Janne Kyttanen is one of the very first people to seize upon the opportunity to make designs for consumers using 3D printing. Janne is the founder of Freedom of Creation. FOC is a groundbreaking and inspiring design label that is ahead of the pack with regards to 3D printing & design. We were happy to interview him to find out what Freedom of Creation is all about and how Janne views the future of design and 3D printing.
Joris Peels: What is Freedom of Creation?
Janne Kyttanen:A pioneering design company busy with a new industrial revolution
Joris Peels: How did you get into 3D printing?
Janne Kyttanen:I saw it on some fair in the mid 90’s. I had my first computer when I
was 8 years old and have been pretty much counting polygons ever since.
When I saw the first 3D printer, I immediately saw every object around
me in wireframe and realized where this whole thing was going to go. I
got quite obsessed with it quite early on and skipped making products
by other means. For me it was so clear, that I didn’t see any point
making anything by hand anymore.
The RepRap project has long been a groundbreaking project to create an affordable open source 3D printer that can print itself. Many RepRap parts have already been uploaded to Shapeways. We've always been very proud of that and love the idea of our technology being used to make another complimentary one. Now the RepRapWiki site has a tutorial showing you how to take a part 3D printed by Shapeways, make a mold of it and use it to build a RepRap mendel 3D printer. This could make it very inexpensive to create the plastic parts for the RepRap and will hopefully speed up the spread of the RepRaps to all the corners of the earth.
We recently made a huge improvements to our renderings. To do this we used Blender. If you want to read all about how we used Blender you can check out a great article on the BlenderNation blog here.
We love Blender and we're giving you the Blender files so that you can do the scenes at home and play with them at your leisure. We're releasing the files under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. You can download them below.
We're also holding a special contest for all you Blender Ninja's out there. The "Have I seen the best scene" contest. Can you use the files above to create the most realistic scene? Can you take Suzanne and put her in the kitchen, the garden, anywhere? To enter the contest just post your scenes here on the forum.
The winner wins $150 in 3D printing from Shapeways!
Some tips from the pros: "Feel free to change anything you want, except for
the camera position and orientation. We need these to be fixed because
of the way the auto-scaling script works (see the 'shoe-box' in layer 2
- each object is squeezed inside).
Also, be gentle with the rendering times. Remember
that we need to render hundreds of objects per day, so don't go crazy
on 'expensive' rendering features. Using the node editor is fine.
Finally, we spent quite a bit of time on the White, Strong & Flexible
material, so please make sure that remains the same, too. Of course, if
you can substantially improve it, we won't complain ;-)"
Bill Cournoyer just made something wonderful with Shapeways. It is the Steam Punk Scout 3D printed neckerchief. For $20 you can now get the perfect accessory to go with your steam powered ballooning merit badge. The Stainless Steel variant would require some serious pocket money saving however at $95.
Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg form the Boston based design duo Nervous System. The inspiring creative duo are currently one of the front runners in computational, algorithmic and generative design. With MIT degrees in Architecture, Mathematics and biology between them their outlook on design and forms was bound to be different. And it is, from releasing the tools they've made to create their designs for free
From today until the 11th of April we will be holding the Co-Creator Creativity in Co-Design Contest. We are looking for the most interesting & inspiring co-creators that you can come up with. The winner will be a fun, interesting, beautiful interaction concept (and or final product) that at the same time results in a great gift (for oneself or someone else). The winning co-creator will win $100 in 3D printing. The top ten finalists will get a 3D print of their co-creator competition entry sent to them free of charge!
Thinking about and designing co-creators is very different from making a model or designing a product, we think this is real cutting edge stuff and want to see what you guys can do to push the envelope in co-creation.
We hope a lot of you to participate in this contest because we do think that the co-creators are a real step forward in designers working with customers in order to develop unique customized things. We believe that your creativity and 3D printing technology could result in some boundlessly interesting co-creation concepts and products. Furthermore you can still be "the first" to do something with regards to co-design. Name something else you can be first in?
