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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 04:02

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #192

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above are laser cut and etched wood coasters from C+M Designs.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, ships in bottles, owls and pussycats, bears, posters, and escapes…

Above is a laser cut acrylic ship in a bottle necklace from Swank.

Above is a laser cut bamboo brooch from Tiger & Hare.

Laser cut cut wood grizzly bear origami from Whimsical Duchess.

Above is a laser cut, double layered poster for Project Passion from Ellen Schofield.

Above is  a laser cut fire escape greeting card from Two Hermanas.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Functional Art + Objects, Jewellery..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 18:00

Zapping tasty treats with some personalised graphics

While delicious pastries may not be one of the options in the Ponoko Materials Catalog, we do find our mouths watering each time someone fires up their laser cutter for a burst of culinary creativity.

Proving once again that adding a personal touch to your midday meal can be an almost religious experience, Christopher Short etched this enigmatic dinosaur onto his quesadillas. Yum.

Watch the following clip to see the laser do its thing in real-time…

You can find more laser etching and cutting to enjoy from Christopher on YouTube.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Functional Art + Objects, Guy Blashki, L..."
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 17:50

Slicing up a T-Rex for laser cutting that roars

The software options available to digital makers just keeps getting better, and one of our recent favourites would have to be Autodesk’s 123D Make.

Why do we like 123D Make so much? Simply put, it just works and really is as easy as 1, 2… 3. The freely available software takes a 3D model and slices it up, then exports the data for laser cutting.

As you’ll see in the following tutorial, there are several very handy (and quite powerful) capabilities built in to 123D Make that help ensure your final result comes together just right.  

This tutorial was originally posted on Instructables, and has been put together by Penfold Merton who you may remember from that fantastic laser cut mechanical business card a few years back.

Let’s have a quick look at what is covered in the tutorial. Learn how to:

• Get set up with 123D Make (available for Mac, PC, iOS and web app)
• Download or create an .stl file you’d like to use (T-Rex available here)
• Choose a construction technique: Stacked Slices
• Set material, print dimensions and object size
• Re-orient slices to optimise construction
• Review assembly instructions
• Output an .eps file for laser cutting
• Assemble and enjoy. Raaaargh.

Some of the neat features of 123D Make covered in Penfold’s tutorial include identifying weak points and errors when setting material and defining slices, and also automatically adding labels and alignment markings to all of your slices. This means that not only are you more likely to have a final construction that has structural integrity; it will also be considerably easier to assemble.

See the full tutorial on Instructables where we also spotted this user submitted version. By slicing off the back half of the T-Rex, it now looks like it is rising up out of the table…

via: Instructables – How to slice up a T-Rex using 123D  Make.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 04:25

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #191

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut and etched leather owl bracelet from Dymond Designs.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, tubes, lagoons, and guest books…

Above is laser cut acrylic London Underground sign from Capola Online.


Laser cut acrylic Creature From The Black Lagoon magnet from 3 Quarter Moon Creative.

Above is a laser cut wood guest book from Once Upon a Paper.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Laser Cut Acrylic, Laser Cut Leather, La..."
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Date: Friday, 05 Sep 2014 17:55

Coils that run rings around Slinky

Thanks to the addition of a rotary attachment for his laser cutter, Adam Watters has spent several months exploring what happens when you cut helical paths onto cylinders.

The variety of outcomes shows that there is a whole lot further to go with Springs than the trusty old Slinky would have us believe. Working in materials including acrylic, cardboard and 3d printed PLA, he has created a range of forms that have a mathematical beauty both as static objects and when in motion.

Discovering new patterns and the shapes and forms that follow has been a rewarding process for Adam. When questioned as to what the point of it all is, he had this to say:

For a little while, I turned my attention to finding an application for these, but that proved to be way less fun than experimenting with the process and cutting new springs. So for now, they are what they are.

