Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ponoko Meetup @ Because We Can in Oakland 07/09/2009

Aaron and I are currently in the midst of creating some sweet new stuff that we're going to have made at the new, US branch of However, we were curious as to what Ponoko actually is. Who runs this Ponoko deal anyway? What is their setup actually like?

Fortunately, my wife, Yelena, and I attended the Ponoko Meetup in Oakland last Thursday night to get these questions answered. As it turns out, Ponoko is actually operating out of a really cool sustainable design/interior design company called Because We Can. Although we showed-up late (thus missing Dave and Derek of Ponoko fame), we did get to see Ponoko's laser-cutter, materials, materials samples, and other sundries. Yes people, Ponoko is a real, enabling design company run by real people. If you want to make cool stuff for yourself and/or to sell your stuff to the masses, go their site and check 'em out.

OK, so I had my proof that Ponoko is the real deal. However, once you step into Because We Can
, you are quickly reminded that there is SO much more out there in the CNC world than just laser cutting. Because We Can is a full service interior design, furniture, and CNC woodwork shop. They produce amazing design & interiors work. One of the owners, Jeffrey McGrew, was explaining all the wonderful things that their Shopbot CNC Router can do to for creative-types to a hoarde of fellow design geeks. (His love of this robot is evident. Aaron and I will be contacting him for quotes on some of our furniture designs in the future.)

There were lots of people doing neato stuff. Here are my favorites:

1) Our friend Kate Compton was showing off her stereoscopic viewer for the iPod. After several iterations of her device, she has a very sweet & complete version of her idea. (Kudos, Kate!!)

2) We met two guys named Henry and Adam who electrified a Mazda Miata. Henry owns this beast and was working on this car in his parent's garage for about 2 years. He just finished it and drove it over to the Ponoko Meetup for the first time. Henry has done his homework and created a VERY nicely designed home-built EV. (We heard that he did a MASSIVE burnout when he was leaving the Meetup. It's a shame that we missed it.)

Yelena and I had a fun time. Thanks to Because We Can and Ponoko for a great evening.

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