suggested this on April 05, 2011 18:33
You should setup webcams viewing your 3D printing machines and send out an email when the Making Status is "making in progress" so I can watch the magic happen.
Thanks for the suggestion - we've talked about this in the past and absolutely love the idea.
Actually making it happen from a practical and technical side however is currently in the too-hard basket, I'm afraid.
It's possible we'll be able to implement the idea eventually - but its not something we're planning on implementing in the near future.
Thanks for the encouragement on this Mark! There are naturally a number of factors to resolve to make this happen - none of which are our core business - but it's something we're still keen to try and implement at some stage in the future.
This seems like the kindof project one could put out to tender, the Maker community is full of people who set this stuff up all the time.
I know Ponoko is in a "focus" business strategy mode atm, but please be wary of stagnating. Ponoko's vibrant, dynamic and innovative image is a major part of your brand identity. If your core development team is already stretched too thin concentrating on your current focus-push strategy, putting some new fluff projects (like this webcam idea) up for tender may be an option worth throwing some spare change at.
Being able to include a video of a piece being made (especially high price pieces) can add a "Meet the meat" aspect to products. It's an intimate back-story, authentic pedigree, could be quite a value adder. Remember the demographic base wants customised + personalised products. People flock to these custom products because they are a sort of token of authenticity, they are used to stand out from the top-down, alienating, sterile blur of typical mass-production.
Here's a video of Ponoko doctors giving birth to my laser-cut son :)
Hi Jordan. We're definitely looking into getting some video content to give people a much better understanding of the process. And our 'focus mode' is more about making what we've got a lot better rather than adding something totally new and tangentially related. For example, the USA office just went solar powered. All of our electricity, including our lasers, are now powered by California sunshine! We're also employing our tech resources in a very focused way: we should have some super helpful updates to our automated file checker rolling out soon. We're also starting to approach ways to improve the UX of our site.
As far as the live webcam, the #1 reason we can't do this isn't technical as much as it freaks a lot of customers out. Because many of our customers are selling their Ponoko-made products, they are rightfully very protective of their designs and their processes. And many would prefer that people did not know how/when/where their product parts are made. So due to customer confidentiality, we simply cannot put up a public web cam.
If you have any other suggestions on how customers could be more engaged with Ponoko and the process, we'd love to hear them!
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