To ring in the month of July, we’re spotlighting designer duo Noe and Pedro Ruiz of Pixil 3D. Thanks to the great appeal of their functional and unique designs, the Florida natives (and brothers!) cultivated a strong local presence their home state which helped them to move their creations to the forefront of the greater maker community.
Noe and Pedro demonstrate that it’s the destination and the journey that matter as their inspiration is rooted locally yet constantly evolving. Sharing new approaches to meet every day needs with the experiments and discoveries that happen along the way is part of their DNA as makers.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Hello and Hola! Pixil 3D is a design studio in West Palm Beach, Florida started by myself Noe Ruiz and my brother, Pedro Ruiz. Our parents are from Southern Mexico and migrated to the the United States in search of work during the early 70′s. They actually met at work while picking tomatoes from the fields of South Florida! We’re first-generation Mexican Americans and we grew up influenced by cartoons, visual effects and videos games. We’re both creative artists with a strong background in graphic design, video production, animation, and web design. We’ve worked on serval video projects as an agency, and self-published a productivity iPad app. We strive to make amazing quality products and we’re passionate about design, technology, the maker culture, and of course 3D Printing!
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
We like to design fun products mostly out of necessity, but it didn’t start that way. When Pedro and I first purchased our desktop 3D Printer, we really didn’t know what we were going to make. We loved the idea of being able to bring our 3D models to life with 3D printing. We knew we wanted to design interesting planters for our carnivorous plants garden, so we started with Tiki inspired designer toy planters. Once we got our printer dialed in, we started experimenting with fixing things around the house. Our creativity really started cooking once we got inspired to remix things around the house. Inspired by icon design and typography, our products are influenced by combing these with aesthetics and function.
Earlier this year, Pedro and I decided to shift our focus exclusively to 3D Printing, designing products and offering 3D printing services. We both work from our home studio and wear multiple hats to run our small 3D printing business. On the local level, Pedro and I have presented at local 3D printing meet ups to give demos, share our work, experiences and raise awareness about 3D printing and market places like Shapeways.
Pedro and I find ourselves giving back to the 3DP community. We get a real kick out of sharing our designs on Thingiverse for other people with 3D printers to download and print for free. We also like producing video tutorials about 3D printing on our YouTube channel. From an editors stand point, we enjoy photography and putting together sequences. It’s a passion that has carried over every industry we explore. We’re inspired to give back because we like sharing our experiences and helping others. We’ve only been 3D printing since March 2012 but we hope to continue to make fun and interesting products.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Running and operating in-house 3D Printers is empowering but it’s liberating when designers don’t have to worry about their 3D printer breaking down or shipping internationally. Pedro discovered Shapeways while attending college and had his eye on getting his models printed since. We begin listing our home 3D printed products on Etsy to test the waters. For the first six months our shop slowly grew traction, we expanded our product line and we started generating enough interest to pursue other marketplaces. We think Shapeways is one of the best marketplaces for designers to market, fabricate and sell their 3D designs. Shapeways offers more materials and finer print quality we simply could not. They also ship world-wide that gives everyone a chance to experience amazing 3D printed products.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Pedro and I learned 3D modeling and animation in college but we’re mostly self-taught. We use a combination of Autodesk Maya, ZBrush and Adobe Illustrator to design our products. Previously, we used our 3D skills to make visual effects for ads and commercials. We’ve had the pleasure of working on a few iOS games and learned the importance of optimizing models and a stream lined workflow. The transition to 3D printing continues to be a learning experience and it’s important to learn how to teach yourself new skills. Right now is the best time to learn new skills with resources from Instructables, YouTube and free open source 3D modeling software like OpenSCAD and Blender. Artists can quickly get involved with 3D printing today with intuitive web apps like Tinkercad and 123D Design.
How do you promote your work?
We love sharing our work on social channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and vine. We think highlighting our products usefulness along with its aesthetics in creative ways is the best and we just try to have fun with it. With our background in agency services, we learned to create content, campaigns and ultimately make demand for products. We have experience publishing digital products so naturally we try to leverage those techniques. We curate content for our Facebook page and schedule Tweets using Hootsuite with beautiful images and relevant hashtags. By hosting local 3D printing meetups we have opportunity to raise awareness. We also enjoy giving back to the diy 3D printing community by sharing designs on Thingiverse. It’s also a great way to expose your brand and products. Overall, we think social media is the one of the best ways to promote our brand and products.
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
We’re really inspired by Nervous System, Bathsheba, and Joshua Harker. We love their work and products because we believe they are awesome examples of people pushing the technology to its boundaries. We think the Shapeways design community as a whole is awesome and we’re stoked to be a part of it. Each designer here is diverse, creative and passionate. It’s inspiring to browse the products page and discover new designers and products. We’re still new to Shapeways and hope to meet other awesome designers in the community. We’re also inspired by brands like UK Suck, Kid Robot, Threadless, Jinx and ThinkGeek.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Every day it feels like we’re limited by our imagination and not technology. I’d love to make an iPhone case that changes color relative to its battery life (green, yellow, orange, red), not with an LED but the actual material of the case. There’s some interesting stuff happening in material science like self-assembly, synthetic smart material, and even organic manipulation. Experimental material is coming out and it’s great to see progress happening in material science. Everything has its own set of properties that make designs unique to them. We would love to see 3D Printing conductive material, multi materials and 3D Printing with edible materials!
Anything else you want to share?
Prototype, prototype and prototype again! Shapeways is awesome for prototyping close-to-final designs and we love the ability to offer our products in different materials to people all over the world! If you’ve looked at other 3DP market places, no one comes close to Shapeways. If anyone is in what we’re working on, please check us out on the social channels! Keep it awesome guys!
Ruiz and Pedro’s shared talent for reverse-engineering from a desired function or aesthetic to result in stellar creations never ceases to impress our community. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Be sure to check out Check out Noe and Ruiz’s shop and their website. If you’d like to be the next featured designer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.