Entries in ponoko (28)
by General Fabb
Ceramic 3D printing services are not exactly new, but there are limits to the colors offered by popular 3D printing services. Ponoko has announced the availability of black ceramic material.
Previously Ponoko offered a variety of pastel-ish colors, including Green, Pale Blue, Peach, Periwinkle, Teal, White and Yellow. The new colors include a choice of gloss or satin finish.
We think black is a great color for ceramics. The pastels are interesting, but their applicability to designs is more limited than white or (now) black. Black, an important ceramic color - or as Ponoko describes it, their "badass black".
Ponoko has announced the availability of seven different colors for their glazed ceramic 3D printing material.
They previously offered four colors, but now add Yellow, Green and Pale Blue. Even better, they're offering a discount of 10% off any orders using glazed ceramic until July 29th.
Now you can make that coffee cup with the color you always wanted. Yellow, wasn't it?
Distributed manufacturing service Ponoko has announced a new material for their 3D printers: black and white glossy plastic. This ABS plastic (for use in their Dimension 3D printers) is durable and strong - and glossy! Prices range from USD$1.88-2.00 per cubic centimetre, depending on your Ponoko membership.
Ponoko has taken a step to solving one of the biggest problems in the 3D printing/making industry today: How do you make custom items?
The problem is straightforward: 3D printers and other making devices can produce pretty much anything, once provided with a design. However, the goods produced are typically more expensive than those made by mass manufacturing. Thus, the best use of such technologies is for custom, one-off items that are highly personalized.
But how do you get a personalized or custom design? Up to now, you'd have two choices: find an existing design somewhere that miraculously matches your custom needs, or design it yourself using 3D modeling tools. Unfortunately, only 99.999 percent of the population is not capable of doing such modeling. That's a major barrier.
Enter Ponoko's Personal Factory v5. While Ponoko has long been able to make pre-fab designs, they now offer "Making Apps". Here's how it works: Ponoko shoppers will see a directory of Making Apps, and select the one that purports to make something close to what they desire. The Making App then, with the aid of shopper input, creates the required design files on the fly and then transmits them and materials specifications to one of Ponoko's manufacturing sites. A sophisticated Making App could provide different sizes of an item, or even different features. And remember, Ponoko's manufacturing services include not only 3D printing, but also CNC and Laser cutting - and electronics. One can only imagine the products that could be made using this innovative approach.
So far the "Awesome Apps" section of Ponoko's site offers only the Autodesk 123D solid modelling tool, but "coming soons" include: SketchChair (design your own chair), Magic Box (customize a variety of small goods), GTX (Buildings), Tinkercad (simple solid modeling), Facespark (printed circuits), RealGame (Trophies), Fabripod (lamps) and Housifier (Doll houses).
Well done, Ponoko guys!
Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson has joined the advisory board of Ponoko. This is a very interesting development as it indicates growing and high-profile interest in personal manufacturing. Ponoko already has some interesting characters on their advisory board, including TreeHugger's Graham Hill, CafePress' Fred Durham and DesignLedFutures' Ross Stevens.
Anderson has for a long time promoted the concept of Making, and it seems to us that he's the perfect fit for guiding Ponoko.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Personal fabrication is an amazing feat: being able to press a button and then hold a completed item in your hand a short while later. Typically Fabbaloo focuses on 3D printers as the device of choice to do that, but the reality is that such devices are limited to producing only certain types of objects. This is a fundamental constraint based on their capabilities. True manufacturing of arbitrary objects requires more than just 3D printing - there are materials and shapes that must be made with other types of build tools, such as laser cutters, ovens, grinders, etc. One of the most complex aspects is the production of electronics, which currently can't be easily done on common 3D printers. Such an array of tooling is usually not available to the home designer.
However, it's possible to outsource this tooling and production. Ponoko, the distributed manufacturing service has taken a huge step in this direction by announcing their Personal Factory 4, which they term as your "Personal Making System". It's not on your desk, but it's as near as your computer.
The new 3D print capability includes some great materials options: durable plastic, superfine plastic, rainbow plastic, stainless steel and gold plate.
PF4 combines both 2D and now 3D making technologies into one umbrella, and when combined with their friendly interface and open marketplace, makes a very attractive electronic workplace for interested makers.
How attractive is it? Well, we like the fact that there are no minimum order quantities nor any startup charges and online price calculations are virtually instantaneous. This really means a no-barrier way to begin making practically any kind of small object, including those involving electronics.
Think about it - how massive is the variety of objects that could be made by combining 2D, 3D and electronic components? Yeah - that's what we're thinking, too.
Personal manufacturing doesn't have to take place on your premises using your own equipment. It can be outsourced to Ponoko, the personal manufacturing company. Ponoko posted a very interesting story of one of their users who managed to bootstrap his way to a cool USD$80,000 - starting from nothing!
It started with an idea, and of course some work was required.
That work involved developing an idea that surpassed the existing offerings (in this case for a MIDI Interface box) by using open source design tools and experimenting using paper prototypes. After iterating through some design changes and selecting just the right materials, he was ready for marketing.
Here's where it gets really interesting. Normally makers at this stage would place their item in Ponoko's catalog and await pre-paid orders. However, in this case money only changed hands when a sufficient number of pre-orders arrived, which enabled a mass-build of the first batch through Ponoko's Prime personal factory service.
By talking up the success of the device on social media, additional orders flew in, leading up to a grand total of USD$80,000 in gross sales. Well done!
Via Ponoko (Hat tip to Derek)
Distributed manufacturing service Ponoko has added some new materials to their shelf. Actually a *lot* of new items, and they are electronic! No, you're not printing or extruding electronics, but instead they are selectable components that can become part of your creations. The list of components is astonishingly long, ranging from fourteen different styles of accelerometer to twenty-four Zigbee wireless units. In all, there's apparently 1500+ electronic components available to choose from.
What does this mean? For starters, you can now manufacture (in the case of Ponoko, this means buying an instance of someone else's creation) or sell a creation that includes electronic features. Can you imagine the amazing toasters that will emerge? All levity aside, we believe electronics will bring a massive new wave of creations to the Ponoko market. If your imagination was blown out before, you'd better upsize it yet again.
Via Ponoko (Hat tip to Derek)
Distributed manufacturing hub Ponoko continues its invasion of Europe by opening an Italian front. They've partnered with a local fabrication shop, Vectorealism, to produce your items locally in Milan.
The Italian operation joins the Ponoko club, which now boasts manufacturing hubs in San Francisco, London, Berlin and the 10,000 Garages of 100KGarages.com.
Oh, and if you visit the link below, Ponoko will provide a 50% discount coupon for using Vectorealism up until 11 September.
[UPDATE] We were contacted by
Distributed manufacturing platform Ponoko has announced they've got a new manufacturing hub: London, UK-based RazorLAB. This adds to their already established empire of hubs including New Zealand, San Francisco, Milan and Berlin. What does it mean? Greatly decreased shipping costs for makers using Ponoko's services. In fact, Ponoko has actually been subsidizing shipments to the UK until now to remain competitive.
The new hub is another in a continuing line of "independent" shops using Ponoko's "making system", joining the Milan and Berlin operations. These are independently operated shops that are affiliated with Ponoko. We don't know the deal between Ponoko and the independent hubs, but we suspect it's a pretty good deal for these shops, since the association brings makers and their designs from around the world to their local manufacturing facility. Oh, and how can we forget the near 150 very small fabricating shops in the 100kGarages project that are also associated with Ponoko.
The more you look at it, the more it appears Ponoko is a global coordinating layer on top of the manufacturing base, a layer that funnels consumers to the right equipment in the right locations.