TreeHugger has been a fan of Ponoko ever since they launched last year (full disclosure: head TreeHugger Graham Hill is now on their Board of Advisors); their ability to mix ideas like mass customization, downloadable design and flat pack means efficient resource use, design that can be customized to your exacting specifications, and manufacturing that isn't sourced in China (and the good news is: it really works!). For us in the U.S., though, it did often mean shipping from New Zealand, where the company started, but not any more.
Ponoko announced yesterday that they are establishing a new global head office and manufacturing facility in San Francisco, making it possible (for those of us on the west coast, at least) to get truly custom, locally-manufactured design with just a few clicks of the mouse. Designers get what amounts to their own factory and online showroom, and consumers can have them made to order and delivered right to their doors.Since launching, Ponoko has attracted a wide range of product plans for items ranging from household items and accessories to jewelery and wearable art. With the announcement, Ponoko also launched a new website that showcases these designs, and enables consumers to purchase products and plans directly from designers and makers.
"Consumers no longer have to accept what they find on the shelf—instead they can have something that's designed and made especially for them, something 'individualized' from scratch—and not just personalizing a t-shirt or coffee cup. For designers, the ability to easily share and have their creations made to order means that anyone can take their designs to the world, without the traditional costs of setup and inventory," said Ponoko co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Derek Elley.
Going forward, Ponoko says their focus on expanding the range of materials it can offer people to make their personalized designs from, and introducing different manufacturing technologies as it continues to grow its on-demand making network. ::Ponoko
Learn more about Ponoko, mass customization and downloadable design:
Ponoko Online Furniture Manufacturing: If You Dream It, They Can Build It
Reviewed: 2D Design to 3D Product Process at Ponoko
Absolut Downloads: It Is Already Happening at Ponoko
This is Your Brain on Mass Customization
Taking Baby Steps to Mass Customization with Platform Design