Shapeways

Meet the Shapies: Lefteri Koutsoulidakis

Meet the Shapies introduces the people behind the 3D printing processes that bring your favorite products to life. This time, get to know Lefteri Koutsoulidakis, a senior customer service agent in New York who makes answering all your 3D printing queries look easy. Read on for a taste of Lefteri’s side hustles and stellar sense of humor. 

Where is your hometown?
Astoria, the mini-Greece of Queens, New York.

How long have you been with Shapeways?

✌This many years.

How long have you been 3D printing?
I work in Customer Service so I technically am not, myself, printing.  But I’ve been designing models and getting them 3D printing for two years now. My first experience with 3D printing was with Shapeways. Prior to joining, I attended Full Sail University to study Game Art, and learned how to model using Maya. I’ve recently started messing around with scanned models and correcting them in ZBrush.  

What is your favorite 3D printed object ever?
Forever ever? Hmm..

I can’t honestly pick a favorite. I will say that my favorite types are generally models with moving parts. It’s amazing that you can get these interlocking parts which normally would require assembly, and they just come out like that, in tact, and moveable.

Speaking of, I just ordered this magnificent beast right here:

Animaris Geneticus Bellus by Theo Jansen

If you could 3D print something in any material, currently possible or not, what would you pick and why?
A personalized fully-functional customizable pair of fingerless gauntlets that had the ability to act as a phone, to show images/video on their surface and also project onto a wall.  I would be able to take photos and video with them and also 3d scan people and objects.  Since you said “possible or not”, I’ll also throw in thrusters, for some flight action.  There would be temperature control both internally and externally, so I could warm my hands up in the winter, or heat food without burning myself. I could even use them to produce and record music (microphone, audio interface, midi controller, speakers, all in one) The possibilities are endless.

In general, I would love to be able to design and print a model in multiple materials.  It would have all the internal wiring and various parts needed for it to come out of the printer fully functional, no assembly required.

Multi-material printing isn’t quite there yet, but it’s on its way:

How do you spend your time when you’re not bringing our community’s 3D printed vision to life?
I run an Entertainment company called PREP Sound (www.prepsound.com) and am currently working with my business partner on another venture called Eventful Moments www.myeventfulmoments.com, which will offer services centered around events; weddings, ceremonies, birthdays, etc. We plan to incorporate Shapeways by offering 3D scans and personalized merchandise through both companies.

After having been tied up with a few projects I’m finally getting time to start work on my own music, work on some designs I’d like to print, ride my bicycle (cautiously) through New York, and finally get to start writing a book called The Empathy Virus.

I also think it’s time I get back into playing basketball. Somewhere in between all that, I will find time to sleep and watch some of the great shows that are out there right now (shoutout to Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones).

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve learned about 3D printing in your time at Shapeways?
The various processes themselves are really interesting. But I think the most exciting thing I’ve learned about 3D Printing is its reach and the various applications it is used for.  Being in Customer Service has allowed me to interact with a wide variety of community members who have been using our services for all these different purposes.

The enthusiasm and curiosity that comes from all corners of the world is inspiring and infectious, so I find myself constantly falling back in love with 3D printing, and never coming close to falling out.  

The fact that people can upload their ideas to our marketplace and make substantial income from the sale of their products is also super exciting. I love that it’s possible for shoppers to reach out directly to these designers, discuss the design, and possibly get a customized altered version. Think of all the red tape you would have to go through to get something like that going with traditional manufacturing.

What’s on your work playlist?
It’s a mix. From Tupac to Tool to Tori Amos to the Temptations (as well as artists whose names don’t start with “T”). I particularly like 90s, 80s, and 60s music (no offense 70s, you were definitely cool too. Honorable mention).

I have been getting back into Greek music, listening a lot to Giannis Parios, Dimitris MItropanos and just a lot of old school Greek songs. I’m really excited about this new artist, Marina Satti and really dig her latest video:

If you started your own Shapeways shop, what would you sell?
For PREP Sound and Eventful moments we plan to open shops offering customizable pendants, jewelry, scans, signs for events and basically anything customizable that would appeal to musicians or to people planning a special event.

I’d also like to eventually start coming up with original characters and making those available on my own separate shop.

In a perfect world, what is the trajectory of 3D printing?
What I envision and hope for is a world where you can go online and download the necessary files for various products including devices, modify them any way you like, and get them printed, in multiple materials, within a day.  

And then an environment-friendly drone brings it over to you along with some tacos, drops them off, high fives you, says “wow those tacos sure smell amazing, enjoy!”.  It then looks down at the floor, frowning, turns to leave but you stop it and say “No, dude, where are you going?! Please, sit down and eat some tacos with me.”

And then you’re just sitting there, marveling at the device you designed and just got printed, while you and your new drone buddy enjoy some sweet tacos.

Give us some words to live by!
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t do the right thing, nothing happens. But when you do right, good things happen”.

– Robert DeNiro said this in “A Bronx Tale” written by Chazz Palminteri.

From one angle it just seems so foreboding and final. But it also feels inspiring, like an encouraging push that’s reminding us, “hey, this is what you should be focusing on, don’t take this for granted, you have something special inside of you and it’s going to be a real shame if you don’t share it with the world.”

We’re the guardians and caretakers of our own talent, the ones most responsible for what happens to it. It’s up to us whether that talent stays locked up, unused, collecting dust, or is nourished and given a chance to possibly touch the world.

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