New Zealand-based Ponoko launched Personal Factory 4 today, making it easier to bring product ideas to life from the comfort of the home. Everyone can now make custom goods with a few mouse clicks using 2D and 3D digital making technologies, and a huge catalog of open-source electronics hardware.
“Sophisticated design and manufacturing are no longer reserved for an elite group with big budgets”, says Ponoko CEO David ten Have. “Everyone has had a product idea at some point, and Personal Factory 4 gives them a place to make it real.”
The new 3D printing materials introduced to Personal Factory 4 are durable plastic (SLS), superfine plastic (ProJet), rainbow plastic (ZCorp), stainless steel and gold plate (ProMetal).
In an exclusive agreement, Ponoko adds the CloudFab network of 3D printers to its global network of laser cutters. “We’re excited to introduce Ponoko’s community to our 3D printers”, says Nick Pinkston, founder of CloudFab. “In addition to 2D designs, Personal Factory 4 can now auto price, auto check and auto fix 3D designs, making it easier than ever to turn all sorts of ideas into real things over the Internet.”
Ponoko’s Personal Factory 4 also offers new starter kits for 3D printing from Alibre, Autodesk 3ds Max, Blender (freeware), Google SketchUp (freeware) and SolidWorks. Other CAD software can also be used to get instant online pricing for STL, DAE and VRML 97 design files.
“The box lamp on our homepage today is a superb example of a product created using Personal Factory 4”, says David ten Have. “It illustrates that 2D materials are great for relatively large, flat and straight surfaces, 3D materials are good for durable connectors and complex shapes, while electronics hardware simply bring everything to life. This lamp is also available as a free download from our marketplace, so you can customize and make it yourself.”
Personal Factory 4 is another evolution in Ponoko’s vision of a digital factory in every home, business and school, powered by its personal making system. “We are currently sitting at a really exciting point in the history of products: if you can imagine it, you can make it”, says ten Have.
Ponoko’s personal making system is available as an online subscription: Free or Prime. A Prime account is $39 per month and includes lower pricing, faster delivery and a design quality check before you commit to your custom order. Importantly, there are no setup fees or minimum order sizes for anyone to make things, so there is no entry barrier.
All Personal Factory 4 features are available now from Ponoko’s U.S. hub, and will be rolled out to their worldwide digital factory network during 2011.