“What should I make with a 3D printer?”

Before the start of the semester, I really didn’t know what to expect from the class I enrolled in called Content Creation. The description of the class said something about 3d printers and some other stuff. I was intrigued with the idea of using a 3D printer to make something, but I didn’t know much about them.

I asked my friends what I should make. They all, without exception, had the same reaction to this question.

“3D printing? That’s so cool. I saw that on TV.”

Yes, but what should I make?

“On the show that I watched, they made a X. You should make a X.” Fill in whatever you want for X. People told me about TV shows where they’d made all sorts of things, from skulls to bunny rabbits. Whatever someone had seen on TV was what they thought I should do.

I thought this was really interesting. No one could come up with an original idea. I couldn’t come up with an original idea; that’s why I was asking my friends in the first place. I asked more and more people and kept having the same conversation.

Throughout the semester, I’ve been thinking about creativity. None of my friends are particularly unimaginative. Some of them are extremely creative artists. So why couldn’t they come up with fresh ideas for 3D printing? I think it’s because they don’t have any experience with it.

Creativity isn’t born whole from the brow of some god. People need exposure to other’s ideas which they can then build on. Creativity needs a lattice. As the summer progressed, I saw this again and again in myself and in my fellow classmates. Looking at how others solved a problem or invented something spurs the creative juices of people. Having others around isn’t just useful because maybe someone has expertise that you do not and they can tell you which buttons to push or what path to follow. Having people around is actually part of the fuel that creativity requires to function.

The value of maker spaces isn’t just in the opportunity to share tools and to share knowledge. The most important thing is the way that one mind can spark another.

Folding

I made this little box out of card stock with the Silhouette Cameo.

 My beautiful picture

I took it home and decorated it. I drew stars, hearts and peace signs on it with a glittery marker, and I tied on a piece of curly ribbon.

My beautiful picture

Up till now, I thought of the Silhouette as a good tool for 2D projects. This little box makes me look at things differently. With the magic of folding, all sorts of little boxes might be possible. I wonder what the heaviest cardstock is that Silhouette can take. Will it accept really skinny cardboard? With stiffer material, one could make somewhat bigger boxes. There are lots of different designs for boxes that would work as well.

No need to stop at boxes, for that matter. Amazing things are possible when one combines cutting with folding. The Silhouette would be an awesome tool for making a pop-up book. Or holiday ornaments. There are all sorts of possibilities.

I looked at Pinterest to see what others had done with a Silhouette and folded cardstock. Just as I expected, I found many amazing things that people had created. 

Arquitectura_Origamica_11

Folding provides depth, so that cardstock can become three dimensional. This creates whole new categories of things that can be made with the already versatile Silhouette.  

Emergence

I can go my whole life without knowing about something. Then when I learn of it’s existence, suddenly it’s everywhere. So it is with the maker movement. All of the sudden I’m seeing newspaper articles, ads for art supplies, even ads for rental housing; all referencing makers. It’s strange how something can be almost common in one’s environment yet still be so hidden.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/2014/0706/The-maker-movement-creates-D.I.Y.-revolution?cmpid=editorpicks&google_editors_picks=true

On another note, I have yet to come up with an idea for my final project. I think I might schedule a trip to Ax Man for inspiration.

http://www.ax-man.com/

Art Studio as Maker Space

My beautiful picture

An artist friend of mine likes to invite people over to her house to share the tools and supplies in her studio. She said, sure, I could take pictures; but of course as soon as I pulled out the camera everyone hid.

My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture