NZ start-up heralds DIY 2.0

Last updated 00:00 18/09/2007
THE NEW DIY: A table made by an artist through Kiwi "digital manufacturer" Ponoko, which officially launched yesterday.

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A Wellington tech start-up lets anyone design and build simple products such as furniture and jewellery.

Ponoko, officially unveiled at the Techcrunch40 conference in the US yesterday, is part online shop, part DIY centre and part social networking website.

On it, people can design new products and either sell the finished goods to the public or the original design to other site members, which they can then modify to create their own versions.

Ponoko uses a laser cutter to produce the parts from computer design files in .eps format. The parts are then shipped to the designer to assemble themselves.

Designers will need some experience with Adobe Illustrator or other design software, so for now the site is meant mainly for industrial designers, craftspeople and artists, co-founder Derek Elley says.

Mr Elley says the site offers a way for designers to bypass large manufacturing companies and sell directly to the public.

"This is a way that totally disrupts the traditional way of making stuff. We see a future where consumers become producers."

Goods currently for sale on the site include a variety of tables, a wine rack, a candle holder, and a spinning top.

They are made of a mix of different kinds or wood and plastics. Prices range from $15 for a spinning top to $1200 for a "Robot Laser Tea Party" table with a graphic on the top.

Ponoko has a Wellington "digital manufacturing bureau" where it creates the different parts of each design from raw materials. It plans to open more like it in the US in coming months.

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- Fairfax Media

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