Head over to Instructables where you can read all about laser cutting acrylic and cardboard springs, from a straightforward spiral through to cuboid grids, nested coils and even compression springs that take things in another direction entirely.

via Instructables: Laser Cut Helical Springs

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Functional Art + Objects, Guy Blashki, L..."
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 17:59

Ponoko’s most popular materials for laser cutting with pricing info, pros and cons, and example project ideas

The Ponoko Materials Catalog offers a wide variety of high quality sheet materials for laser cutting. From those awesome new Premium materials down to plain old (but ever-so-useful) cardboard, there is a material option for every making scenario. Each material is thoroughly tested to ensure that it cuts cleanly, engraves nicely and just generally looks good. With all these great materials on offer, how do you know which one to choose?

Here is a snapshot of the top ten materials available for laser cutting in your Ponoko Personal Factory. Each material overview includes a price range for the Ponoko sheet sizes, the number of varieties to choose from, and also important information about pros, cons and suggested usage scenarios.

1. CARDBOARD

Pricing: 50 cents to $4.00
Varieties: 4 different types
Pros: Inexpensive, recyclable, easy to paint, easy to join (tape, glue, staples)
Cons: Low durability, not suited to raster engraving
Great for: early prototypes, package design, crafts, kids projects
Make something with cardboard!

2. ACRYLIC

Pricing: $2 to $86
Varieties: 30 different types + colors, up to 6 different thicknesses
Pros: High quality look and finish, high level of detail possible, engraves well, affordable
Cons: Can crack under stress, can scratch
Great for: jewelry, hardware/electronic enclosures, signage, ornaments, wall art, mobiles
Make something with acrylic!

3. BAMBOO

Pricing: $3.50 to $33
Varieties: 2 different types, 2 different thicknesses
Pros: High quality look and finish, affordable, renewable resource
Cons: Engraving results are inconsistent, large sheets are prone to warping
Great for: jewelry, coasters, clocks, ornaments, picture frames, boxes, wall art, mobiles
Make something with bamboo!

4. PLYWOOD

Pricing: $3.50 to $34
Varieties: 2 different thicknesses
Pros: Affordable, engraves well, easy to stain
Cons: Slightly rough unfinished surface
Great for: crafts, models, home decor, kids projects
Make something with plywood!

5. FELT

Pricing: $7 to $45
Varieties: 15 different colors, up to 2 thicknesses
Pros: 100% wool, high quality look and finish, renewable resource
Cons: Strong burn smell, dark burned edge color
Great for: jewelry, coasters, trivets, crafts, ornaments, lining
Make something with felt!

6. MIRROR ACRYLIC

Pricing: $6 to $58.50
Varieties: 3 different colors
Pros: Reflective, interesting effects possible, high quality look and finish, engraves well
Cons: Can crack under stress, can scratch, prone to warping
Great for: jewelry, signage, home decor, wall art, ornaments
Make something with mirror acrylic!

7. CORK

Pricing: $4.50 to $26
Varieties: 1 type
Pros: Flexible, renewable resource
Cons: Does not raster engrave well
Great for: cushioning/padding, coasters, crafts, kids projects, pin boards
Make something with cork!

8. WOOD VENEER MDF

Pricing: $3.50 to $26
Varieties: 3 different types
Pros: High quality look and finish, engraves well, solid/substantial feel
Cons: Inconsistent thickness between supply batches
Great for: clocks, magnets, puzzles, coasters, ornaments, jewelry, picture frames
Make something with wood veneer MDF!

9. LEATHER

Pricing: $13 to $104.50
Varieties: 5 different colors
Pros: High quality look and finish, flexible, soft suede on back side,
Cons: Expensive, low in-house inventory
Great for: bracelets, bags, wallets, book covers, glasses case, iphone/ipad cases, zipper pulls
Make something with leather!

10. MELAMINE MDF

Pricing: $2 to $11
Varieties: 1 type
Pros: High quality look and finish, wipable melamine surface on both sides
Cons: Only 1 thickness available
Great for: countertops, tabletops, placemats, shelving
Make something with melamine MDF!

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Materials, M..."
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 01:58

The votes are in!

We are pleased to announce the winners of our new Premium Materials Design Challenge.

We want to thank everyone who participated – whether you submitted a project or voted for your favorite – we were blown away by the caliber of the designs submitted, and thrilled to see whats possible with the our new premium materials.

