In this blog I’m going introduce you to the New Zealand company +Ponoko, which is at the early stages of implementing a powerful vision for global, decentralized, on-demand manufacturing. Ponoko allows anyone to have the just-in-time inventory of a Fortune 100 company and the chance to manufacture something professionally with an unheard-of economy of scale.
I’ve always been fascinated by the vision of distributed, decentralized manufacturing made possible by such technologies as 3D printers and other digital-manufacturing processes. The idea is simple, but so very powerful: You create a design on your computer, perhaps a design for a dress, a piece of jewelry or the proverbial “widget.” Whatever it is, you then upload it to the cloud, and when someone orders it in Chicago, Tokyo or Istanbul, the product you designed is manufactured on the spot at a local hub and delivered minutes later. It’s an intoxicating and powerful vision. No waiting. No large carbon footprint for transporting the product continent to continent. No large inventories.
That’s the vision that Ponoko co-founder David ten Have (yes, that’s really his name) is espousing. David wants everyone to become a maker. It’s a thrilling glimpse of the future.