New! Streamlined Support for Photochemical Machining

Making with metal just got a whole lot easier.

We are thrilled to announce new streamlined support for Photochemical Machining. Previously, if you wanted to create something using Brass, Copper or Stainless Steel, you had to take an extra step to email us the extra details of your order.

Now you can upload PCM design files directly to your Personal Factory account. In addition, you can now upload and get a quote for metal parts along with Laser Cut & 3D Printed designs at the same time, all in one order.

How to make with Photochemical Machining (PCM):

  1. Prepare and save your vector design as a PDF using our Metal Machining Starter Kits.
  2. Upload your PDF to your Personal Factory account.
  3. Select your choice of metal materials and proceed to checkout as usual.

That’s it! You’re now on your way to receiving some awesome metal goodies in your mailbox. Please note: The design requirements for PCM are slightly different from laser cutting with other materials. You’ll want to be sure to read through our design guides before uploading your designs.

If you have any questions about Photochemical Machining don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Related posts:

Announcing Support for AutoCAD

Now you can upload DXF files directly from AutoCAD

You asked for it, you got it! You can now take DXF files exported from AutoCAD and upload them directly to your Personal Factory.

In addition, we’re thrilled to announce a brand-spanking-new starter kit for AutoCad, including a new design guide and design templates.

You can check out the new AutoCAD design guide here, and download the new design templates here.

Support for AutoCAD is still brand new, so if you’ve got any feedback or tips for improvement, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Related posts:

Top 10 Most Obscure Materials of 2014

Exploring some of the lesser-known materials in the Ponoko catalogue.

With 80+ materials available in the Ponoko catalouge, it’s understandable that a handful of them might fly under the radar. While classics like Bamboo & Walnut MDF might take up the spotlight, the Ponoko materials catalogue is rich with hidden gems.

Join us as we count down the top 10 deep cuts, b-sides, and unsung heroes of the Ponoko materials catalog:

(more…)

Related posts:

Annual Letter from Ponoko Founder / CEO

Happy 2015 to you.

Full Printed from nueveojos on Vimeo.

Hi, I’m Derek Elley, a founder and the CEO of Ponoko (since Jan 2013).

Thanks big for being on our journey to lay some foundations of the 3rd industrial revolution together.

We believe in distributed digital mass production.

That is, consumers will continue to increase the number of products they download and make at home. Kinda like a ‘digital Ikea’ experience to start, followed by a ‘Star Trek Replicator’ down the track. And businesses will continue to increase their supply of digital products, simply because it’s more profitable to do so.

During 2014, we continued to obsess over delivering you the fastest way to make your custom products & build your creative businesses, using our online laser cutting & 3D printing services … made & shipped as fast as same day, no minimum order size, endless free instant quotes, on-demand production, all backed by our 100% re-make guarantee (and our new customer delight policy, whereby we reward you for giving us the opportunity to make good).

We LOVE playing our small part in your creative and business explorations. Thank you (!) for another great year in 2014 …

2014 – PEOPLE USING PONOKO

* Makers / Designers.

* ETSY Sellers.

* Kickstarter Entrepreneurs.

* Creative Agencies.

* Brands & Businesses.

2014 – YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

* 70,000+ new product ideas submitted to Ponoko.

* 400,000+ custom products now made by Ponoko.

* $370,000+ Kickstarter campaigns using Ponoko.

* $1,720,000+ revenues earned from products you made using Ponoko and sold on marketplaces (like ETSY & Kickstarter), your websites, your stalls, your retailers, and our website.

2014 – IMPROVEMENTS WE MADE FOR YOU

We added the following major features (and many more behind the scenes or smaller features):

* Up to 55% off making costs for volume orders.

* Up to 55% off making costs for loyal customers.

* 100% off shipping costs for all orders over $100.

* Average of 20% off shipping costs with our new USPS service.

* 100% faster making time for our premium service (from 1 day to same day).

* 33% faster making time for our standard service (from 12 to 8 calendar days).

* 14% more materials, including our first $2,500 material design challenge.

* UX – Making your first product is easier with our new homepage and welcome experience.

* UX – Uploading your designs is easier with our new design trouble shooting experience.

* UX – Getting an instant online quote is easier after we cut away the noise.

* UX – Checking out is easier after we cut away lots more noise.

* New customer delight policy – in addition to our 100% re-make guarantee, we also reward you for giving us the opportunity to make good.