We’re releasing new materials and planning more challenges for the very near future so you can all stretch your design talent again!

Without further ado, the winners:

Grand PrizeCretaceous Critters Coasters by Rebecca Cey

2nd PlaceCigar Cutter by Dan Marino

3rd PlaceCubist Guitar Sculpture by Craig Hein Design

Author: "Dan Devorkin" Tags: "Art, Contests + Competitions, Design, Fu..."
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Date: Monday, 01 Sep 2014 03:21

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #190

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut metal and powder coated Lego Man bookmark from Cool Bookmark.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, chairs, peacocks, and daisies…

Above is a laser cut wood flat pack chair from Rachel Ciavarella via Instructables.

Laser cut paper peacock place cards from Timeless Paper.

Above is a laser cut wood daisy necklace from Two Squirrel.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Digital Fabric Printing, Fashion + Texti..."
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 17:47

Shrinking an air-raid siren to fit into your pocket

Quoted as being ideally suited for those looking to be really annoying, this laser cut project by Mark Langford on Instructables might catch your attention. Taking the same principles that give air-raid sirens such an impressive audio impact, he has condensed them down into a neat little package that can fit on a key ring.

After several iterations, the mechanics of the three-layer design were perfected and (as you can hear in the following video) it really does work. Extra points of course go to the fancy eyebrow acrobatics!

Here is how it works:

The air you blow in blows out through the pattern of holes, and at the same time, it makes the turbine spin.

If there was no turbine, the air would just hiss out of the holes, but the holes and blades are designed so that the spinning turbine alternately covers and uncovers the holes, rapidly blocking and releasing the air in a series of pulses that make the noise you hear.

See the Turbine Whistle on Instructables where you can learn from Mark’s thorough project walkthrough. There are plenty of step-by-step photos and of course you can download the files to make a pocket siren of your own.

via Instructables: Turbine Whistle

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Acrylic, Laser Cu..."
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 03:02

Vote for your Favorites by Sept 1st!

In July, we challenged designers to showcase their skills by creating a product using one of our three new premium materials. At first, we weren’t sure what to expect; This was the first time we ran a contest where designers actually created something tangible to enter, as opposed to just submitting their design files.

Would we get any good entries? Would folks just take the free sheet of material and run? We didn’t know.

We were thrilled to find that although the amount of submissions were somewhat smaller, the quality of entries we recieved were through the roof. The creativity & quality of the submissions made selecting the finalists a challenge in itself.

You can use the hashtag #ponokonewmaterials on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to see all of the amazing submissions.

Check out the finalists below, and use the survey at the bottom of the page to vote for your top three before Sept 1st.

If you are the designer behind one of the final entries you are encouraged to invite all your friends and family to vote for you. Keep in mind: Voting ends at 10pm PST on Sept 1st.

The Prizes:

  • Grand Prize – $600 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for one year ($1,068 value.)
  • 2nd Place – $450 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for one year ($918 value.)
  • 3rd Place – $300 worth of making with your Personal Factory + free Prime for 6 months ($434 value.)

The Finalists:

 

Cretaceous Critters Coasters by Rebecca Cey

Cigar Cutter by Dan Marino

Cubist Guitar Sculpture by Craig Hein Design

BoomBox Keychain by Junichi Tsuneoka

Geometric Lamp by Iluxo

Tangram by Jeremy Williams

Mini Sketchbook / Journal by Lcrookston

Lotus Brace by Marissa Noell

Cross-Stitched Earrings by Rebecca Cey

Stainglass Game by Bertrand Le Roy


A huge thank you to everyone who helped make our design challenge a success. We will announce the winners here on Sept. 2nd. Good luck!

Author: "Dan Devorkin" Tags: "Art, Contests + Competitions, Design, Fu..."
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 18:00

Four scenarios and next step options for first-time makers

You’ve created a design and uploaded it to Ponoko, placed and order, and now you have your first piece of laser cut delight. So now what?

It all depends on what stage of the process you’re in. We’ve come up with four scenarios to keep things moving. See which one best describes you.

Scenario #1

You: My design is not quite right – it didn’t work out!