Combinatory manufacturing is the combination between the unique and the mass produced. 3D printing for example can deliver unique shapes and functionality for a relatively low per unit cost. Mass produced items with millions of copies will be much cheaper per unit but will not be unique in their shape or functionality. But, by being standardized they can pack a lot of functionality into a cheap package. By combining the best of both worlds you can come up with great products.
As a technology platform the cell phone is hard to beat. They are inexpensive, ranging from $25 and up, and within the mobile phone's suite of applications a myriad of technologies are packed. Messaging, speech, speakers, screen, microphones, calling, geolocation and an OS can now be found on the simplest of devices. I believe that a cell phone would be very exciting and powerful technology technology platform for Makers and Designers to build around. Not only straightforward things such as interchangeable personalized covers but also things such as hacking a standard phone so it becomes a tracking device for your car or automatically sends out messages if leaves the county.
This is why I was so happy to see a post on Make about an inexpensive robot that uses a cell phone as its brain. The Android based phone Truckbot is also easy to programme. As much as I love the Arduino these kind of developments really make me think that for the Make community cell phones could lead to a lot of exciting products. Arduino's are great and also really pack a punch but they don't go over the counter in their millions. Check out the Truckbot video below.
The Hurt Locker was not the only big winner at the Oscars this year. 3D printing won big with 3 Oscars and four nominations. Avatar won the Academy Awards for Cinematography, Art Direction & Visual Effects. Detailed models created with 3D printing firm Objet Geometries 3D printing process were used to simulate all the lighting in the movie. This detailed and high impact use of a physical 3D printed model to "engineer" a movie. Objet 3D printing was used even more extensively in Coraline. Coraline (a fantastic and very scary movie by the way, the noise of the scissors kept me up at night) used 3D printed Objet models throughout the film. Coraline was stop motion and many of the things you see in the movie were 3D printed on Objet machines. At Shapeways we use Objet for our White Detail, Black Detail and Transparent Detail materials.The movie below shows you how 3D printing was used in Coraline.
In generative design a designer does not create the final product but rather a system, algorithm or tool that in turn generates the final product. Some generative tools create many iterations and others lead to one product. The designer does not design the painting but rather the brush or the method. Instead of the still life one could develop "painting by numbers" for example. Take Joris Laarman. Joris created the Bone Chair using a software tool that simulates bone growth. GM created that tool to model efficient structures for its cars. This caused C. Sven Johnson to ask a rather pertinent question on twitter, "Who is the designer of the "Bone Chair"?
And the question is not an easy one to answer. Is it Joris? The researcher that came up with the bone algorithm? The software developers that made the tool? The physical principles behind the algorithm? The scientists that discovered those principles? God or nature? All of the above? I for one have no answer. I do know however that generative design has a bright future.
The marriage of tech and design is all around us. In a world where everything is designed a meta "way to design" that algorithmically cuts through the clutter is very appealing. A perfect design algorithm could potentially engender choice in design the
same way that Google's PageRank set of algorithms do for the web. And this is what generative design already partially does. It simplifies design by codifying it and somewhere within lies the promise of "true", "simple" & "beautiful" design.
With technologies such as 3D printing letting everyone design or co-design things there is also a real need for generative tools. They allow for unique designs but since each is machine made, the marriage is a conceptually comfortable and inexpensive one. Also, rather than forcing the customer into a "blank canvas conundrum" whereby the sheer possibility overwhelms them to the point inactivity, generated models could lead to choice or guided choice in design.
Boston based design duo Nervous System (who will be featured in a Shapeways interview soon) write code in Processing that makes beautiful rings and other items. Jessica Rosenkrantz & Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, who make up Nervous, even provide the tools they use to make their jewelry free of charge to other designers on their site.
Belgian design duo Unfold (also the subject of an upcoming interview) who had a breakthrough with their ceramic 3D printing process recently also exhibited at Bits N' Pieces with their Brain Wave Sofa. In this design an EEG was used to "design" the sofa.
Jan Habraken (we will interview him also) & Willem Derks developed Chairgenics for the Bits n' Pieces show. For Chairgenics they created a chair genome and "bred" chairs in order to create the perfect chair.