2014 – BIGGEST SURPRISE

* We A/B tested many many things. While most progressed to a product upgrade, there was one notable test that did not.

* Our hypothesis was: “Customers get frustrated when our automated design file checker rejects their design files, making it difficult to make things.”

* So we ran an A/B test to dis/prove this … A = no change (the file checker continued, meaning 30% of designs are rejected) … B = change (no file checker at all, meaning 100% of designs are accepted).

* The winner? Draw (hence we retained A).

* We really thought your behaviour would vote for B by a long stretch, but you did not – this really surprised us, and shows the power of A/B testing.

2015 – OUR PLAN

We believe in distributed digital mass production, a disruptor of the current centralised analog mass production model.

Hence, in 2007 we launched the world’s first website for designers to make and sell downloadable product designs (open/paid/free) to consumers.

Building upon this heritage, we have 2 major projects this year …

1) Improve Our Online Laser Cutting Service

For makers / designers, ETSY sellers, Kickstarter entrepreneurs, creative agencies plus brands & businesses, we’ll announce the following upgrades to our current service:

* AutoCAD DXF designs – get instant online quotes for laser cutting.

* Metal cutting – get instant online quotes using PDF designs.

* Rewards – for referring others.

* Pricing – new options.

* Materials & samples – more.

* Shipping – lower costs & faster.

* UX – a shopping cart so you can easily combine designs into a single shipment, and you don’t need to upload your designs repetitively to order repetitively.

* Loyalty – more for being a repeat customer.

* And lots more.

2) Launch Our New Home 3D Printing Service

For creative brands and businesses, we’ll announce a new initiative to make it simple for you to sell your products to consumers more profitably than ever before (via home 3D printers).

We believe the time is ripe for us to unveil the ‘future of making’ idea we’ve been sitting on for almost 8 years when we dreamed up Ponoko.

Please hit us up if you’d like to find out more about our new home 3D printing service.

2015 – BEST WISHES TO YOU

Finally, if you have any questions, concerns or merry-ness to share with me or our team, please feel free to email me [ derek - at - ponoko - dot - com ] or leave a comment below …

Thanks again.

Derek

Related posts:

New Consumer 3D Printing Service for Brands & Businesses

We’re launching a new service to make it simple for brands and businesses to sell your products to consumers more profitably than ever before (via local 3D printers).

We believe …

- In distributed digital mass production.

- Consumers will continue to increase product downloading & local making.

- Brands & businesses will dramatically increase their profits via product downloads to local 3D printers.

To find out more, please let us know here …

I am a brand or business who wants to profit from consumer 3D printing

* indicates required


I am a product consumer with a home 3D printer

* indicates required


Thanks! We’ll be in touch with updates and questions as we develop and launch this new service :)

Please feel free to leave comments below …

Related posts:

Top 10 Materials of 2014

Join us as we look back at the materials that hit it big in 2014.

The Ponoko Materials Catalog offers a wide variety of high quality materials for laser cutting. From those awesome new Premium materials down to plain old (but ever-so-useful) cardboard, there is a material option for every making scenario.

Join us as we take a look at the 10 most popular materials from 2014:

#10) Corrugated Cardboard – Double Layer

We start out countdown with one of our less glamorous materials: cardboard. Cardboard is a great material for prototyping your design and making it in another material later. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use cardboard in a final product. Check out these 20 inspirational designs made from good old fashioned recyclable cardboard.

Make something with cardboard! »

#9) Acrylic – White

White acrylic is one of Ponoko’s most versatile materials. To get an idea of the two opposite sides of the spectrum check out these polar bear snowflake ornaments from PepperSprouts, or this Synthesizer Enclosure from Glitched.

Make something with white acrylic! »
(more…)

Related posts:

Top 10 Seller Stories of 2014

Inspiring stories of independent designers & sellers creating products with Ponoko.

2014 was an amazing year for us and our amazingly creative customers. Ponoko customers are not only making super cool original products, they’re solving design problems for underserved markets and building successful small businesses.

#10: Laser Cut Robots Remind You to Water Your Plants

Some of us are blessed with a natural talent for caring for our houseplants. Others, however, struggle with merely keeping our houseplants alive.
Read Dickson Chow’s story about saving the lives of innocent plants everywhere with the help of his laser cut robot friends.

#9: Photochemical Machining Goes Bohemian

Rachel Dropp is the one-woman operation behind Raw Elements Jewelry, a brand that combines modern Photochemical Machining (PCM) with traditional jewelry-making techniques. The results are unique hand-crafted pieces that feature a raw, unique style.

Read Rachel’s story on how she launched a line of bohemian inspired jewelry designs, and the unique process behind these pieces.

#8 The Kyub MIDI keyboard

The Kyub is a compact, fully programmable MIDI interface that provides a new way to compose, record and perform music. Although the Kyub Music group fell short of their original Kickstarter goal – they were able to garner enough support for the product to put the Kyub into production. Read the Kyub’s story and get a first hand look a the Kyub in action.

(more…)

Related posts:

Boxing Day Only: Get 30% Off

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean the deals are too.

We’re celebrating Boxing Day with an awesome one-day deal:

From midnight tonight until 11:59pm tomorrow, get 30% off the making cost of any Laser Cutting order when you use this code – EGXYUD – at checkout here.

Happy Boxing Day!

Note: Discount good for 30% off the making costs of your order. Offer good for Free Personal Factory accounts only.

Related posts:

Ponoko Customer Captures Oakland Spirit

Oakland inspired designs from Phillip Yip

Phillip Yip is the Oakland-based engineer, designer and photographer behind Antietam Designs – laser cut jewelry modeled after Oakland city trees and other local inspirations.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay, you’re probably already familiar with Phillip’s designs. His iconic Oakland Tree bamboo earrings were recently spotted on Oakland mayor-elect Libby Schaaf in November’s campaign trail.

As far back as he can remember, Philip has always wanted to design and make things. In high school, he packed his schedule with as many art classes as he could. After studying mechanical engineering in college, Philip moved out to the SF Bay Area where he was inspired to make his own designs after attending an art & fashion show at the Galleria in San Francisco.

Phillip was drawn to Ponoko partially because he wanted to use natural materials, and keep manufacturing as local as possible. “It’s easier for me from a logistics standpoint” he says “it supports our local economy, and being able to talk to Ponoko staff in person helps me design better and more efficiently.”

Philip’s pride in his city is apparent in his work. His jewelry line draws on inspiration like the famous Oakland cranes, and some of the beautiful latte art created by local baristas.

“I live in Oakland, California, and like many residents here, I’m proud to call Oakland home. I want to create pieces that reflect that and celebrate our city. I also enjoy good coffee and was inspired to make pieces based on some of the beautiful latte art that baristas here create.”

I asked Philip what he loved about Ponoko, and he cited how easy it is to use Ponoko’s service. “Ponoko has a wide material selection and already has the laser settings dialed in for each material,” he says “so there’s no need to experiment with the laser cutter itself. I like that I can upload files easily and get an instant quote. I haven’t found anyone else who offers such a seamless experience.”

Phillip offers up the following advice to other designers/sellers:

“I think it’s worth the effort to experiment a lot and try a bunch of prototypes. If you are trying to sell in stores, I also recommend getting in touch with local retailers, as the ones I have dealt with have been extremely supportive.”

In addition to Antietam Designs, Philip’s designs are available at his ETSY shop, or you can get them in person at Oaklandish.

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

Related posts:

Buy One, Get One Free — Buy a Ponoko Gift Voucher, Get a FREE Making Coupon

Go Get it From Now Until Tuesday December 23rd !

Who’s that coming down the chimney? It’s Voucher Claus again! And he’s got a mittenful of glowing BOGO Ponoko vouchers.

If you know someone who makes stuff, then you know someone who would love a Ponoko voucher. And the best part of giving this gift is that you get a little something for yourself.

Vouchers are emailed as PDFs so you can print them off for stocking stuffers or keep it virtual.

Buy a Gift Voucher by 11:59 pm Tuesday December 23rd and get a FREE Making Coupon!

• Buy $1,000 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $500 Making Coupon.
• Buy $500 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $225 Making Coupon.
• Buy $250 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $110 Making Coupon.
• Buy a $100 Gift Voucher – get a FREE $40 Making Coupon.
• Buy a $50 Gift Voucher – get a FREE $20 Making Coupon.
• Buy a $25 Gift Voucher – get a FREE $10 Making Coupon.

What’s the difference you ask?
A *Gift Voucher* is good for any part of a make-it-yourself order: making, materials and shipping. A *Making Coupon* is good for the making costs only (i.e. the actual laser cutting).

Both these Gift Vouchers and Making Coupons can be used with both Ponoko Free and Prime accounts!


Please see our Gift Voucher Guidelines and our Making Coupon Guidelines for all the important fine print.

Related posts: