Friday, September 25, 2009

Heads Up... History is being made here...

With the launch of, we now have an ad hoc community of digital makers ALL OVER THE WORLD. has formed an alliance with a network of owners of Shopbot CNC routers worldwide to make this happen.

This means I can upload a digital file and make the design available to customers worldwide via in the 54 different countries where Shopbot digital tools have been set up (to-date).

For fabrication in their location.

No shipping charges from here to there, only from the local fabber to the end customer. How green is that?

Soon the coalition will extend to laser and 3D printers.

From the 100kgarges website:

During the 2007 US Presidential debates, Tom Brokaw asked candidates Obama and McCain whether our challenges would be best solved by ... "funding a Manhattan-style project or by supporting 100,000 garages across America to encourage the kind of industry and innovation that developed Silicon Valley?"

From WIRED magazine:

More from Ponoko

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*I don’t run every press release I get from these Ponoko guys, but everybody who knows anything about fabrication knows that scaling up fabbing has always been a big deal. A thousand fabricators are lot more than a thousand times one lonely fabricator.
*Got a fabbing strategic alliance here. Hmmmm.
September 16, 2009
Ponoko and ShopBot announce partnership
More than 20,000 online creators meet over 6,000 digital fabricators
San Francisco, CA – The launch today of begins a new chapter in how things are made and distributed, enabling anyone with an Internet connection to get almost anything custom made and delivered from local state-of-the-art digital makers.
The website is a partnership between Ponoko, the world’s easiest making system, and ShopBot, a world leader in the design of affordable, high-performance digital making tools.
Using the 100kGarages website anyone can get their ideas made locally with the click of a mouse, and delivered within just a few days. It is powered by Ponoko’s online ‘click to make’ system and ShopBot digital fabricators in 54 countries around the world.
For the innovators who President Obama called “the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things”, 100kGarages is an exciting new service for everyone who wants to get things made – by making it yourself or finding someone to make it for you. (((That’s awful patriotic of a bunch of guys from New Zealand.)))
People are creating a wide range of products like tables, chairs, cabinets, car parts, signage, boats, musical instruments, gaskets, sheds, housing and all of those impossible to find things made from wood, plastic, metal and composite materials.
“Ponoko’s making system gives our ShopBot owners the ability to receive a new stream of work from a wide range of customers,” says ShopBot’s President Ted Hall. “Our partnership also means everyone now has easy access to their own local 3D fabricator. This is the first step to providing a solution for the doers and makers out there who want to join in re-building America, one garage at a time.”
To date over 30,000 DIY, hard to find and consumer goods have been made using Ponoko. “Our online making system makes it easier than ever before to turn ideas into real things,” says David ten Have, Ponoko’s CEO. “And by partnering with ShopBot we bring together more than 20,000 creators and over 6,000 fabricators to use a powerful online service to design, make and deliver goods locally”.
From today, anyone can visit to get things custom made by searching a map for a local garage workshop, or submitting a request and choosing from bids placed by a range of ShopBot owners to make almost anything. It’s free for everyone to search and submit requests, and for fabricators to post profiles and bids.
Derek Elley
+1 415 335 4471 or +64 4 473 0031
ShopBot Tools
Dave Minella
+1 919 680 4800
About Ponoko
Ponoko, the world’s easiest making system, is an online marketplace for everyone to make real things. It’s where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers meet to make almost anything. More than 30,000 user-generated designs have been instantly priced online, made and delivered since Ponoko was selected to launch at TechCrunch40 in 2007. Ponoko has reinvented how goods are designed, made and distributed leading to profiles in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC News, Financial Times, The Globe & Mail, WIRED Magazine, The International Design Magazine and more. (
About ShopBot Tools
ShopBot Tools designs and manufactures low-cost, high-value CNC tools for digital fabrication of wood, plastic and aluminum products. With more than 6,000 ShopBots in thousands of shops in the US and 54 countries around the world, ShopBot is one of the largest producers of CNC routers in North America. (

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spoonflower Rocks!

