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Hello 3D Printer, welcome on board!

By Muhan, 20. June 2014

get-3D-printing-integrated-to-daily-creative

 

3D printing is making headlines worldwide and has quickly captured the imagination of designers and engineers alike. Thanks to advances in technology and a steady drop in the price, we now stand at the cusp of a new revolution, perhaps as significant as the industrial revolution itself. It is now foreseeable that 3D printers will find their way into mainstream consumption within the next decade and could become a regular household feature, ultimately reshaping the retail landscape forever. While a 3D printer in the home is still a few years off the reality is that for a design business a 3D printer is quickly becoming a must have tool.

Not one to stay behind at WILDDESIGN, we’ve installed same 3D printer model in both our Shanghai and Gelsenkirchen offices.  Our product designers François de Martrin-Donos (CN), Dennis Kulage and Thomas Galletley (DE) share their thoughts on how the newest member of the team will contribute to the creative process.

 

So what are the benefits of 3D printer from a product designer’s point of view?

NO “ON SCREEN TRAP

While computers have enabled designers to realize creative ideas for well over 2 decades there are still certain limitations in the product design process. Thomas relates to this well and explains “when you see something on a 2D screen you are limited by your own imagination, the screen distorts your sense of scale and proportion. Having a 3D model in your hand allows your brain to take in the subtleties of the design, evaluating it on a whole new level.”

 

PHYSICALLY SHARING AN IDEA

“WILDDESIGN having the exact same model in both headquarters makes good sense” remarks Dennis. Gone are the days of both teams needing to wait days for couriers to deliver mock ups for review. Models can now be printed simultaneously and reviewed together by both parties holding the same physical object in their hands. This is a great aid in sharing ideas at a concept stage of a design project and has greatly reduced the time needed when working across the globe.

business-card-case-by-WILDDESIGN

A card case for the WILDDESIGN business card only - it introduces you quitly while carrying it around.

A case for the WILDDESIGN business card only – it introduces you to others quietly while carrying it around.

 

FINE TUNING CREATIVTY

François, product designer at our Shanghai office, made his first experience with the 3D printer whilst designing a charger for a hand held device. The brief required the charger to not only charge the product but also to hold it stably whilst doing so. “With the 3D printed mock ups, I was able to fine tune the tolerances of the connection whilst optimising the construction of the housing until it worked just how I wanted” François remarks “in the past these type of tweaks could only be made late on in the prototyping process leading to increases in time and budget needed to find the best solution”.

 

How will 3D printing integrate and influence the design process in the future?

The overall agreement between all of our designers is that 3D printing will have its place throughout the design process. However the feeling is that new tool will have more influence on the actual process itself rather than the final result. Releasing designers from the restraints of traditional manufacturing processes 3D printing will allow for more creative freedom. “During the initial phase we will be able to test the products ergonomics whilst at a later stage we can then test more specific technical details for example the assembling of more parts” claims Dennis. “It will not only change the process itself but will change the designer’s mind set altogether” adds François.

 

The 3D printers at WILDDESIGN feature a camera which allows designers to check on the progress of the print from wherever they want. However our designers are often found watching the rhythmic flow and hum of the print head adding layer after layer to the latest design concept.

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Muhan

Muhan

Muhan: 8 years living and working in Germany and recently come to Shanghai. From a product designer became a blogger, I am always trying to catch up, explore and learn from the fast- changing world.

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