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Ponoko is an online service for manufacturing. It gained noticeable media attention because of its unique business model, as one of the first manufacturers that uses distributed manufacturing and on-demand manufacturing.
Ponoko receives customers' digital designs, then has it printed in 3D or cut at the time of purchase by laser cutters or CNC milling machines or 3D printers. The manufacturers exist in a distributed network that is growing around the world, and often the manufacturer closest to the customer is sourced. Customers can then sell their objects either via the Ponoko site, or their own retail outlets.
While Ponoko uses desktop manufacturers to produce small-scale products, many believe that such distributed, on-demand manufacturing could create a major paradigm shift in manufacturing. As of 2009, the Ponoko site had 20,000 items available.
Ponoko was founded by David ten Have and Derek Elley in 2007 and launched in September the same year at TechCrunch 40. In 2009, Ponoko formed a relationship with 100K Garages, a decentralized network of shop-bot manufacturers in North America. In 2010, the company began forming similar relationships and opening offices in Europe in partnership with local manufacturing services Formulor, Vectorealism and RazorLab.
In 2011 Autodesk announced a partnership with Ponoko as part of their 123D offering. Late in 2011 Autodesk announced the launch of 123D Make and 123D Catch offerings using Ponoko Personal FactoryTM to offer fabrication services to users of these tools.