Visit to 3D Systems

I visited Gustavo Fricke at his office at 3D Systems last week to scan the gourds. 3D Systems is currently developing hardware and software to support the entire rapid fabrication process around 3D scanning, CAD modeling, and various printing methods.

I’m interested in 3D scanning and printing because of what it suggests for distributed, local manufacturing techniques that could support a “pull economy” – based on demand driving supply rather than driving demand to meet surplus supply. Notably, John Thackara talks about this concept in his book, In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World.

Also, 3D scanning allows us to tailor forms to organic shapes. 3D systems has been applying this to designing for disability – developing cutting-edge, low-cost methods for designing and fabricating prosthetics and other forms that must fit a human body perfectly. I am taking this logic and applying it to another unique organic form, the dried gourd body.

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These result in meshes that I can manipulate in CAD software of my choosing. 3D Systems also uses a software that easily transforms meshes into surfaces, which opens up even more opportunities for modeling, particularly using Solidworks.

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