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Summary:

Ponoko has an interesting business model: you design something on your computer, save an EPS file, and upload it to them. Then they turn their laser-cutter loose on your choice of wood or acrylic materials, and make actual physical copies for you. On their site, they […]

ScreenshotPonoko has an interesting business model: you design something on your computer, save an EPS file, and upload it to them. Then they turn their laser-cutter loose on your choice of wood or acrylic materials, and make actual physical copies for you. On their site, they show this technique being used for a variety of furniture, jewelry, games, and other items. It’s sort of what-you-see-is-what-you-manufacture.

With the operation currently being in New Zealand (with plans to expand to a US fabrication facility) and costs being relatively high, right now this is suited only for some small, high-markup niches. But with techniques like laser cutting and 3D printing becoming more widely available, it does indicate a potential future option for web workers: taking the design skills we use for bits and turning them into actual atoms.

  1. Thanks for writing about us Mike. It might seem futuristic but the option is available right now and it’s really time to have a go. Especially in areas like jewelry where the cost barriers are really minimal. We’re running a Design Challenge in early March open to anyone to design a piece of jewelry. Anyone who’s new to this idea but has design skills should have a go. It’s the perfect way to try it out. link below:

    http://blog.ponoko.com/2008/02/19/the-ponoko-10-day-jewelry-design-challenge/

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  2. If you’re interested in following the news on 3D Printing and digital fabrication, you might consider reading our blog at Fabbaloo or http://fabbaloo.com

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