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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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