This week we are happy to highlight Daryl Poe, miniature aircraft pro and enthusiast, as a shout out to our presence at the Experimental Aircraft Association event, and to all plane and miniature enthusiasts everywhere!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m a computer engineer in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Most of my day is very left-brain oriented, so working with 3D designs for Shapeways lets my creative side get a little exercise.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I’ve been interested in World War One aviation since I very young, especially for gaming. (I blame Snoopy and the Red Baron!) A few years back I realized I wasn’t limited to models that companies could mass-produce; with Shapeways, I could get a miniature printed of anything I could imagine or re-create. Many of my designs are for the less well-known biplanes and observation balloons of the Great War, rather than the familiar Triplanes and Camels. Those overlooked planes would never be practical for a conventional model company to produce: the modest customer base would not justify the tooling, production, and distribution costs. It’s amazing to me that I can start with some faded photographs or drawings of an aeroplane and be holding an accurate physical model of it within a couple weeks. Even better, anyone else interested in the same model can have their own copy.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I was browsing the internet to see if any companies manufactured a particular plane, a Maurice Farman M.F. 11, and stumbled upon a few Shapeways designs for other planes (but not the Farman). I investigated a little further and thought it might be fun to try to model one myself. Now, dozens of designs later, I’m still not running short on potential aircraft to bring back to life.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
In college, I specialized in computer graphics, so it’s something I was familiar with for a long time. I had been using Blender, a open-source 3D modeling tool, for some side projects, so it was a natural fit when it came to design my first model for 3D printing. Still, I learn something new with every design.
How do you promote your work?
Honestly I don’t do a lot of promotion. If I started thinking of this as a business rather than a pastime, it would start to make me think about which designs would garnish the highest sales, how to increase my rank on search engines, and similar things. I’d rather just wake up and say, “Wow, no one has yet modeled the 1903 Wright Flyer. Time to rectify that!”
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Kampfflieger and Colinwe were the pioneers in Shapeways WWI designs. Decapod, Jbmacek, and I have been more active lately. I think we all watch each other’s designs and look for ways we could improve our own.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I’m looking forward to the day we can make full-color models in a material as robust as White Strong & Flexible and with the detail of Frosted Ultra Detail. That will remove the task of model painting from the customer, and it will open the door to dozens of “paint jobs” for every physical model. “You’d like a SPAD 13 in Eddie Rickenbacker’s colors? I’ve got one right here…”
Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank Shapeways for putting the emphasis on the small designer and limited production runs! This has been a lot of fun, even with the occasional thin-wall warning
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOP:
- It’s rare to see a full miniatures shop with SO MANY PHOTOS!! SO nice to see
- Sections by scale for easy shopping
- Specific shop description
Thank you for the interview, Daryl! Keep up the wonderful shop, experiment the limits, and stay in touch with the community – you’re a wonderful resource for other miniatures enthusiasts! As always, if you’d like to be featured, email aimee @ shapeways.com.