Ponoko: Don’t let this get you down. The first try pretty much never turns out perfect for anyone. Making something is a process, and you’re in the prototyping phase. Most of our customers have to make 5-10 prototypes to get their design just right. Don’t forget that we will do whatever it takes to help you get there!

What to do next:

• If you’re not sure why your design didn’t work out or if you think we messed something up, get in touch: service-at-ponoko-dot-com
• If you know what needs to be changed, revise your design and try again. To speed up the prototyping process, we recommend putting multiple versions of your design on a single sheet of material and see which one works best.

Scenario #2

You: My design looks pretty good but I need to add some finishing touches.

Ponoko: Good idea! Finishing touches are what make laser cut designs go from good to great.

What to do next: Check out our Finishing Techniques section on the forum. There’s stuff on coloring engraving, washing felt, staining woods, etc.

Scenario #3

You: Everything looks good, but I still need to assemble the final product.

Ponoko: Good for you! We would love to see pics! If you feel like sharing, tweet a photo to @Ponoko

What to do next: Right now, there’s not much that we can do in the way of helping with assembly. But here is some moral support: Assemble it! It will be awesome! We are just as excited as you are!

Scenario #4

You: My design is all put together and looks super fly. I bet people would totally buy this thing.

Ponoko: Nice! People totally would buy it. Or at least they might. You should find out.

What to do next: List it for sale somewhere. But here’s the thing, you have to promote it even just a little bit or no one will know it’s for sale. Give us a heads up that you’re now selling your design, even if it’s just one. We’ll post it to facebook and tweet about it and maybe help you get your very first sale.

Did we leave out a scenario? Let us know in the comments and we’ll come up with a What To Do Next that’s personalised just for you.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 05:45

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #189

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser etched Measuring Tape/Beltt via Instructables from Robb Godshaw.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, flowers, and medals…

Above is a laser cut bamboo cake toppers from Cabin.

Printed and laser cut Military Medals from The Porkchop Show.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art ..."
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 17:57

Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows

Check out this gem of a project from Mario Klingemann, otherwise known as Quasimondo. A few years back he whipped up a Typographic Gear Generator that is able to create pairs of wheels that interlock with mesmerising precision.

The gears can then be laser cut and added to your next mechanical marvel for all to enjoy. There is something whimsical and kind of cute about bundling in this extra layer to an otherwise run-of-the-mill laser cut component.

Pictured here (and in the following clip) is a laser cut geared wheel turning around a quote from the 1950’s tv classic, The Original Amateur Hour. Other variations that Mario has tried out include a Muybridge-inspired horse in motion, demonstrating that the process works just as well with images as it does with text.

via Mario Klingemann

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 17:58

Watching the laser cutter in action

In this four-part series of introductory laser cutting tutorials we have shown you just how easy it can be to become a digital maker with Ponoko. Now it is time to watch the laser cutter do its thing and see those designs become real, tangible objects right before your eyes. Just hit Play on the video above.

Here’s a little refresher on what got us to this point.

• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 1: Getting started with the Personal Factory
• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 2: Edit design templates
• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 3: Custom designs using Inkscape

So now that you’ve got what it takes to become a digital maker, how about losing those training wheels and start making on your own? You can:

• Upload a new design to your Personal Factory
• Check out more learning resources
• Download free design files from the showroom

…and don’t forget to share (or perhaps even show off) your projects on the Ponoko forums.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 05:32

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #188

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above are laser cut perforated paper take-off light lampshades which allow you to make any pattern or opacity you want from fifti-fifti.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, foam, hedgehogs, skulls, and friends…

This is the MiniCut2d, a laser cut digital foam cutter.

Image from Make Faire.

Above is a laser cut and etched bamboo hedgehog knitting needle gauge from katrinkles.

Above is a laser cut metal skull mask from 4everstore.

Above is a laser cut and etched bamboo soil moisture sensor system from Disckson Chow.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Digital Fabric Printing, Electronics + R..."
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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 17:00

First branch of long-dreamed half makerspace/half cafe opens its doors

When it comes to laser cutting services in the UK, it’s hard to beat RazorLAB for precision and expertise. Now you can throw in some tasty treats and a chat with the guys in the the know because they have just opened Makers|CAFE.