Singapore based software company Genometri makes technology that designs objects. Their Angel's on Shapeways for example are all generated & all unique.
Mitchell Whitelaw also made the weather bracelet a bracelet that displays the weather of Canberra.
Generative design has a myriad of applications. I anticipate that generative design will grow beyond the borders of the systems they are now. One the one hand ever more whimsical "data representations" will fall short of the strictest scope of generative design. On the other hand the nature of generative design will change. Whereas now the designer designs the tool that creates the product more involvement from "consumers" and more "intelligence" in the software will evolve. At the same time the "pure algorithm" will be ignored or augmented by the designer struggling to regain more input into the final object. To me the resulting movement will not be generative design in the purest sense. Rather it will be "Dasign"or data driven design. This design may be evolutionary, algorithmic or generative design but not necessarily rely on any of these for its core inspiration or make up. It will simply have the intersection of data and design as a identifiable characteristic.
In the future I would expect to see many different data representations, Mii creators, "quiz design" and ultimately profile based design in a lot of different applications.
Data representations could be any representation of data turned into an object. A medallion based on the types of sites you visit as per your browser history. An earing where the thickness of the heart is the number of times it has been broken and the width is the number of times you've broken others. A portrait that does not show you but rather your facial symmetry (or lack thereof).
"Mii creator design" refines the sets of different generations of designs based on the users choices. Using the Nintendo Mii Creator it is already possible to with several generations come to a likeness of yourself or someone else. A similar system for bowls would quickly allow a person to, by simply choosing the design that best matched their preference out of the generated subset, come up with their designs.
In "quiz design" you answer a few questions, "what's your favorite movie? your favorite song? Which picture do you like best? etc. Based on your answers the piece of software will then design the appropriate bowl. This might seem a bit far fetched but the necessary pieces for it are being built as we speak. Initial implementations would also not be that difficult but just have to have a dataset to start off with. This set could then evolve over time.
Profile based design goes further still by assuming, based on previous web searches & purchases, choices and content enjoyed, which designs you would enjoy. This is a rather compelling technology for online retailers to put it lightly and they will drive adoption for it. If you are a designer you should to not sit still until Amazon or Facebook come out with the "you would like to create this" recommendation engine. I urge any and every designer to explore the wealth of possibility that is generative design, right now.
We shot a quick video showing you some of the test models we made for the Alumide material in the sunlight. You get to see Bathsheba's Bioform & Vorodo, Virtox's Gyro the cube & TriMatrix, DeLaVega's Ball Bearing & ejisfun's Ferris Wheel. I should really have opened with "we 3D printed a Ferris Wheel." We're offering the Alumide material until the 14th of March. The material is polyamide mixed with Aluminum. It is rigid but less strong than White, Strong & Flexible. I think it looks lovely and am sure that Alumide would be Frtiz Lang's favorite 3D printing material.
Evan Malone was one of the crucial people behind the Fab@Home project which demonstrated to many that desktop 3D printing was not a pipe dream but a usable technology. He has now founded NextFab Studio and the NextFab Organization. NextFab Studio is a Philadelphia based organization that is a hackerspace that you can go to in order to make & invent things. The NextFab Organization hopes to spread learning and information about all the open source design and fabrication technologies available. I am a fanboy and tried not to swoon.
Joris Peels: Will everyone really make everything?
Evan Malone: No. I believe there will always be economy of scale in certain
processes, and simple practical constraints, like the size of objects,
or the amount of power required to work with certain materials that
will prevent individuals from making everything. Personal fabrication
technology is a new branch of manufacturing – I doubt it will replace
the entire tree.
Joris Peels: Won't people be too lazy? Won't this only be for nerds?
Evan Malone: It is a good thing that people have diverse interests, as civilization requires vastly many other roles than product innovation.
Joris Peels: Do you believe in microproduction, of brands of one, of everyone being their own business?
Evan Malone:This is merely artisan craftsmanship with new tools. It has been
around since Neolithic humans made stone tools – some people were good
at it and everyone wants the best. It has its place, but it will not
replace all other forms of innovation and commerce.