Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shape Shifter

Heidi Lee's Coctail Parasol Hat

This weekend, I made an unexpected discovery: the 3D printing company Shapeways (EDIT: along with Openhouse Gallery, Ultimaker, Up!, Eventi Hotel, Fatboy, Make Magazine and Challenge Post) has launched a monthlong pop-up shop, 3DEA, at the Eventi Hotel, featuring plenty of 3D printers, examples of the products printed on their machines, and most excitingly, workshops and demonstrations on how to use the software and printers.  As 3D printers become less expensive, and make their way into the consumer market, 3D software programs such as Rhino become more commonplace alongside more user-friendly programs such as 123D Design.  In the very near future, we may be printing everything from doorknobs to high-heeled pumps at home, but between then and now, there's an exponential amount of new design possibilities being opened up by this technology.  For example, on my visit to the shop, I learned that there are industrial machines that are capable of 3D printing directly into metal, eliminating the casting process and the need for wax models, while simultaneously lifting many potential design limitations set by tricky molds.  I signed up for a free ring making class tomorrow, but hope to be able to make time for some of the paid classes coming up this month. Here's a small peek at some of the shape-making possibilities on display.

 Biomimicry Shoe by kspaho


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