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Touching the Future

By August 30, 2012 July 29th, 2017 No Comments

On-demand manufacturing may not be the latest thing, but it is still pretty cutting-edge – for most of us the idea that we can design a product and get it made individually and quickly is still esoteric – the stuff of Wired magazine. But just like desktop publishing revolutionized design and printing, 3d manufacturing is set to change the landscape of product design, development and creation. We took a small but significant step into this arena in the last month or so. Based on a rough sketch, Nick Sprague (15), son of Studio Two Creative Director Kevin Sprague, built a 3d model in Autocad and illustrator of a simple bracelet with embossed figures. Nick is entirely self-taught in sketchup, autocad and other 3d modelling tools, a side effect of his own interests in virtual spaces developed through years of Minecraft and Halo Forge. His skill set translated the sketch into a perfect CAD model of the bracelet. We submitted the files to Shapeways.com and in about 2 weeks received back prototypes of our design in black and white plastic and stainless steel.

The products are interesting – the finish varies and even though the system is essentially entirely computer driven on the manufacturing end it shows some variability and quality control that will require further testing and investigation. But this was an experiment – touching the future – and our first small steps are highly satisfactory. As design professionals, it is beholden on us to stay connected to and fluent in the tools we have at hand to express our client’s vision – be it in print, signage, web, or product. On-demand 3d manufacturing was a mystery to us 2 months ago – ano now thanks to the precocious abilities of a nascent 3d designer and the wonderful richness of the internet, we have opened this particular mystery, revealed some of its many secrets, and opened up a new channel for our business and our clients to explore.

For those of you who are photographers or enjoy the iconography of cameras, the motivation for these bracelets should be clear…

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