I've written before about the new fabric printing service, Spoonflower, and how much fun it's generating. Up until last month you could only order fabric designs you'd uploaded yourself, and selling your fabric involved ordering it and offering it at eBay, Etsy, or the like. Then, when they began their Beta Marketplace I jumped on the chance to order some fabric designs I'd been eyeing. All my orders have now come in and I have to say that I'm thrilled!

The first order was Amor de Los Muertos, by Lisa Jonte (Arcana-j). I just love how clean and fun this pattern is.

My second order included some coordinating fabric for Amor, as well as Victoria Lasher's Raining Hedgehogs, with a coordinating pocket design. To round off the order, I got an 8 x 8 in sample printed of my Japanese Mon design I created using three Dover patterns.


Unlike their designs with plain backgrounds, mine had a lot of texture and color, so I was curious to see how it would come out. I have an ancient CRT monitor that isn't calibrated in any way, so what I see on the screen is a real crapshoot vs. what I might see on a calibrated monitor. If I do more of this I may have to invest in a new one! Having received the sample, I have to say that I am pleased with the brightness of the colors, as well as the crispness of the detail. One thing that helped a great deal was saving the Photoshop file in RGB mode, then CMYK, before finalizing in LAB for the Spoonflower upload. This effectively removed all the out-of-gamut colors with minimal effort. Shifting out-of-gamut colors are what surprised a lot of early designers Spoonflower when they got their first samples back.


Looking first at a 2 x 2 in area of the design that I colored myself (it was originally just an outline), you can see that the fabric texture darkened the design a small amount, and the colors are richer (at least from what I can see! LOL!). The medium tone on the flower and leaves essentially disappeared, and the background pattern is much more textured and vibrant.

Flower CloseupPOST

Flower Digital Closeup copy

The crane closeup shows part of the design that was originally a scan of a Japanese woodblock print, and I multiplied the colors in Photoshop. The sample shown is also a 2 x 2 in square and the design was printed on off-white quilting cotton. The golds were a bit darker than I was expecting, so I'll lighten that up for the next try.

Crane CloseupPOST

Crane Digital Closeup

I really like how the background texture works on this design, but now I want to take the three individual units and rearrange them so the repeat is a bit nicer, as well as design a pillow front. I've already created several coordinating two-color 1/2 in stripes that can also be presented as checks, giving a lot of variations to play with, and will follow with just the background texture, which should make a nice backing for the pillow, or even a coordinating pillow front. Once that's done, I'll have a full suite of custom coordinated fabrics guaranteed to work together. Schweet!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Adorable Biddles...

Just received this from my neighbor on the other side of the 'cul de sac.' I didn't realize what a jungle my balcony has become. The Virginia Creeper, now on its second year with me, has gone absolutely berserk!

Biddles obviously approves of the cover...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I've been a bit distracted lately...with good reason!

Seeing some really exciting stuff happening over at the textile DIY company that allows you to upload your own textile designs and have them printed and shipped to your home...and they're starting up their Beta Marketplace testing (sorry, it's not public...yet!). I signed up as a guinea pig and ordered a yard of the cutest little skully fabric. Can't wait to see it when it gets here!

While I intend to design some of my own patterns, many artists have already done some amazing work. There are also a lot of really, really awful patterns posted, so don't blame me if your eyes start bleeding!

Two of my current fave designers are Victoria Lasher and Arcana-j.

Victoria does sweet, beautifully rendered repeats (that's a big thing!) and her "raining hedgehogs" are the cutest. She's a mom, so I have to wait patiently while she makes time to create some coordinating fabrics we've discussed (me? patient? HA!)

Arcana-j has the cutest Skully, Halloween, and Goth type patterns (as well as purple hippos with hearts). She's even adding some coordinating fabrics that will let you mix and match patterns on a garment/bag/pillow/ still my heart!

If you're interested in all of this, get on over to Spoonflower and get signed up. Even if you can't draw, you can use any of the Dover Publications Electronic Clip Art designs, as well as personal photos you've taken. Check out their Flickr site to see what awesomeness has already happened.