OK, everyone, let's kick it off. I think I saw our guest Dan Emery log in. He joins us today from Ponoko to talk about on-demand manufacturing.
Welcome, Dan! Can you tell us a little about your background and Ponoko?
Dan Emery12:01 PM
Hi there! Excited to chat with you all about digital manufacturing!
Dan Emery12:01 PM
I have an industrial design background and have been leading the Ponoko fabrication facilities for over 10 years.
Dan Emery12:03 PM
I'm originally from New Zealand but moved to the bay area in 2010 to set up the Ponoko laser cutting shop.
So, a nuts and bolts question to start off - does Ponoko have a "laser farm" similar to the 3D printing companies with their printer farms?
lspencergottlieb joined the room.12:04 PM
Dan Emery12:05 PM
Yes! We have 4 industrial lasers in our Oakland warehouse that run 8-12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Dan, does Ponoko cater to mainly makers and hobbyist customers? Is there a significant amount of interest from industrial customers?
Huh, didn't realize Ponoko was here in Oakland
My guess would be that you grew into those lasers, so you probably started with lower-end cutters? Maybe something better than a 40-w import laser?
Dan Emery12:07 PM
@alvern A lot of makers and hobbyists use our services. We see a lot of growth from businesses too.
Dan Emery12:08 PM
@Dan Maloney We started with a 60 watt Universal laser. It has proven to be a real workhorse. Our newest laser is 120 watt
Dan Emery12:09 PM
@morgan Yes, been in Oakland since 2010
cool, i'm also in Oakland
re: businesses using Ponoko, is it for one-off and prototype stuff, or do you see businesses integrating your services into their manufacturing processes?
Dan Emery12:12 PM
@Dan Maloney we see the full range. Businesses take advantage of our speed for prototyping, and then once they're further along in the development process we'll see orders of 1000's units.
@Dan Emery what is the fastest you have ever made an order
Prof. Fartsparkle12:12 PM
how do you scale? Do you just buy more machines or switch to a different process/machine?
Dan Emery12:13 PM
@alvern yesterday we made and delivered a part to SF in 2-3 hours
Impressive if that includes drive time
@Dan Emery that's a quick turn around, what's the average turn time for an order? 1-3 days?
Paul Stoffregen12:14 PM
what sort of materials are possible in the short time frame? Anything stronger than plastic like acrylic?
Dan Emery12:15 PM
@Prof. Fartsparkle great question. More machines does allow us to produce more parts. Switching to a different process really depends on the part. Lasers are great at cutting stuff from flat sheet material. If that fits the part then stick with laser makes sense.
Dan Emery12:15 PM
@Dan Maloney that included drive time :)
Dan Emery12:17 PM
@Paul Stoffregen We have over 200 materials in our catalog. The non-metals are available with same-day turnaround right now. We're hoping to add same-day turnaround for the metal parts soon too.
marek joined the room.12:17 PM
Dan Emery12:18 PM
@Paul Stoffregen if you want a plastic that is stronger than acrylic, we offer delrin which is probably the best option at this point
is there anyway ro use glass as a material?
That may explain why I have been seeing Delrin being used for picks for musical instruments.
Dan Emery12:20 PM
@itproducties.nl you can laser etch glass but I dont think it can be laser cut. You can cut glass using a waterjet I believe
Dan Emery12:21 PM
@Kevin we've see folks laser cut custom guitar picks. I'm always inspired to see what folks will make
Are you considering adding a waterjet cutter to complement the laser cutters for materials difficult to cut by laser?
Prof. Fartsparkle12:22 PM
yea waterjets are great for stone and glass
Dan Emery12:23 PM
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@Kevin if there was enough demand we'd look into it. Right now we see demand for metal so our focus is to expand...