Apparently in Q4 of 2009, they'll release the new function, while they are searching for beta testers today. According to their blog announcement:
You could call it Digitalmake – an online Ponoko account designed especially for owners of digital making technology (eg, laser cutters, CNCs, 3D printers).They've also got a survey up that asks the basic questions such as:
Digitalmake springs from our desire to create a digital making network that enables products to be made as close to the point of consumption as possible.
With Digitalmake you can manage and download product designs and materials for digital making. You can also offer your fabricator to Ponoko users (and get pre-paid jobs).
and most importantly,
- If you own a fabricator to make money from it, what are the most important things this online account NEEDS to provide to you?
- If you own a fabricator for personal use, what are the most important things this online account NEEDS to provide to you?
- Would you like to be a beta tester?
We agree with Ponoko that this will be an incredibly big development. It may be in response to their recent capacity issues, but evidently has been in development for two years. Perhaps they anticipated the growth demand and determined it would be best to spread the work out as much as possible?
Their vision is truly important. Imagine a future scenario where Ponoko acts as a centralized repository of models, both commercial and free. Across the world, anyone who owns a 3D printer (or CNC machine, Laser Cutter, etc.) simply creates a Ponoko account and has immediate access to that repository, presumably with easy to use interfaces. While the high-end 3D printers usually have a crew of designers directly associated with them developing models (think architecture professionals or a manufacturing plant), the low-end devices might not.
Until Q4. At that time, every device will have quick access to a massive repository of high-quality models. Should the MakerBot guys include a Ponoko coupon in their printer kits? We suspect there will be a large uptick in Ponoko business in 2010.
Good luck, Ponoko!
Via Ponoko Blog