Personal manufacturing doesn’t have to take place on your premises using your own equipment. It can be outsourced to Ponoko, the personal manufacturing company. Ponoko posted a very interesting story of one of their users who managed to bootstrap his way to a cool USD$80,000 – starting from nothing!
It started with an idea, and of course some work was required.
That work involved developing an idea that surpassed the existing offerings (in this case for a MIDI Interface box) by using open source design tools and experimenting using paper prototypes. After iterating through some design changes and selecting just the right materials, he was ready for marketing.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. Normally makers at this stage would place their item in Ponoko’s catalog and await pre-paid orders. However, in this case money only changed hands when a sufficient number of pre-orders arrived, which enabled a mass-build of the first batch through Ponoko’s Prime personal factory service.
By talking up the success of the device on social media, additional orders flew in, leading up to a grand total of USD$80,000 in gross sales. Well done!
Via Ponoko (Hat tip to Derek)