrator and designer behind CHIBIPOCKET – collectable laser cut robot toys that combine traditional woodworking techniques with digital laser fabrication.

Junichi has been a graphic designer since 2002, creating vibrant character-driven illustrations for his company Stubborn Sideburn. In 2012, he was inspired to jump into making three dimensional art when one of his clients hired him to design their vinyl toys:

“When I first got the sample I really liked the idea of my design becoming a 3D form. I had been doing only flat print projects till then so it was very refreshing for me. I wanted to do more 3D projects to expand my design possibilities.”

Junichi experimented with several production methods ranging from soft vinyl, plastic mold and 3D printing before landing on laser wood cutting. “It’s very close to how I usually design graphics and print digitally” he explains, “yet there is a bit of crafting quality.”

His first robot figurine was meant to be more of a personal project rather than a product line, but after showing it around it became clear there was a lot of interest in the idea. “I got a lot of good feedback plus I really enjoyed making it,” he says, “so I decided to expand the project.”

Junichi used his Personal Factory to instantly price lots of design iterations while expanding his new product line:

“It’s very handy that you can see the price right away when you upload the file” he said, “it gives me a chance to modify the file so I can control the price really easily.”

By digitally prototyping with in this way, Junichi was able to control costs early so he could stay competitive at the retail level later on.

CHIBIPOCKET was inspired by the types of toys Junichi grew up carrying around in his pocket. ‘Chibi’ is a Japanese term for ‘short person’ or ‘small child’. In popular culture, chibi has mostly referred to characters with oversized heads and small bodies – similar to babies – to emphasize cuteness and child-like spirit. “My original concept of the whole product line is about my childhood memory.” he says, “So I decided to do pocketable art/toys.”

When I asked what initially drew him to Ponoko, Junichi explained that speed is key:

“When I work with individual laser cut service, I had to spend quite a bit of time giving instructions for custom jobs and communicating back and forth.” he explains. “That would cause errors and a lot of extra time to spend. I don’t have to experience that with Ponoko.”

Each figurine combines several pieces of laser cut bamboo and fluorescent acrylic, which is then hand-sanded and finished with Sumi Ink to bring the characters to life.

What’s on the horizon for Junichi? CHIBIPOCKET was recently commissioned by totem resolve to make all the 10 Wu Tang Clan members into handmade bamboo toys:


Left to right: GZA, RZA, UGOD, Cappa Donna & Ghost Face

Junichi’s robots are available at CHIBIPOCKET.

Inspired to create your own product line? Make it with Ponoko!

Related posts:

Bonded Forever: Jewelry that Unites Cancer Patients and their Families

Bonded Forever designs and sells jewelry for cancer patients, survivors and their families. A portion of the proceeds from every sale are donated to cancer research and patient care.
Bonded Forever Jewelry

In September 2010, Cassandra Hoo faced a difficult situation that ultimately served the as inspiration behind her jewelry company, Bonded Forever.

When her mother was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, Cassandra Hoo wanted to give her a gift that would help her feel grounded, safe, & surrounded by love. “I designed and made a beautiful pair of earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace with semiprecious gemstone beads that I thought would create a soothing, nurturing, and positive effect on her.”

Solar System Pendants

Soon the jewelry became a hit with friends and family, and Cassandra was inspired to create an entire line of jewelry that could help bond people together during hard times.

With her mother 100% cancer-free, Cassandra teamed up with Ponoko to do her part to help cancer patients and their families.

“A friend of mine, who is professional jewelry maker and designer, suggested that I try Ponoko. I was really pleased that Ponoko offered so many materials and the flexibility of making as much or as little product as I wanted.”

With a little help from her graphic design inclined father, Cassandra created a new laser-cut jewelry line that showcased her beautiful logo.

In addition to her site, Cassandra sells her jewelry at trunk shows and craft fairs locally in the Philadelphia area. Cassandra is also raising funds by participating in this year’s “Get Your Rear in Gear” Philly run.

You can purchase Bonded Forever pendants and more at Bonded Forever Jewelry, and read her blog at bondedforever.org

Inspired to design your own product line? Make it with Ponoko!

Related posts:

Pinecone Patterned Animal Ornaments & Wintery Woodland Decor

Ponoko-made products by Yvonne Laube

The inspiration for Yvonne Laube’s adorable animal mobiles, switch plates, night lights, and holiday ornaments initially came while she was decorating the nursery for her newborn son.

“I was looking for pieces that were clean-lined and both modern and traditional,” she says. But when she couldn’t find quite what she was looking for, she decided to make her own designs with Ponoko’s laser cutting service.

And luckily for her, Yvonne’s single entry into last year’s YippieYay contest won her the opportunity to try Ponoko free for a whole year.

(more…)

Related posts:

Photographer Creates Camera Accessories for 150 yr old Photo Technique

Establishes In Camera Industries in Portland, Oregon

Photographer Jody Ake creates haunting images that capture the subject with incredible dimensionality.

