Make with Ponoko

Making gets easier every day. Concepts: Smarter Sketching has aligned with Ponoko: the World’s Easiest Making System, to allow you to laser cut or engrave anything you design with your fingers. The process is iPad-easy: Simply sketch your design in Concepts, upload it to Ponoko, then hold your baby in your hands.

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Items You Need

The Short Version

  1. Open Concepts on your iPad and create a new drawing.
  2. Check off your Pre-Design Checklist (below). This ensures your drawing can be read by the laser.
  3. Draw your design. We recommend using Precision Mode, Snap, and Smoothing to get the cleanest cuts and lowest price.
  4. Double-check your design. There are some size tolerances you should stick to which are listed below.
  5. Export in SVG and upload your design to Ponoko. Then wait anxiously for your parts to arrive!

Detailed Instructions

Download and Open Concepts

Concepts: Smarter Sketching is a new player in the creative world. Created by the small-but-brilliant team at TopHatch, Concepts re-imagines Making. Combining freeform sketching with CAD accuracy, you can sketch natural ink with your finger or stylus, and out comes a fully manipulable vector object. A simple tap-and-hold will pick up anything you draw and “bring it back to life”, allowing you to change size, placement, tool, color, anything with a tap. A special Precision Mode provides design features like Snap, Measurements, and Shape Guides. Really useful, really cool.

You can download Concepts from the Apple App Store here: Android is not currently supported.

You can use the free version for most of the drawing, but you'll need the Pro Pack to export in SVG. It is very inexpensive for an app of its quality, and well worth the price.

Once you've downloaded the app, open it and tap the “New” button at the top left of the screen.

Check off your Pre-Design Checklist

Important Note: You must use all of these settings for your project to be completed successfully.

While in the drawing, tap the Settings gear in the bottom left of the toolbar. Then set the following settings:

Once those are set, close the Settings menu by touching the gear again. Next, we'll set up the drawing tool.

Start Drawing

Here are some guidelines and hints to help as you go:

Double Check your Design

Since cutting costs real money (even if it is inexpensive), we recommend going over this list of questions before you submit to Ponoko.

We also recommend you check Ponoko's Blog for tips on the most efficient ways to Make. We especially like Tip #2: Paper Prototypes from your Home Printer and Tip #3: Make a Cardboard Version, which help you save time and money. More are posted all the time.

Export and upload your design to Ponoko.

Ponoko uses SVG files to relay coordinate data to the laser. The process of sending your drawing to SVG is really easy — just tap the Export button near the bottom of the toolbar. Choose SVG as the format, Configured Size and Use Background Color.

On the next screen, you'll be asked where to save it. Open In is a popular and flexible choice, which allows you to save to Dropbox or other automatically-synced places.

Then go to, create an account (if you haven't already), and upload the file. You'll get an instant price quote, shipping information, and options for sharing your creations with others.

Congratulations on Making something AWESOME! Email us at concepts [at] to show us what you've done!