If we told you that there was a magic box that could "customize and make almost any product imaginable," it might sound like a Jetson's-style tall tale. Ponoko, the New Zealand/San Francisco-based virtual manufacturing site, recently launched Personal Factory 5, a new version of their software that promises just that. This version includes CNC routing (making it easy to create large format items like tables and chairs), laser cutting and 3D printing options. And if that wasn't enough, Autodesk has weighed-in on the action by incorporating Autodesk 123D, a free public beta modeling software in the new Personal Factory App Gateway.
The App Gateway creates a marketplace of apps for makers; inviting developers both large and small to create apps using the Personal Factory API and aides creatives of all walks—from hobbyists to micro-businesses—to better design and customize individualized objects. Besides Autodesk 123D, included in the launch of the App Gateway are SketchChair (remember when we helped Kickstart their project?), MagicBox (customization), Tinkercad, Fabripod (Lamps), Housifier (Doll Houses) and RealGame (trophies).
Big news for a growing playing field of RP and 3D printing services. We're still holding our breath for the "Where's my jetpack" app.