He works with a wet collodion process, a method dating back to the 1850s. “The end results are ambrotypes, appearing on glass in the form of a negative until backed by black velvet, thus rendering the positive image,” he explains on his website.

The photographic plate holder Jody uses in his practice “finally deteriorated to the point that it was no longer useable, and finding a well made replacement was imposable. The lack of reliable plate holders inspired me to start making my own.”

So in addition to fine art photography and commission work, Jody started In Camera Industries — a small business selling accessories for in camera photography.

Specifically, In Camera Industries sells high quality, photographic plate holders that can be used for “wet collodion (ambrotype/tintypes),
paper negatives, dry plate, daguerreotypes, and any in camera process.”

(more…)

Related posts:

Think You’re Too Busy to Start Your Own Product Line? ROBOMUSTACHE Proves it’s Possible!

Ponoko-made products from Charles Wade

Charles Wade is a busy guy. He works at a newspaper in North Carolina doing graphic design, web development, social media, and IT; and teaches graphic design and multi media at a nearby college.

But despite his packed schedule, Charles was able to start a product line in time to sell at a local festival.

His side business, ROBOMUSTACHE, sells blocky wooden animals and robots, printed paper craft creatures, and more.

(more…)

Related posts:

Spin your own Wool Yarn with the Electric Eel Wheel

Maurice Ribble designs a hardware hit for fiber hobbyists.

Spinning wheels always bring to mind fairy tales: Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold in exchange for a maiden’s first born child, Sleeping Beauty cursedly pricking her finger on the spindle.

But luckily, Maurice Ribble’s story isn’t so grim (pun intended.) Maurice is a computer engineer who lives with his wife Emily in the Boston area. “I always say my wife’s first love is knitting because she’s done it for much longer than she’s known me,” he says.

Emily often spins her own yarn for her knitting projects and totes a manual spinning wheel to her knitting group. “The mechanics of the spinning wheel were fascinating to my engineering mind and her need to travel with it gave me some great reasons to set about making a very portable, electric spinning wheel,” Maurice explains.

Soon he had requests from Emily’s friends to make them one too. “One thing lead to another, and now you can buy them on the internet,” he says. And lots of people are buying them.

(more…)

Related posts:

Design Star: 22-year old vlogger celeb Karen Kavett brings you interrobang jewelry!

and silver mirror ampersands!

With nearly 2 million views and over 43,000 subscribers to her design-meets-DIY YouTube channel, Karen Kavett clearly knows how to build an audience.

At just 22 years old, Karen works full-time as a video blogger and freelance designer in San Francisco.

She’s been creating videos on crafting, graphic design, “and other nerdy stuff” since 2008. She’s signed with one of the top online video agencies and her design work ranges from UX for YouTube to cover illustration for a NYT best selling author.

And she’s recently decided to expand her brand to a line of typographically inspired jewelry she makes with the help of Ponoko’s laser cutting service.

Let Karen introduce herself to you — and get a look at her mirrored acrylic ampersand necklace — in the video below.

(more…)

Related posts:

Laser cut kit lets you build your own honeymoon

Ponoko-made project by Michiel Post van der Molen

“I had known about Ponoko for a long time,” says Michiel, “but never had a great reason to use the service.”

That reason finally came while he and his soon-to-be wife Jo-Ann planned their Berkeley, California wedding. “Many of our guests were traveling from different countries, and we wanted to give them something special to say thanks for making the journey,” Michiel explains.

His idea was to use our laser cutting service to create a DIY kit that let people build their own honeymoon scenes.

(more…)

Related posts:

Creating cloudscape sculptures from laser cut layers

Ponoko-made project by Helen Reynolds

“Clouds are such a beautiful expression of the way landscape systems function” says Helen Reynolds, an artist and instructor of landscape architecture in Wellington, New Zealand. Last year she began a series of work exploring cloud shape and formation, including a sculptural installation she created with the help of Ponoko’s laser cutting service.

“Changes in the landscape make changes in the cloudscape, and I love that connection,” Helen explains of her initial interest in the subject. “They’re the responses of water vapor in the contracting or expanding atmosphere and castles in the sky.”

After creating several drawings and hand-cut cloud sculptures, Helen decided to use laser cutting for a project proposal that had been accepted for exhibition at the Dowse Museum of Art.

(more…)

Related posts:

Dapper DIY — make your own bow ties!

Ponoko-made project by Jay Thomson

Jay Thomson wears a bow tie to work every day. “[People] get a kick out of seeing them, and they often will strike up a conversation with me about my tie. They’re always amazed when they find out I make many of the ties I wear,” Jay writes on his website Lavaguy.com

He wanted to wear a different tie every day, but between his day job of managing the gift store at The Barnes Foundation museum, painting beautiful abstractions, and designing fabric patterns, he was having a hard time finding the hours it took to make a single tie.

So Jay decided to find a way to streamline the bow tie making process. He designed 7 different tie shapes and used Ponoko’s laser cutting service to create acrylic templates (shown in action in the photo above).

(more…)

Related posts: