Ponoko + Kickstarter = Designer’s Dream
We covered this briefly before, but it’s going bananas! So we thought it was a good idea to introduce how designers are using Ponoko and Kickstarter to make and sell their products.
Jeremy Williams is a San Francisco based engineer and video game enthusiast with a passion for pixel art. His latest project, the Game Frame, is a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art anywhere. Jeremy’s product on Kickstarter just passed $100,000, and is trending to hit over $150,000 before closing.
The Game Frame was initially just a fun personal project – Jeremy loves 8-bit pixel art and wanted to find a way to display it on his walls – but after his prototype was demonstrated for Tested in June, the positive feedback inspired him to see if he could turn the Game Frame into a real product.
Using laser cut parts from Ponoko, Jeremy went through several iterations to refine his design. After months of prototyping, and multiple prototypes, Jeremy arrived at a Game Frame that was sleeker looking, cheaper to build, and easier to use.
With a new Game Frame in hand Jeremy set out to test the market viability of his new product. There’s many ways to do this, like setting up a website, an ETSY store, or selling at a local event. But he decided to use Kickstarter to put his product directly in front of potential customers to gauge interest in the Game Frame, and to gain pre-orders to fund his first production run.
The enthusiasm was overwhelming. Within 4.5 hours the Game Frame had met it’s initial goal of $15,000. Within a week, he had over $50,000 in backing. As at press time, Jeremy has already sold 448 Game Frames = $107,123 and counting!
Now comes the fun part: Jeremy will spend the coming months fulfilling the orders for his Kickstarter backers, wiring the PCBs, soldering LEDs, & assembling laser cut frames using his Personal Factory at Ponoko. The first orders are scheduled to ship in June.
Jeremy’s story is an inspiring example of how you can take a cool idea, make it real at low cost with Ponoko, and discover a whole market you never knew you had.
We’ll be following this and letting you know more about how to use Ponoko and Kickstarter as the story unfolds.
If you’re interested in starting your own product line too, you can signup for free here to make and sell your own products.
The Game Frame gives you a dose of 8-bit nostalgia.
The Game Frame is a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art and old-school video game graphics.
Game Frame creator Jeremy Williams got the idea after playing a virtual arcade that featured game artwork hung on the wall. “After searching fruitlessly to buy something like that in the real world, I decided to make it myself” said Williams.
Backers can pre-order a fully assembled unit at the $230 level, or assemble their own for $150.
The campaign ends March 9. For more on Game Frame, check out the Kickstarter video below.
mini Arduino laser cutter & engraver kits
There was plenty of excited chatter when Greg Holloway posted his MicroSlice laser cutter on Instructables last year. Much of this involved people asking “where, when and how can I get one?” Well, the good news is that this diminutive digital manufacturing device is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, and the pledges are coming in fast.
The MicroSlice is a nifty little unit. Once you take a closer look, it is easy to see why it won the 2013 Instructables Radioshack Microcontroller Contest. Imagine a laser cutter that sits on your desktop. Not impressed? Consider that it sits on your desktop, and takes up less space than a bowl of cereal. Less space than a takeout container. Less space than a burger with the lot. In fact it takes up less space than the power supply from a regular sized laser cutter.
The MicroSlice is a Build-It-Yourself kit, uses Open Source Software, and can be easily assembled at home by just about anyone.
The MicroSlice can cut paper, and engrave wood & plastic. Kits include an Arduino UNO R3 as well as 97 laser-cut parts and all necessary hardware to get up and running. The laser diode is a 100mw red laser, similar to what you’d find inside a DVD-RW drive. An option is available to supercharge the MicroSlice with a 200mw laser.
With a truly miniature work area of 50mm x 50mm (2″ x 2″) users will be choosing their projects carefully. For bigger projects, there is always Ponoko.
Learn more, watch videos of the MicroSlice in action, and make a pledge over at Kickstarter.
The New America – is this the future of film making?
Two years in the making and consisting of over 800 individual laser etched wooden panels, The New America is an animation spectacular from film maker Nando Costa.
No stranger to the digital realm, Costa has created a unique bridge between the digitally produced physical object and the moving image. The largely abstract animation is pieced together from 8×4.5 inch panels of laser etched maple, resulting in an interesting visual effect as the wood grain changes from frame to frame.
The final production was made possible following a successful Kickstarter campaign, where contributors were rewarded with (amongst other things) actual panels from the film. Is The New America an insight into our future? Aside from any messages secreted within the animation itself, it certainly is interesting to see how laser cutting can be utilised in new ways. When reflecting on the process, Costa acknowledged that it was “a lot of hard work and stress” to bring The New America to life.
Click through to discover what the fuss is all about! See the clip after the break. (more…)
Time is ticking – Kickstarter campaign ends 4pm Friday EDT
When we recently discovered The Neo-Artist, it seemed like Lincoln Kamm was living the dream. He has developed an expertise in helping creative people find ways to produce and sell their work using the latest in digital manufacturing technologies, and now he wants to share it with you.
All of his knowledge (and a few extra practical perks) are condensed into the publication The Neo-Artist, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign that wraps up on Friday July 12 at 4pm EDT.
A nice snapshot of what The Neo-Artist is all about can be seen in the clip above, where Lincoln is interviewed by 3D Printer World. Watch the interview to discover more about the campaign, as well as cat-breading and other insights into Lincoln’s creative world that led him to share his expertise in The Neo-Artist.
If you need a little convincing to get involved in this campaign, one of the perks for backers is to receive discounted consultation time with Lincoln himself on your own projects. Imagine having personal, one-on-one time with an expert in making a success of making! Jump on board before it’s too late.
Smarter than the average tool.
As wonderful as CNC milling machines are, they aren’t exactly portable. Material has to transported to and from the location of the machine, and it has to fit within the work area. The Handibot is small enough to bring with you to a work site, and it can be placed wherever it’s needed on material of almost any size.
The Handibot is something between a traditional power tool and a CNC mill. It’s a power tool made smarter with a lot of help from apps and digital fabrication techniques. Learn more about it and get one for yourself on the (already) fully-funded kickstarter campaign.
Show your support for the next industrial revolution.
AtFAB has developed a new line of furniture to be produced using locally distributed manufacturing for the consumer market. They are asking for backers through their kickstarter campaign to help fund the first few, pilot, production centers. Later, they will integrate their production with Ponoko and 100kGarages to make their production system truly local.
Locally distributed manufacturing has been around for a little while, but it has been mostly limited to the maker/DIY community. It simply isn’t accessible enough for most people. AtFAB already has considerable experience developing digitally fabricated furniture in the maker community, and now they are using that knowledge to launch a line of furniture for the consumer market. AtFAB will deliver flatpacked furniture, complete with hardware and instructions, to your door.
One man’s mission to solve the economic downturn for creative people.
Lincoln Kamm spent 12 years in the animation industry before breaking out and producing his own works. He has since met with notable success with six-figure sales and is now helping others learn how they too can do the same.
In an upcoming publication The Neo-Artist, Lincoln expands on his college lecture series and consulting experience. The book is a treasure-trove of knowledge that aims to teach creative people about the latest in high-tech hardware and software for turning ideas into real physical objects.
Topics covered include 3D printing and laser cutting, designing custom electronics, clothing and more. Most importantly, The Neo-Artist will also show how to make other aspects of the available technologies work for you to help market and sell your work. It’s perfect for makers who are just starting out and will still have plenty to offer those who have been in business for years, guiding them to the next level and beyond.
So if you are a creative person who’s into technology, be sure to take part in The Neo-Artist Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge to secure yourself a copy of the book. It’s time to leave the rat race behind.
Ponoko-made project by Kevin Taylor
Kevin Taylor was the ‘T’ in T&C Lures, a small business started by two guys who loved to fish in the San Diego bay. His partner (the ‘C’ in T&C) was taking a CNC machining class and “just wanted the challenge” of creating his own lures. Their first product, the swimgrub shown below, made the rounds at fishing forums and quickly became very popular.
But after just a few months of starting the company, C moved on and Kevin was left to carry on design and production. He would either have to pay a lot of money to a product development agency or learn to do it himself. So he decided to dive in and learn.
After some initial research on CAD and rapid prototyping, he came across SketchUp 3D design software and Ponoko’s 3D printing service.
Rather than make CNC machined masters for molding the lures and bait, Kevin decided to try 3D printed models. Below are images of his SketchUp designs as well as a model he produced with Rhino.