The world of 3D Printing is truly an amazing one. With the rising accessibility of 3D printers and all the open source software out there, paired with the right technology, the possibilities are endless!
To support Microsoft and MWNW, as well as take advantage of this awesome opportunity to showcase our latest development, the team at People & Code and Draft Print 3D have collaborated on a special project to bring something real fun for the attendees of Confoo this year. Visit the 4000 sq.ft Microsoft lounge during the 3-day conference and you’re bound to find our 3D Printing Station.
Let’s meet the team and hear what they have to say. First we have Andre Tiemann, a hardcore 3D Print master from Draft Print 3D. Then we have Raymond Kao, head technologist and yours truly Bonnie Lui, a passionate marketer and your live tweeter from the 3D Printing Station, both from People & Code.
1. What is the inspiration behind designing this project for Microsoft at Confoo?
The collaboration between Microsoft. Draft Print 3D and People & Code made perfect sense. By using open source scanning software (ReconstructMe) in conjunction with the low-cost, yet powerful Microsoft Kinect for creating 3D scans, this event is the perfect opportunity to educate and showcase what 3D printing and open source technology can do. It seemed like a win-win situation for everyone to be passionately involved on this project. On top of this, as a 3D printer enthusiast, the genuine excitement shown by the participants being scanned is something worthwhile in itself. For People & Code, this is another way to meet other developers and talk about open source technology and software development.
2. Tell me a bit more about the technology you’ll be using.
For the conference, Draft Print 3D will have two Makerbot Replicator 2 printers printing away almost non-stop. The technology involves the melting of PLA, a safe corn-derived bio-plastic, through a fine software controlled nozzle to form the 3D print one layer at a time. The process is often described as a precision controlled hot-glue gun operating in three dimensions. The Microsoft Kinect takes care of the scanning and produces detailed 3D scans. It’s really cool to witness a 3D version of any object form in real-time, right before your eyes.
People & Code has put together a WordPress powered site hosted on Windows Azure. We were able to setup a site quickly that allows the 3D scans to be uploaded to my3Dscan.ca, and provide a means for each individual to download their 3D scanned file. We’ve also set it up to tweet each person a screenshot of their 3D scan process. And just for fun we’ve setup a read-only OData API.
3. I understand you guys are working with a very tight timeline, what are some of the challenges and how are you making this work?
In regards to the timeline for Draft Print 3D’s involvement, much of the work is making sure all the machines are perfectly tuned and ready to perform when the conference takes place. Additionally, we have been printing some hand-outs around the clock for a lucky few conference attendees. A print schedule has been set up to provide enough time to get everything done on time before we pack up and make our way out to the conference.
For People & Code it was a matter of balancing this project with our client work, over the course of a two-week window. Working round the clock, we really wanted to craft something that was as smooth as possible to individuals being scanned, while automating as much of it as possible. Some parts to the puzzle weren’t meant to work with each other, so we had to come up with our own custom solutions.
4. Are there any prizes or give-aways at your stations? What can we expect from you guys? Spoilers?
While we do want to keep some surprises intact, we are planning on printing about 5-6 miniature busts a day for lucky conference attendees. Copies of the 3D files will be tweeted out free of charge to everyone that gets scanned. If interested in purchasing a print, Draft Print 3D can process, print and ship out the miniatures for all those interested in receiving a very unique, one of a kind item.
For the cool ladies attending Confoo, make sure you look for Bonnie for a chance to win a unique 3D printed bracelet (she’ll be wearing one too)!
So you have it folks, we are very excited to join Microsoft and Make Web Not War this year at Confoo in Montreal. If you are attending the conference, make sure you come by the Microsoft lounge to get a personalized 3D scan and have a chance to win one of several miniature bust give-aways. Of course, developers are also going to be interested to chat with us about the open source software and how they can design their own projects for fun.
See you all at Confoo 2013! If you have any questions for the team, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on twitter at @thebonnielui.