In 2007, Ponoko systems launched, enabling anyone to make almost anything using 3D digital making technology. Best described as an online marketplace where anyone can ‘click’ to make real things, it’s a place where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers meet to make (almost) anything.
Now in a new twist on Ponoko.com’s popular personal factory concept, creators can now design and make their own desktop factory.
MakerBot Industries – makers of open source 3D printers – has opened a showroom at Ponoko.com enabling creators to design and make their own custom desktop 3D printers.
Using ABS plastic, the MakerBot CupCake printer turns digital 3D designs into almost anything up to 4" x 4" x 6" in size. And creators can now visit MakerBot’s Ponoko showroom, download the CupCake case design files (for free), customise them to suit a specific application or aesthetic, and click to make them from a wide selection of materials.
Visitors to MakerBot’s Ponoko showroom can also select the CupCake robotics kit needed to complete the assembly of their 3D printer. Kits include absolutely everything required to get started in the personal fabrication revolution, right down to the tweezers.
David ten Have, Ponoko’s CEO, says offering people the ability to design and make their own desktop 3D printers is the best way for Ponoko to approach the 3D printing market at this early stage.
“3D printing is very cool, and we want to make it available to our community at the lowest cost per print,” he says. “Together with MakerBot, people can design and make their own desktop 3D printers, and 3D print endlessly for just a few dollars. So we’re excited to see sexy new designs of the MakerBot printer sitting on people’s desktops, and lots more 3D printing projects.”
This development builds on Ponoko’s vision of distributed fabrication, where downloadable digital product designs (rather than the products themselves) are transported around the world to be made locally. In this case, on your desktop 3D printer.
MakerBot’s Bre Pettis says “it’s easy for folks to download the MakerBot case files, modify them if they want and get them made by Ponoko. Want to get your MakerBot made out of bamboo or get a custom body? Ponoko can handle it.”
Being a staunch open source company, Bre also notes “if you make and distribute any changes, you are required to publish your changes so the community can see the innovations you’ve made.”
“Digital making technologies, like the MakerBot, are enabling a precise, more intricate form of DIY,” says David. “We call it the ‘Make it yourself’ (MIY) movement.