This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Alex Maund, a 16-year old (no, that’s not a typo) English designer who also studies Physics, Chemistry, Math, and Electronic Systems and Control at A-level.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
my name is Alex Maund. I imagine I am one of the youngest designers on
Shapeways at only 16 years old and created my shop with Shapeways just
over a year ago. I am a student living in England, UK who is currently
studying Physics, Chemistry, Math and Electronic Systems and Control at
A-level. I do a lot of sport including rowing and playing tennis. I have
always been very keen on making and designing things since I was
little, whether these designs had practical uses or were just designed
to be fun to use. I have never had the proper resources to make my
designs until I found 3D printing and Shapeways.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I love designing anything that I know has never been designed before and that are original and unique; 3D printing gave me the complete freedom to do this. I also love designing things that push the boundaries of what is currently possible to achieve with 3D printing technology, such as my ’28-Geared Cube’ design. About half of my designs have been designed purely for myself and my own curiosity of how they will turn out and work (such as my ‘Centrifugal Puzzle Box’ and the ’28-Geared Cube’). The other half of my designs are tailored to what I think other people will want to buy themselves, such as my recent Christmas themed designs ready for the upcoming time of year: ‘Customizable Spinning Bauble Christmas Ornament’, ‘Snowman – Spinning Christmas Ornament’ and the ‘Captured Snowflake – Christmas Ornament’.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I have been aware of 3D printing for quite a while now and have been fascinated by home 3D printing. I love the freedom to design anything you could think of and have the design created as a real, tangible object quickly and relatively cheaply. This led to the discovery of 3D printing services, and Shapeways, which then gave me the resources to try my ideas out in real life. After I learned how to 3D model, I just had to try Shapeways out!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I was first introduced to 3D modeling at school a couple of years ago in an electronics lesson. We modeled very basic housing for an MP3 amplifier we built. This design was then converted into a 2D design and laser cut. After this I downloaded CAD software and (apart from this lesson) I am completely self taught. The more I experiment with the software, the more complex designs I am able to create.
How do you promote your work?
I make videos of all of my designs, as I feel that it is very difficult to convey 3D designs with only 2D pictures. Most of my designs have mechanical moving elements that are best shown in videos, which usually gain quite a lot of views and promote my work to some extent themselves. I also post my new designs on the ‘It Arrived!’ or ‘Feature This!’ sections. When Shapeways features my designs in a blog post, this has usually resulted in many other websites featuring my designs, attracting a lot of traffic to my shop. I also post on ‘instructables’ about some of my designs with the hope of winning some of the contests they hold (which is a bonus when you do win).
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
The main inspirations from the Shapeways community have to be MichielCornelissen for his original, practical and innovative designs as well as Virtox, for such a huge range of themes and creative products in his shop.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I would love to be able to 3D print circuitry into my designs, as simple as wires being 3D printed imbedded into the designs to as complex as full micro-controlled circuits being 3D printed directly in a design. This would open up a whole new way of producing more compact electronic products and interactive designs. It would make it a lot cheaper for everyone to create their own custom electronic devices, and the innovation of such products would happen at a much quicker rate.
How did the Shop Owner Challenge help you? What advice would you give to other shop owners about growing and nurturing their shops?
The Shop Owner Challenge helped me a lot. It made me look at my shop from the buyers point of view and caused me to navigate my shop as if I was a buyer to see what impression it gives off. The most important tips I took away from the challenge and would give to other shop owners are: look at your shop from the buyers point of view and make your shop look as professional as possible. You can do this by having good photographs, complete descriptions and shop categories, which keeps your shop neat and organized. Also, set up Google Analytics for your shop. I have found it very useful to see which of my products are getting the most views and the sources of these views, which helps to know the effectiveness of any promotions you have set up.