Ponoko Order Timeline

Ponoko is an awesome service that lets you design your own items to be laser cut and delivered to your door. I’ve been using them to cut mustaches for mustache neckwarmers, and I’ve got a few more projects I’m working on but haven’t uploaded for production. They have a marketplace where you can sell what you’ve designed, but since this project has so much additional assembly, that wouldn’t work. So how long does it take to get your goodies into your hands? Their shipping FAQ states:

The ‘average’ order is custom made and delivered within about 2 weeks, give or take a few days.

It turns out that’s not too far off the mark. Keep reading for the timeline of my most recent order.

Sunday, October 10

Inspiration strikes: Mario mustaches!  I do some Google image searching, find a few reference pictures, then dive into Illustrator.  It takes about half an hour to get the shape right, including printing them and cutting them out to see how big they are in the real world, not just on the computer screen.  This step is an important check in the process.

I’ve already got a copy of their layout template downloaded from a previous project, so I open that up and copy the ‘stache onto it.  Then comes the tricky part — how to fit as many possible on the 7 inch by 7 inch piece.  What if I put them on diagonally?  No. What if I put them on in alternating directions up, down, up, down?  No.  Skootch them closer, closer, closer.  I end up with an annoying space too small to fit another one, but big enough that I feel bad about “wasting” it.  I finally decide to do one smaller mustache to fill that space, maybe to use in a kid’s neckwarmer.

Upload the EPS file, choose the material (5mm black wool felt), double check, triple check, enter payment info, then start waiting.   Must be patient, must be patient…

Friday, October 15

Email from Ponoko: Great news! Your design and materials are good to go, so your factory will soon begin making. 5 days so far.  Not bad.

Wednesday, October 20

Email arrives from Ponoko:  Yippeee! Your creation has been custom made and shipped to you.


Now to check the UPS tracking and see when it should arrive… Two days!  It’s not too far between Oakland and here. Friday can’t come soon enough. 10 days.

Friday, October 22

It’s here, and only took 12 days! But ohmigod does it stink.  The burnt hair smell (laser + wool = pewwww) seeps through the packaging.  I don’t dare open it inside the house.

And there’s the delivered product, covered with its backing paper, looking exactly like the EPS file if the EPS file had scorch marks.

Coming up next: how to clean and deodorize.

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