All this focus on Modi and I forgot the cute little Uncube that came from Ponoko the other day. The material seems fairly durable, but the wall thickness feels like it might be prone to breakage at the edges.
This was a fun ‘sketch’, but I think I need much more ‘Un-‘ in my Uncube. I’ve got a few more sketches that i want to explore. I keep coming back to a concept that houses swatches of different 2d materials- like cut felt, cork or magazine clippings or whatever. That might be a fun item to test and perfect using Ponoko since they have both 2d and 3d capability.
In the product world, it takes a long time to get product to shelf, but you are trying to put so many items through the pipeline that you don’t have a lot of time to ‘sit around’ waiting for something to show up. I got my 3rd round of parts in the mail today. Once I started designing the parts and working up a library of baseline components, it started to get easier.
After a lot of late nights (after the kids went to bed), I got a full figures worth of parts (in model form anyway). Great, right? Yeah, but by that point, I’d fallen behind on posts, my first parts hadn’t come in yet and the whole thing started getting nebulous. I’m being dramatic of course, but its sort of about our relationships to stuff, atoms, brick and mortal- real world stuff. I had a full figure in captured via screen grab in Rhino- fun to show around to my son or supportive friends, but it just wasn’t going to be the same until I had all the parts in hand.
Today is that day. Holy smokes! I forgot what it was like to have ‘first shots’ in your hand. Obviously, I’ve posted about the parts and the fit and finish of the material, etc. But today, I actually had a product in my hand. Something I could move around and pose and really understand the proportion and personality of what I’d created and assembled. Its a feeling that you don’t get everyday, or at least maybe its one you become accustomed to over time. Each subsequent, item becomes a little more mundane out of familiarity until it all blends together. The big difference here is that its something I did myself. I didn’t need a staff of designers, engineers, marketers, salesmen, huffing and puffing about why it doesn’t fit the market, or the brand portfolio, or won’t pass safety. This once, I’m just swimming in good vibes and the playful optimism, enjoying a job well-done and a blurry glimpse at what might be on the horizon.
So! Back on track. The one part that I have ordered in what I think is the right material is the torso. Its the ‘polished’ variant of the Shapeways strong and flexible option. I think it only comes in white and black, but I’m going to try to order one whole figure in that material to see how it all fit together. All the other parts pictured are the basic white or unpolished option- which is much grittier than the polished. The grit creates a decent amount of friction in the joint, so the figure will actually stand. All that variation of the surfaces gives me a tight fit. But,… The ball joints for the ‘polished’ torso part have smaller balls and much less friction. To friction or not to friction is an important question- especially when a protofigure is $30 a pop. The polished part is pretty nice, though.
I’m anxious to get the basic figure debugged and then opening it up for sale in a Shapeways shop. In the meantime, I’ll try a few on Ponoko and get a few made on a MakerBot to see the relative benefits of each. Then, on to outfitting this guy to see how far I can take this customizable figure concept. I’ve still got a good amount of stuff up my sleeve. Onward.
I’ve been kicking around an idea for a minimalist set of blocks. Not just low detail (like all blocks already are, I suppose), but low material usage as well.
I guess the goal is to see how little surface area you need for them to still be easily stackable by a child. Here’s a couple of my first shots. Both are pretty fun, but they’ve already sparked some ideas about reducing material while increasing stackable surface.
I ordered a couple from Ponoko and threw up a KidMechano shop to see if I can sell a couple. We’ll see if they show up any faster than the ModiBot
parts I ordered from Shapeways (which were supposed to be here last week! Arggh!)
So the order for my first proto parts went in last week some time. This first test batch (upper arms) is coming from Shapeways.
I ordered a few parts to check the overall finish, strength and compliance of the snaps and the overall durability of the plastic itself. I tried a few of both the high impact white and black plastics. The price wasn’t bad at approximately $2.68 a pop.
I’m really excited to see what comes in the mail. It should be here on Halloween or a bit after. This first round is only multiples of one part, but it’ll be great to have something in my hands!
I’ve been using this project as a way to teach myself 3d modelling using Rhino. I gotta say its been fairly intuitive. Much easier than my prior attempts at Sketch Up and Blender (although it might be that this time I actually had something tangible to model).
If these parts work, I’ll open them up for purchase on Shapeways, or make some needed changes and try again.