I feel like some kind of Girl Friday, testing out the latest technology for my loyal readers. If someone wants to give me a job doing that, just let me know!
Ponoko is my latest find, a company that will make your designs into 3D reality! It’s a bit like Spoonflower’s fabric printing service, except that Ponoko have some laser cutters with which to cut your designs out of acrylic, wood etc. I got desperately excited and had to have a go at making my Super Cute Kawaii bunny into acrylic shapes.
There’s a few ways you can make your design a reality – if you know your way around design programmes like Illustrator and Freehand then you can use their starter kits to create a file that’s ready to cut. If you’re not so technologically minded, you can draw out your design and pay for someone to create the artwork. I went down the Illustrator route and found it all fairly straightforward (after studying the Ponoko guidelines very carefully). Most of my designs are created in Illustrator anyway, so it was mainly a matter of changing the sizes and line thicknesses to suit and fitting as many shapes as I could into my chosen size of material. You can choose from tons of materials, including acrylic, wood, card, felt, metal and more in a range of colours and thicknesses.
The whole process took about 10 days and then there was an exciting package in the mail. I’m afraid I didn’t photograph it as I was way too excited. My little bunny shapes all came out great, though the raster line for the mouths hadn’t come out at all. The Ponoko team are very helpful though and have suggested changes I can make next time. It’s not really a problem though as I can just draw the lines on myself for now.
After a little bit of gluing and drawing I now have this! Isn’t it just the cutest thing you have ever seen?! I’m making them into charms but with a removable loop so you can thread them on to a chain or ribbon to make a necklace as well! I hope to have them in the shop very soon.
Ponoko also have a marketplace on their site where you can browse some of the things made by Ponoko users and buy either the finished pieces or the files to have them made yourself. I definitely plan to get some more things cut in future – as with all these services, the postage is what’s making it expensive but it’s a brilliant service and I can’t wait to see what it gets used for in future.
See also Little Robot‘s wooden jumping jacks which she made with Ponoko recently. So many possibilities!