Playing with Glow-in-the-dark silly putty at the Institute of Making at the University College London.
The Institute of Making is a cross-disciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to diamonds, socks to cities.
I’ve been working with digital fabrication for a while now,
enjoying the hype cycle of 3D Printing and exploring new scenarios of creation, production and consumption.
In the past week I had some of hiccups on my projects that I’d like to share,
the first one, came from a twit alerting of a copy of CrayonCreatures.com, a service to turn children’s drawings into figurines that I started 5 months ago as an experiment on personalized goods & on-demand production that turned into a successful worldwide service of customized 3D printed figurines.
The past months have been quite crazy, fulfilling orders, answering interview and sending pictures to press requests. The project was first covered at the Wired magazine just three days after it was launched and it then appeared in various TVs, radio programs, international printed magazines and online publications from the tech-world to the mom-networks. In April, crayonCreatures was flying all over the world when it was published under “innovation” at the KLM’s in-flight magazine. All very nice. Thanks.
I’ve sent figurines to all five continents and orders keep coming, specially from USA and Japan.
During these months, I had requests for licensing, franchising and affiliation in Latvia, South Africa, UK, Korea and China.
CrayonCreatures is still a one-man operation,
it is a nice adventure that I like to run, specially when I get e-mails from satisfied customers and people just saying “hello, I love what you do“. Thanks again.
Fair enough, the tools are out there for everyone to use,
but I’m disappointed to see smart people taking the easy route and copy what already exists, without bringing it a step forward.
By taking, I mean, using the same words that came to my mind the day I put the website together and wrote something quick to describe the service.
English is not my mother tongue, and I’m sure that there might be many better ways to say:
“Kids produce an immense amount of drawings that populate fridges, living rooms and workspaces. Now you can turn them into real figurines“.
How is that possible?
Someone starting a business of something that already exists and describing it with the same worlds…. Didn’t anyone googled it?
From that point on, strange coincidences pile up;
Fonts on the website are very similar to the ones on the v.1.0 of CrayonCratures.com,
Some photos have the same look and feel,
Here is the thing:
Digital fabrication lowers the entry barriers to the world of making things to a point that anyone can start producing and delivering a goods service in a matter of weeks. And this is GREAT.
I don’t mind people doing similar things as me.
It would be like having a fruit shop and being annoyed by others selling fruits.
What I don’t understand is people deciding to focus their efforts into the new and fantastic world of digital fabrication and doing what already exists out there.
Right now I have a feeling,
and I’m building up an opinion.
I’m in favor for all the OpenWhatever (OpenHardware, OpenDesign, OpenSource, OpenGovernment….),
That’s why I didn’t registered or legally protected the idea behind CrayonCreatures.com
Because being open, you bring to others the opportunity to build upon what you do,
but (naively enough) I didn’t contemplated the possibility of someone taking literally what I did and stamping a new name on it, and this really hurts.
Is there a formula to stimulate innovation without the downsides of restrictive protection?
I know, it is called CC (creative commons), but what about business models?
How to dissuade blatant copies while encouraging inspiration?
I have some ideas to help me feel better though:
Get serious about it and officially ask them to stop. (not my style)
3D Print a tiny horse head and send it to them. (godfather style)
ignore it, and keep delivering a great product and service as I’ve been doing since started.
Plus, as a geographical fact, being in Barcelona, I’ll always be at least one day ahead of any copycat from America
As part of a series of events being held at the MADE MakerSpace at the basement of Makers of Barcelona, Cunicode gave a hands-on workshop on design for 3D Printing, where participants played with Sketchup to build a customized lego brick and printed it with a DIY 3D Printer.
This mont’s Wired Magazine comes with a nice cover story about 3D Printing,
And three of the coffee cups are displayed as an example of design for 3D Printing, in ceramics.
You might think of 3-D printing as bleeding-edge technology, relevant only to geeks or high-end design workshops. But you may have encountered a 3-D printer already, in circumstances so prosaic you didn’t even notice.
Let’s start at the dentist’s office. Many custom dental fittings are now 3-D printed—like the series of mouth guards, each slightly different from the last, that are used to change tooth alignment over months. After a dental technician scans the current position of the teeth, all positions intermediate to the desired end point are modeled by software and then printed out in plastic. Also, if you’re lucky enough to have a dentist who can replace a crown in a single sitting, it’s because models are 3-D printed and then the replacement teeth are milled right there in the office.
And that’s just the tooth business. Practically every consumer item or electronic gadget you own has been prototyped on a 3-D printer; ditto for the newer buildings around you. Today you can get a custom 3-D-printed action figure of your World of Warcraft character or your Xbox Live avatar. And if you go to Tokyo, you can have your head scanned for a photo-realistic action figure of yourself. (Try not to get too creeped out.)
Commercial 3-D printing works with only a few dozen types of materials, mostly metals and plastics, but more are in the works. Researchers are experimenting with exotic “inks” that range from wood pulp to sugar. Some devices can extrude liquid foods, like cupcake icing and melted chocolate. Soon we’ll be able to print electric circuits, potentially making complex electronics from scratch.”
With the advent of affordable, advanced desktop 3-D printers like the Makerbot Replicator and Cubify’sCube, we’re standing at the starting line of a manufacturing revolution. These tools, once reserved for top-level firms, give curious minds everywhere rapid prototyping capabilities for almost any type of project. Online 3-D object storehouses like Shapeways and Thingiverse offer immediate access to an ever-growing collection of printable and manipulatable objects, removing supply chain limitations. And new, straightforward software like Autodesk’s 123D series and TinkerCAD are allowing people to invent 3-D printable creations formerly relegated to creude sketches on scratch paper. One of the biggest questions about this revolution, though, is what ways we’ll see it develop and spread. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired, DIY robotics enthusiast, and author of recently released Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, discusses that notion in this month’s cover story.
You’ll build your own 3DPrinter and develop a design project to be made with your machine.
3D Print Workshop
This course is conducted jointly by the Fundació CIM (UPC) (Llorens Artigues 12, Barcelona) and ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona (La Rambla 30-32, Barcelona)
from 12 to 21 September 2012. 60h
2.400 € (Includes RepRap machine, the student makes it and brings it home)
Spanish / Catalan / English
from 10am to 2pm and from 3pm to 7pm
Students with Degree qualifications in engineering or degree in design. Graduates in the fields of design, engineering, technology or production. Professionals with experience in the field of engineering or design. People self-taught in new production technologies
Bernat Cuní (ELISAVA – Cunicode), Albert Fuster (Head of studies Degree in Design ELISAVA), Felip Fenollosa (Technical director Fundació CIM), Xavier Riudor (Head of Science and Technology Area ELISAVA), Arnau Díaz (academic management Fundació CIM), Albert Camps (Fundació CIM), Xavier Martínez (Fundació CIM). Lectures: Josef Prusa, Adrian Bowyer (RepRap Core Developer), Roger Uceda (Fundació CIM).