Current status and difficulties of consumer-driven design

Matt Sinclair of the We don’t do retro blog has been interviewed by Duann Scott for Ponoko’s blog.

In one of the questions of this interesting interview, Matt gives a good feeling for the concrete difficulties facing self-produced designs and 3D printing.

Matt Sinclair on the current limitations of customer-driven design:

There are two main ones, which both come down to the question of ‘quality’. The first is that the surface finish of parts made by rapid prototyping or rapid manufacturing is relatively poor compared to mass manufactured products: they tend to have ridges, or rough surfaces, and the colours are limited. But these are gradually improving, and it’s worth remembering that injection moulding is a process that’s 140 years old. 3D printers and other rapid manufacturing technologies are still in their infancy by comparison. The second limitation is the tools that consumers have available to design their own products. This is hard enough in 2D, which is why I imagine Ponoko has introduced Photomake, for people who can’t use Adobe Illustrator. 3D Computer Aided Design is much harder to learn, most designers take at least three years to get good at a single CAD package. So there needs to be much simpler modelling tools, and that’s now a significant part of my research. But again there are signs that things are moving: Google SketchUp and 3DVia Shape are undoubtedly consumer-oriented, and Shapeways Creator and FluidForms show some interesting approaches. I also think there’s a hell of a lot to learn from Spore Creature Creator, in the way it both helps and restricts you in designing new creatures.”

1 Comment Current status and difficulties of consumer-driven design

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