SparkFun and Ponoko Unite


A long, long time ago (whoa, nearly broke out into "American Pie"), SparkFun used to be involved in the business of custom enclosures. However, as our business grew, it didn't make practical sense for us to keep that aspect of our site going and it was axed. Sadness.

Fortunately, there are other resources out there for our customers to get their enclosures fabricated. SparkFun's favorite is Ponoko. Since 2007, Ponoko has given "makers" an easy way to fab up their custom enclosures out of almost any material you can dream up (metal, wood, fabric, plastic, and so on and so forth).

So on to the point of this blog post - SparkFun is joining up with Ponoko to offer electronic tinkerers/designers/inventors/everyone a great resource to design custom enclosures and get the electronics products you need. As of today (ok, truly last night), you can shop from the entire library of SparkFun products on the Ponoko website. That means that if you have a great idea for a polished project, you don't have to hop back and forth (all nimbly-bimbly) from SparkFun to Ponoko to get the electronic guts and the enclosure separately. Rather, you can go to Ponoko's website and build the entire project inside and out, and then order everything with one click. Ponoko has offices in New Zealand and the U.S., so if you are ordering state-side, there is no need to worry about international shipping charges. Very deluxe!

We hope that this collaboration gives birth to tons of cool projects and custom enclosures! Happy making!


Comments 30 comments

  • Now if you could only incorporate BatchPCB into the order process. So a person could theoretically go to Ponoko and order the custom enclosure, the hardware (from Sparkfun), as well as any needed custom PCBs and then put together there own custom product.
    That would be sweet!

  • Outsourcing… Well at least it’s New Zealand instead of China. Just don’t outsource Sparkfun.

  • So how do they expect the files to be formated?
    I was thinking of using BRL-CAD it provides building the design in 3d from scripts or by the mouse or a combination of both and is free and open soruce.

  • How did you do the clear SparkFun logo on the opaque plastic?
    (I have not used Ponoko yet, but am curios about what I can make with them).

    • It’s actually just clear plexi - The opaque part is just etched

    • Its a raster. The opaque acrylic is rastered (is that a word?) in a negative relief to give it a different look. I use ponoko all the time. Its great. Also look up shapeways and spoonflower. Custom 3D printing and custom fabric printing respectively. I’ve actually started a business designed around custom manufacturing services like these still working on getting it off the ground but this is the future. Now all we need is a PCB printing/assembly service that is as easy to use as ponoko. I don’t know anyone who could do that cough Sparkfun cough
      Jonathan Bowen
      www.corseceng.com

      • I think it’s ‘rasterized’ or ‘rasterization’. Yeah.
        Good luck with your business! Unfortunately, custom manufacturing is like a 4 letter word to us (with a lot of extra letters thrown in).

    • Go to their site and play around with some things :-)

  • I used MQ series type sensors for my academic project… So i want to know the abbreviation of MQ… Please say me,what does MQ stands for?

  • I was in utter disbelief when you mentioned that Ponoko has an office in New Zealand - This is great, will be sure to give them a go! Great concept too.

  • awesome maybe i can get a custom arduino dueminalove/mega enclosure similar to the chameleon box but cheaper. I like the sparkfun project box for the dueminalove but i might wanna get a mega and dont want 2 boxes.

  • I don’t suppose it would be possible to use Gift Card balances from Sparkfun at Ponoko, would it?

  • This is really exciting, despite the fact that I have no pending projects to try out with Ponoko :P
    Does anyone have a link to how that awesome SFE lamp was built? I remember is being mentioned long ago and far away…If you sold that as a kit, I’d be all over it!

  • How about supporting carbon fibre for enclosure designs? I’ve got this RC model and I haven’t found anybody who support building custom bits out of carbon fibre. It’s very expensive but maybe that means high mark-up which is good for Ponoko!

  • Please go the extra step and start offering CAD drawings of your breakout boards, with measurements of holes, control and display locations. Even providing PDF’s of your Eagle layouts we could measure would be a big help for enclosure & motherboard design.
    Thanks!

    • The Eagle files have all this information in them, and you can get a free version of Eagle.

      • Where are the Eagle files posted? On most of the product entries, I see schematics but not the Eagle files. For example, I needed the mounting layout for the LCD-08600 display. (I’ve since measured it out, but it’d be handy to have for future reference). Thanks.

        • Most of the newer products have both Eagle files and schematics. If they do not, contact techsupport@sparkfun.com and we can give them to you and post them.

  • Nice~ :)

  • Hello all!
    It’s Josh from Ponoko here, just wanting to confirm that we do have a U.S.A. branch - based in California.
    As such, US residents won’t have to worry about international shipping.
    I hope that helps!

  • Nice addon. If you want help to generate boxes for your project I have written together an processing app to create nice boxes with tabs in any sizes. Take a look here for some more info and download. http://tracesoftouch.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/box-generator/ It is all opensource and available at google code.

  • Now they just need to open a U.S.A. branch so we can cut down with shipping costs to us that live over here.

    • I neglected to mention that they have a U.S. base as well, so ordering from the U.S. will not mean you incur international shipping charges. I edited the post to reflect this as well!

  • Could I get the contact e-mail so I can talk to them and offer my partnership ? I can provide High Quality Plastic Injection moulding whit German Arburg Plastic Injection machines and offer a wide pallet of HD Injection materials like HDPE in all colours and natural… Please give me a answer :D

  • So why isn’t this SF light available in the swag store??? Looks great!

  • Very cool! I could see this being nice for even just keeping track of part counts, maybe for for-fun kits put together and sold through Etsy. :)


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