For those who need a little caffeine to cultivate their creativity, this really is a dream come true:

“…a space where people could have a quality coffee while having their prototypes made on the spot”

It’s an exciting time for makers in London, and Makers|CAFE are celebrating with a launch party this Thursday (August 21) where a lucky few will enjoy live music, free drinks and laser cutters + 3D printers in action.

If you are in the area and like the sound of joining in the fun when Makers|CAFE opens its doors to the public, you can RSVP at their Facebook event page or Eventbrite page. Spaces are limited so be sure to get in quick!

via Makers|CAFE

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "3D Printing, Events, Guy Blashki, Laser ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 22:52


Brad Hill is the creator behind LittleRP – A DLP projector-based resin printer that can be put together for as little as $499.

Brad set out to create a printer that was open, flexible and affordable. Rather than using proprietary resins, the LittleRP is designed to use as many different formulations of UV curing resins as possible. By focusing on smaller, higher quality prints, the LittleRP is able to provide high accuracy while keeping costs low.

The flexibility and low cost helps explain the explosive popularity of the LittleRP’s Kickstarter, which passed it’s funding goal of $25,000 is under 24 hours. As of this writing the LittleRP has raised over $98,000, just under 400% of it’s original goal!

The LittleRP’s sleek translucent enclosure is made from Ponoko’s Acrylic Orange Tint, and the housing is made from Melamine Finished MDF seen here:

The LittleRP works using a process known as 3D stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses light-sensitive resin and a high intensity light source to build a 3D object, layer by layer, rather than using spools of plastic filament as on a majority of 3D printers currently on the market. You can check out the LittleRP in action on it’s Kickstarter Video:

Want to get your hands on your own LittleRP? Head over to Brad’s Kickstarter page to get one while you still can.

Inspired to make your own project? Signup to make and sell for free!

Author: "Dan Devorkin" Tags: "3D Printing, Digital Fabrication, Laser ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 18:00

Using Inkscape to design your own laser cut product from scratch

Welcome to the third instalment of Ponoko’s back-to basics tutorials. This time we get creative and generate a laser cut design from scratch that can be used with your Ponoko Personal Factory.

It all begins with key information from the Inkscape Starter Kit, a tremendously useful resource that sorts out everything you need to know about the free software package, Inkscape.

The tutorial walks through how to use Inkscape to draw a design using basic shape tools, the text tool, and Path commands. In the demonstration, Josh whips up a laser cut coaster and repeats the pattern before finalising the file to be ready for laser cutting.

In a little over ten minutes, you’ll be able to:

• Create a design from scratch with Inkscape
• Create and combine basic shapes
• Check your design in outline mode
• Format your design for laser cutting

Stay tuned for Ponoko’s Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 4 where we get to see the laser work its magic.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 05:39

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #187

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut cherry wood octopus wall clock from Graphic Spaces.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, a honeymoon, a bear, a cross, a game, a skeleton…

Above is a laser cut chipboard scrapbook from Bungalow Glow.

Above is a laser cut wood brooch from Hungry Designs.

Above is a laser cut acrylic cross bracelet from Elizajay Charm.

Laser cut acrylic tray for the board game Eclipse from Eagle River Games.

Laser cut and etched acrylic skeleton from Twelvemo.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art ..."
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Date: Friday, 08 Aug 2014 17:58

iPad app makes it even easier to design for laser cutting

When we first heard about the iPad app Sketch It Make It, we were pretty excited. Now that developers Blank Slate Systems have released their clever drawing app to the public, our fingers are really twitching!

Sketch It Make It is able to rapidly transform even the wobbliest scribbles into neat geometric forms, and have them ready to export for digital manufacturing almost instantly. Whether you are laser cutting, using CNC milling or 3D printing there has quite possibly never been a faster way to turn ideas into tangible objects.

To discover more, download the app to your iPad and check out this series of brief tutorial videos.

The following clip also provides a neat snapshot of just how intuitive Sketch It Make It is to use.

via Sketch It Make It

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "3D Printing, CNC Routing, Guy Blashki, L..."
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