This week we highlight a veteran of Shapeways, Vincent Greco. He's been with us since 2008 and has a shop full of possibilities, materials, and imagination that we hope will inspire old and new members alike.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located? My name is Vincent Greco, known here as Magic. I am located at Vincennes a city touching Paris in France. I have a background of software engineering and I am currently working in the video game industry. I am one of the oldest Shapeways community members (since August 2008). 3D-printing is more than a passion for me: it’s an addiction!
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways? I always loved mathematics and geometry: when I was a child, I made all the platonic solids in cardboard, and later some other geometric solids in wood. I remember that when I wanted to explain a concept (for instance how do you cut a cube into two to obtain an hexagonal section), while my professors did a drawing, I was making a solid paper model. But honestly, I was not so talented in manual labor. That's why when I became an engineer, I was looking for an easy way to materialize my ideas. 3D-printing was the solution. Thanks to Shapeways this solution became affordable.
How did you learn how to design in 3D? I am self-taught: at my work, I am in contact with artists specializing in 3D-modeling, and when I discovered the 3D-printing technology, I decided I had to learn how to use a 3D-modeling software. After all, I was a software engineer, and it was just another piece of software. I consider that behind each engineer there is an artist.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you? The common points of all my designs is their simplicity: very often they are made of intersections of plans, spheres and cylinders (remember: I am self-taught). The geometry, in particular the platonic solids, naturally lead me to dice designs. I did a lot of them (probably too many), but I love that. My specialty is making dice with an unusual (may I say “odd”?) number of faces: a Kickstarter is currently running to mass-produce the most successful of them. Besides the geometric shapes, the materials also inspire me. In particular those two materials introduced by Shapeways: the Glazed Ceramics, for which I designed a lot of espresso cups, and solid metals like Brass, Bronze or Silver for which I designed some jewelry. I think that the reason why I like those materials more than others is that once your models printed you cannot tell if they were 3D-printed of made with a more traditional process (well, except from the strange shapes I guess).
How do you promote your work? Mainly I post a lot on Shapeways forums, and I have a Youtube channel. Occasionally I also use my Twitter account.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you? Leonardo Da Vinci is for sure a source of inspiration for me (sometimes I wonder whether I was born too late). In the Shapeways community, I love the way Bathsheba mixes art and mathematics. From Virtox I admire Gyro the cube of course but also all his ceramics creations. The work of Henry Segerman in the field of 3D-printing applied to math concepts is outstanding too. And finally I’d like to mention Stop4Stuff with whom I share a lot of interests (dice, chainmail, and jewelry with moving marbles…).
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing? I am not very good at cooking, so I would say: food! Yes, I know sugar and chocolate are already available…
Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank the Shapeways community, who is always very helpful, for instance in the “Work In Progress” forum, and thus all the community members posting. And of course I’d like to stress the good job done by the moderators (Mike and Stony among others).
Thank you for the lovely interview and compliments, Vincent! Browse his whole shop here. Socialize on Twitter or YouTube - and definitely check out the Kickstarter and show your support and spread the love.
I agree with the engineer -> artist statement. People who are engineers often consider themselves bastions of logic and factual analysis. They might even disdain artistic pursuits as not pragmatic or too fanciful. However, as a software engineer myself, I also think that pursuit of one aspect alone limits our capacity to perform flexibly. Being a whole person is not just solving problems or creating beautiful things - it's both.