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Ponoko Offers 3D Printing, Supports Blender


Personal fabrication company Ponoko are now offering 3D printing in five different materials. They support Blender with a starter kit and a tutorial.

From their announcement:

With Personal Factory 4 you can now make custom goods using a unique combination of:

  • 2D materials for laser cutting and engraving.
  • 3D materials for 3D printing.
  • Electronics hardware for bringing it all to life.

The box lamp displayed below is a superb example of a product created using Personal Factory 4.

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.

Personal Factory 4 is designed to set your creativity on fire, like never before.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. it's a good thing they include some detailed samples (engraved and embossed text at 8, 10, 12,18, 24 points, and a mini keyboard, for example)
    but the unit of measurement is relative, i'm correct?
    i think the lack of comparable, side to side, 3d models/printed results is what prevent a lot of people from printing their models (THIS is what has always prevented ME from ordering on shapeways :D)
    I have always the feeling the answer to "it's possible to print my X model?" would be "try and see!!"

    PLEASE shapeways & ponoko & (your X 3d printing service here), on the materials page IMHO are much needed:
    1) downloadable blend/3ds/stl/collada files
    2) 2(or 3) images, side by side, with: 3d model rendered in wireframe mode and in solid color mode, AND a photo of the printed result, with an ABSOLUTE reference (a decimetre? CSI docet :D) within the frame
    for 3 or 4 models representative of different, typical, cases (e.g: a plate with engraved/embossed text, at different points, a rounded model, a geometrical model, a model with spiked joints, an highly detailed sculpture )
    and finally... 3) A negative example (with the 3 images) that depicts what occurs when the dimensions are lower than the minimum, suggested, limits

    it's matter of, maybe, 2-3 days of work , but THEN, i think the ordering rate (and success rate for the printed models) will skyrocket for Christmas :D
    If the suggestion is useful i will be satisfied with only a 100€ coupon for printing ;)
    (my apologies for my improper english)

  2. Hey Saverio,

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Great idea, we are about to do a series of videos of product fails too, showing what happens when the materials are subjected to stresses such as impact, stretch, bending and of course, FIRE..




  3. Awesome!
    But I'm not that good in creating perfect meshes :(
    Hope to see some example files or tutorials for 2.5 soon...
    Wished this site would be more "international" (fe. with language translations etc...)
    Just saving this site to my bookmarks for the moment :P

  4. @Duann you're welcome,
    i'm very interested in 3d printing, because i lack manual skills but i'm a very imaginative person (a VIP ;D)

  5. I uploaded one of my ring designs, just to see how price would compare. In stainless steel, the price was $0.02! But shipping was nearly $10. I can see the advantage of ordering multiples rather than just 1 part. Also, I got an error saying that my model was tiny and might not print (less than 10mm in one dimension.) Rings are inherently small, so I don't see why they must be more than 10mm. If Shapeways can do it, surely Ponoko can print small jewelry items.

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