Last Thursday Nancy and I had a great time showing Phil Renato and his students, Patrick, Caitlin, Hattie, Ryan, and Katie around the Shapeways office and talking shop. In addition to being a Shapeways community member (you can check out his shop here), Phil is the Founding Chair of the Allesee Metals/Jewelry Design Program at Kendall College of Art & Design. He’s also the person that took a miniature model of one of Baroba’s trademark bunnies and coated in with clear auto polyurethane, red base, and a heavy clear to result in this beautiful specimen:
(Check out more images like these on Phil’s Flickr stream)
Since Phil and his students work in a state-of-the-art studio at Kendall surrounded with metal working, wax injection systems, laser welding and 3D printing, they’re embedded in the world of digital fabrication in a way that some of us only dream of.
We took turns giving each other informal presentations on what we both do and how, and then we broke out the models, so we could check out one another’s work.
Phil is a master of post-production, and his knowledge was really helpful for Nancy and I in exploring our own ideas about what’s feasible near-term for the Shapeways community. Figuring out how to make an initial 3D printed model shinier, smoother, more colorful, and more professional looking is essential in enabling our community to create models which are on a finished product level. We’ve been moving forward quickly, but there’s still a long way to go. Phil has also spent the last few years helping people understand what they can and can’t do to materials, why, and how they can push those limits while maximizing their chances of success. With our efforts right now to define our design rules, and help the community make the most of 3D printing, his insight was a big help.
I hope we can continue to learn from people like Phil and places like Kendall. They have all the right ingredients to be special engines of experimentation and innovation for the rest of us on the digital fabrication frontier. So the question is, where else should me, Nancy, and the rest of the team be looking to find learning and inspiration, so we can better help you?