If you ever go ridding a horse bareback through plate glass windows, you may often wonder how to reduce the amount of scarring by attaching a thin acrylic shield around yourself and the horse. I propose Ponoko as the single best resource for creating such a shield. However, you don’t want children attempting to try such dangerous equestrian activities quite yet.

In that case, I still propose Ponoko as a violence-free resource for instructing children about the wonders and possibilities in design using laser cut material. Ponoko is onto the idea. They’ve put together Ponoko project guides to get you, and anyone interested, started in the process of creating your design ideas, start to finish. Saddle up.

Focused on students, with instructions for tutors and teachers, the guide lays out specifics for each step of the process.

You can:

  • Introduce your students to this emerging technology
  • Inspire them to think of compelling and inventive products
  • Help students make real products which are sent back for them and their peers to study
  • Expose them to every step of the design process, from conception to creation to realization

Even better, they lay out material recommendations, which is often the difficult part of design process.

Some materials are easier to work with than others. This list of material recommendations is based on structural consistency (they won’t warp during cutting), cost and ease of handling for beginner users.

  • 2mm, 3mm, 4.5mm Acrylic
  • 3mm Felt – will require cleaning upon delivery to remove ash residue and burnt smell
  • Styrene, Polyprop, PETG – ideal for stencils
  • 6mm Corrugated Cardboard – the cheapest material and the fastest to cut & excellent for prototyping
  • MDF, MDF Veneers

Does it have your idea engine sparkin’? Then, download the Ponoko project guide (PDF link)! As a parent, I think this is a great resource for those with children that want some cool activities to do together. It covers a lot of aspects in design from material to cost, format and design challenges – very glad to see something like this.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.