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As bizarre as it sounds there happens to be a high powered laser in my living room but I wanted to give the online site Ponoko a whirl. If you can make 2D designs in Corel Draw, Illustrator, etc you can upload them as EPS files and sell both the file and the completed design on Ponoko (and/or have someone make your design and you’d buy it, sorta like Cafe Press). Here’s my “Showroom” with the iPhone stand I designed – Link.

If I wanted I could spend about $30+ to get the piece made but I don’t actually need to do that at this time. I might ask if they’ll send one out to me so I wrap up the review, it should end up being exactly like the one I made for the tutorial from last week (How to make an iPhone stand)…

Ponoko is a new entry to the fab-lab like marketplace of turning 2D designs to real products, they’re trying to hook up with laser owners around the world and I think that will source more “makers” and eventually more sellers/designers selling their goods. Ponoko please feel free to post up in the comments if you want to say more about all this, our Makers might have some questions too. Not a bad system, sorta like Cafe press meets Flickr meets ETSY.

Neat stuff, all very new – we’ll see how it goes. I don’t need to review web 2.0-ish start ups (thank goodness) so this was fun to check out, maybe later I’ll write more as it evolves or as Makers send in their experiences from design to delivery. I suppose the next step is for Ponoko to chatter with Adobe/Corel and Epilog/Universal and perhaps have them sponsor the site in some way. If Ponoko takes off the companies who supply the software and the lasers could grab some easy brand recognition in the maker arenas, although I’m not sure it matters really. They’re probably already on it – oh maybe McMaster Carr for materials and Instructables is there’s some API action for sending off designs from another site.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Daryll says:

    Since I don’t have a laser in my living room, I wanted to give Ponoko a try. The problem is that their site has said:

    Unfortunately, we are experiencing serious overload so you can’t log in right now. But we will email you as soon as we get on top of it.

    Since their launch at TechCrunch. I’m looking forward to them getting up and running, but at the moment it’s just frustrating.

  2. NicWA says:

    Hi Phillip. Cheers for the blog. Was amused to read you have a ‘high powered laser in your living room’ – that’s unique! It’s been an amazing week since we launched at TechCrunch. But you’ve pretty much nailed where we’re at on the head. We believe that the best way to offer Ponoko’s services world-wide is to go to the community for ‘peer reviews’ on makers they have used/are using. This increases the reach rapidly, while hopefully giving better surity on the makers. As for all the others to talk to – yep, we’ve got a very busy few weeks/months ahead of us! The team have done an amazing job to date (amidst an enormous traffic surge over the past week!) and the future, while always unknown, is looking pretty exciting! Cheers, Nic – Ponoko Online PR Chick.

  3. brlittle says:

    I’m with Daryll: I signed up several days ago, but since then have been completely unable to access any meaningful parts of the site. It’s been this way for a week, so blaming it on the traffic surge from TechCrunch seems a bit specious. Nevertheless, I’m really hot to see what this site can do. Their forum posts make it look quite interesting.

  4. StevenKempton says:

    Hi Daryll, brlittle and all other Makeziners – we understand your frustration! :) So this is just to let you know that Ponoko is in beta test mode – and one key thing we are testing is the load on our system. We do not want to risk crashing the entire website by releasing everything to everyone at one time. This means we are rolling out access to MyPonoko (the ‘meaningful’ parts of the website ;) on a staggered basis, while the public facing website is available to everyone, everywhere. We know this is a bit of a compromise and wish it were different, however this is the very best way for us to ensure that you get a stable service when we roll into your neighborhood. Hope that clarifies things and we’re working on going live to you very soon. To be first to know when we make this live in your area please keep an eye on our blog ( http://www.ponoko.com/blog ) or sign up here —> http://www.ponoko.com/registration

  5. something new about the laser tecnology i found hare.

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