Photo frame jewelry turns your Instagrams into accessories

Ponoko-made products by Monique Malcom

“I’ve taken up photography as a hobby, and I love Instagram but I haven’t printed a photo in years,” says Monique Malcom. It’s something lots of us in this digital photo age can relate to. But Monique thinks there are some photos that are “just too amazing to be locked in the digital dungeon.”

Being a fulltime creator and “Chief Everything Officer” of her own tshirt line Antisparkle, she saw a product design opportunity.

So she created Instasparkle — a line of lasercut photo frame jewelry — to encourage people to show off their beautiful pics. Her colorful necklaces, broaches, and rings can each hold a 1″x1″ photo print.

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Miniature midcentury furniture for your modern dollhouse

Ponoko-made project by Diana and Shamir Colloff

A few months ago, San Francisco couple Diana and Shamir opened an Etsy shop called Cufflinks Cowboy Boots. And yes, initially it sold cufflinks in the shape of cowboy boots.

But in addition to the growing number of cufflink designs, the shop has also started selling a series of modern dollhouse furnishings.

“There are only a few stores that sell dollhouse items, and almost all of them focus on Victorian-age furniture, like stuff you would see in your grandma’s house,” says Diana.

“I have three dollhouses and wanted to furnish them in a contemporary/modern style, but there weren’t enough choices out there.” That’s where Ponoko’s lasercutting service came in.

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Kickstarting a landmine detonator

Mine Kafon: a low cost, wind powered mine detonator

Of all the maker projects I saw in 2012, Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon stands out in my mind as the most valuable contribution to global society.  Hassani grew up in Qasaba, Kabul in Afghanistan, he is now an industrial designer living in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In his studies at university, Hassani recognised that the current means of land mine removal hasn’t had a lot of development in the last 60 years, it is still a labourous, dangerous, slow and expensive operation.  Mine Kafon is designed as a low cost solution to the problem of old, but still active, land mines. It is a land mine detonator inspired in part by childhood toys that Hassani and his friends crafted from cheap materials. (more…)

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Ponoko unboxing of lasercut Kickstarter rewards

Ponoko-made project by Garland West

Ever wondered what it’s like to get a shipment from Ponoko? The video shows Garland West, an artist/crafter outside of Charlotte NC, unboxing her recent lasercut order featuring a variety of materials and sheet sizes.

You can see her peeling the protective paper and popping out her designs including bamboo business cards, acrylic jewelry, and a big red octopus.

“A lot of the items you see in the unboxing video are pledge rewards for my Kickstarter project,” she says.

“I made thank you cards from cardstock, yoga pose jewelry from bamboo, and coasters out of cork.” And the octopus? “Oh, that’s not a reward. It’s a ‘clocktopus’ project I’m working on.”

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Pro yo-yoer creates & demos flatpack lasercut yo-yo

Ponoko-made project by Drew Tetz

Drew Tetz is a professional yo-yoer who travels the country competing as part of the official Duncan Crew. When it’s not yo-yo time, he works as a graphic designer in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Drew has combined his design skills and yo-yo know-how to create a flatpack yo-yo with Ponoko. His design was a runner-up in the recent EvD lasercut toy design competition, and you can see him assemble and demo the yo-yo in the video below.

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Creating the award trophy for the Inspiring Stories national film competition

Ponoko-made project by Lu Davidson


Lu Davidson is the project coordinator behind the Inspiring Stories Trust of New Zealand, a charitable organization dedicated to telling the stories of New Zealanders who are taking action and leading change.

Her current project is organizing the 2012 film competition awards ceremony which is taking place in Wellington this Saturday, November 17 as part of the Festival of the Futureand creating trophies to present to the winners.

“Its been 9 months since we launched the Inspiring Stories National Film Competition, themed ‘Young Kiwis Making A Difference’.” Lu tells me. “This competition motivated young aspiring filmmakers to tell stories of incredible people doing awesome things in their communities and all over Aotearoa. I want to make the awards ceremony extra memorable for our young filmmaking winners.”

So Lu approached us about creating unique award trophies for each of the winners. “Josh at Ponoko suggested keeping it simple, using lasercutting with a single material. He also emphasized the importance of making a prototype.”

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Create your own jewelry by mapping your favorite places with Meshu

Ponoko-made products from Meshu founders Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang

When Rachel first moved to San Francisco, she was looking for work and knew she wanted a job in data visualization. “I was using Twitter to find potential contacts,” Rachel says. “Sha was gracious enough to meet me for dinner, and the rest is history!”

The two of them hit it off, eventually moving in together in a sunny carriage house in the Mission. And yes, Rachel landed a great job at a design studio. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Last year, Rachel and Sha sat down in a tea house and started brainstorming ideas for a side project: something that could combine their skills in design and data visualization with their love of travel.

The result was Meshu — a web-based app that brings together data visualization and digital fabrication.

Meshu lets you design products like necklaces, earrings, and cufflinks based on the connecting lines of various places.

For example, you could create a design using your Foursquare checkins or the route you took on your epic road trip. And you could have that design turned into a pair of one-of-a-kind lasercut earrings or 3D printed cufflinks.

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Artist transforms flat lasercut designs into 3D installations with heat forming

Ponoko project by Jenny Balisle

Bay Area artist Jenny Balisle works in three distinct mediums: painting, pen and ink, and sculptural installation made from heated acrylic sheets.

As explained in her artist statement, her body of work is “conceptually linked by dichotomous relationships — simple and complex, beautiful and grotesque, micro and macro perspectives, and natural and manmade environments.”

Her acrylic sculptures embody this concept by turning completely flat pieces of acrylic, which she lasercuts with Ponoko, into much more complex three-dimensional sculptures.

To achieve this, Jenny uses a heat forming technique. “It’s a delicate process,” she says. “I have to take great care not to crack or warp the acrylic or yellow the white surface.”

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Scan this, DIY lasercut business cards with QR codes

James Stokebrand leads by example. Lots of examples.


Last year James Stokebrand, a computer engineer living in Chicagoland, discovered Ponoko and decided to create some lasercut business cards.

“I was laid off in April 2011,” James explains “but I prefer to stay busy so I got the idea to create business cards with a QR code to my LinkedIn profile.”

But the first try was far from perfect. The cards were too big, corners were too sharp, and the text alignment was off. (The blurring in the images is for James’ privacy, not the result of the lasercutter.)

The second cut fixed most of the problems with the first round, but the cards — made of 3mm black acrylic — were too thick.

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What you get when you fasten Gothic flanges to a flashlight — the Magmace.

Ponoko made project by Jim Rodda

Jim Rodda introduces his Magmace as “6.8 pounds of cold-rolled, Krylon-coated, All-American neo-medieval whoop-ass.”

The Wisconsin-based maker and full-time arcade video game designer started the project by 3D printing prototypes with his Replicator. Jim then decided to get a little more hardcore and create his mace with lasercut cold-rolled steel from Ponoko.

The metal flanges are attached to a 6D cell Maglite flashlight with a pair of hose clamps. I asked Jim where he got this idea.

“I used to live in a part of the country where power went out intermittently, so it made sense to have lots of flashlights velcroed to walls around the house. So now I have like 9 different flashlights,” he explains.

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