Ponoko is an incredibly innovative internet based initiative that allows you to design, manufacture and then sell your own products. Homeware, electronics, toys, jewellery are some of the items that have been created by Ponoko's community of amateur and professional designers. Its pretty simple...you upload your designs, then they will use a 3D printing machine to 'make' it in whatever materials you decide. You can then have it shipped to you and/or sell it to others.
According to Derek Elley, one of the company's founders, when 3d printing units are developed for home use it will be possible to manufacture almost anything in your own home, eliminating carbon miles and distribution costs....a major plus for the environment.
This new venture is the latest the DIY trend. First it was DIY house repairs, then journalism in the form of blogging, then it moved into DIY music videos and movies via Youtube. Technology has empowered people, as never before, to participate in the creation of their reality and grasp back ownership of media, and the consumer industry.
Derek spoke at a seminar I attended and I found his company and vision behind it quite inspirational. Ponoko are using cutting edge (literally) innovation to deal with global issues, and making money at the same time. After his speech he was off to San Francisco where he and his business partner are opening their US office...and I wish them luck!