Featured Designer of the Month: 3DKitbash!
We got to talk to our friends behind 3DKitbash, who designed the amazing BONEHEADS skulls, 3D printer test kits, and opposable action figures! We learned more about what got them into 3D printing, and what they’ve learned along the way!
Pinshape: Tell us more about 3DKitBash! Who’s behind it?
3DKitBash: Hi, thanks so much for interviewing us! We’re 3DKitbash.
Quincy Robinson is our lead designer and sculptor, and Natalie Mathis oversees community and partnerships. Quincy came from the toy industry where he’s spent the past ten years inventing and developing products for various toy companies, while Natalie has a history of business development. We’re the co-founders!
Pinshape: So what inspires you to create the types of designs that you do, and how do you decide which models to create next?
3DKitBash: When we started, we saw an opportunity to create well-designed models engineered for a great 3D printing experience. We made it our mission to design really fun, interesting projects that print support-free and don’t need glue or smoothing.
As far as aesthetics go, we make what we think we would want to print. You’ll see a bit of retro and Japanese-inspired design, and then there’s the solid engineering component that’s a must.
A lot of what we make is inspired by feedback. For instance, the community loves models related to science and anatomy, so we came up with BONEHEADS, which debuted on Kickstarter last year. The skull kits were so popular that we did another Kickstarter to fund a second series of them this year! BONEHEADS are time-manageable prints that makers display on walls, use as props, and modify with servos and LED lights. There’s a lot of imagination going on!
People also like the human form, and when we started, no one had created a toy-industry-quality doll or action figure that could be printed on desktop 3D printers without supports or glue. So we created Quin and her brother NiQ. They’re intergalactic explorers from the Planet Filamento, and Quin invented a way to teleport to Earth via 3D printers! With their UpKits makers can change up their tools, hand poses, facial expressions, jet packs, helmets, eyes, and hair. You can find cool pics of people’s Quins and NiQs by searching #Quin, #QuinSaga, #NiQ3D, and #3DKitbash on Instagram.
We also came up with a line called Quick Prints. Educators, 3D printing companies, and hobbyists all told us they needed reliable, fast-printing models. Each kit in the Quick Prints line includes multiple models that print in thirty minutes to an hour. Bugs, GRAPHICA, and 3D Printer Test Kit are all Quick Prints kits.
What initially got you into designing for 3D printing?
3DKitBash: Before 3D printers came ready to use out of the box, people had to deal with a lot of testing, and printing was erratic. A lot of people were building their own, so each printer was uniquely finicky. Quincy came up with the idea of engineering a kit full of eight chips that would act as a test to see what results you’d get from a certain printing material with your printer. That was our first product: the 3D Printer Test Kit.
We progressed from there to GRAPHICA. That kit features twelve playful designs that have “print-in-place” moving elements. Most of these print in under an hour.
What kind of printer do you use?
3DKitBash: We use the MakerBot Replicator 2 and Replicator 2X. We started off using ABS plastic, but we’re now using PLA, since that’s what most people are using now.
Do you have any advice for other designers who are trying to get started in 3D printing?
3DKitBash: One suggestion we have is to not be afraid to work with other people. By partnering up with people in the field who have a network, you gain visibility among their community as well. To complement this, come up with a clever hashtag that won’t be overrun by other people to get your work out there! Have fun with it. More than anything, humor yourself!
What design tools do you use most often?
3DKitBash: We use 3D Systems Freeform. It has a haptic tool that makes it seem like you’re sculpting clay. We also use Zbrush.
We do a lot of drawing in Photoshop, but much of it is still done in an actual sketchbook! It helps in explaining how things will work, and how they can be broken down.
What are your favourite resources to help to keep you up-to-date on design and 3D design?
3DKitBash: Every morning, Natalie reads 3Dprint.com and 3Dprintingindustry.com. These sites send out emails full of new stories, so it’s a great way to keep up with all the developments that are relevant to what we’re doing.
For Quincy, Instagram is a great place to find other designers and see what they’re up to. It’s also a hub for us to show them what we’re working on. Then there’s also Facebook, which is useful for finding designs. For forums, 3Ders.org is a great one! We also go on Reddit’s 3D printing subreddits.
Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to share with the Pinshape community?
3DKitBash: It’s great to see 3D printing evolving. There’s a greater focus on makers and community now— everyone’s having fun and learning along the way. We hope everyone will check out our full inventory of models on www.3DKitbash.com!
Thanks again for the interview. We’re happy to see the Pinshape community growing!
It was terrific interviewing the co-founders behind 3DKitbash! Go to their profile on Pinshape to check out their eye-catching designs and test out a few prints yourself!