Featured Designer of the Month – Luis Daniel Sánchez García (MiniWorld) – took a couple of minutes to talk to Pinshape about his amazing miniature models, what got him into 3D printing and gives tricks and tips on creating 3D prints.
Pinshape: We love the Wanderlust collection on the site. What inspired you to create these realistic miniatures?
Luis Daniel Sánchez García: It is a very interesting story; when a friend from Belgium knew I was into 3D printing, he introduced me to a girl from Finland called Lotta Lundell, she is visually impaired and asked me if 3D printing could be used to make miniature famous buildings from Finland, so people like her could know what they are like. Being very interested in social design, I saw an opportunity here that could go beyond just helping her alone.
How do you decide which famous landmarks you want to scale down?
Haha, phew! That was a huge deal! It is not easy, mainly because we have to separate our personal taste from a public taste; we made a list of all the famous landmarks we could think of, both from general knowledge and from ones we have visited personally. Then we tried to group them or sort them somehow, sometimes by continent, country or themes. From this huge list, we knew that to launch MiniWorld as a business, we had to begin with the “toppermost of the poppermost”, the basic ones that anyone MUST have before expanding into more particular ones. We will include the next on our list and then the next, and so on in the future!
What got you into 3D printing initially?
That is also a great story: I participated in the 2nd international contest, organized by Jakajima and GrabCAD.com. I entered a design for an inhaler for children with asthma. I won the first place and a Leapfrog Creatr rinter, where I started the magical and sometimes a little frustrating learning process of 3D printing, right in one’s bedroom.
Do you have any advice for other designers who are trying to get started in 3D printing?
I would say this is still a very new thing and there is probably not (unfortunately) anyone near you that can show how to do it, you will have to fail (a lot) on your own, so my recommendation is be brave, very patient, and perseverant; have a goal and work towards it, if you don’t, you won’t be learning from each failure. Keep a record of the specifications you use every try, and change a new one each time to see what changes, like speed or infill. Having the right tools (like a set of Allen wrenches) and not being 3D Printing Event afraid of messing up with the screws on your printer also helps when things go wrong and there is not a 3D printer technician in miles and miles and miles…
Do you have any tips or tricks that you can pass on to other 3D designers?
In general I recommend having a log (mine is an .xls spreadsheet) where you record printing times, infill %, speed, etc. and notes on what went wrong (or good!) so you can know not to make the same mistake again. Also, design for printing – no matter how perfect your specs are and how awesome your printer is, if the 3D model was made for animation or rendering purposes, the print will most likely fail. Fixing or tweaking a pre-existing model for 3D printing can be a pain, so if you know you will print whatever you will model, think about it right from the beginning, I am talking about thicknesses, structures that might be too small or thin or long, saving time and material, avoiding overhangs (support material), and in general making your life easier once the print is over, so you avoid re-working by hand – a successful print starts with the model, not when you actually print.
What design tools do you use most often?
Because of my education as an Industrial Designer, I learned parametric programs usually used for engineering such as SolidWorks. I also learned surface programs like Rhinoceros but I prefer SW because it helps a lot when designing for 3D printing (going back to the previous question). Although surface software has advantages parametric will never have, the model is more likely to be manifold, correctly meshed, and geometrically less “messy”; files have less errors and their size is smaller. For MiniWorld, parametric works wonders since we make very geometrical bodies and not really organic shapes. We also have to correct and revisit a lot and it is very easy and painless. It is truly a joy to use SolidWorks in a very “artistic” way, pushing the software towards unorthodox areas and using it to “sculpt.”
What are your favorite blogs, tutorials, magazines, and other resources to keep you up-to-date on design and 3D design?
Regarding design, art and architecture I receive Designboom.com’s daily newsletter, OpenIDEO is great too, and I am subscribed to the newsletters of 3D Printing Industry, Makerbot, Shapeways, etc., and of course, Pinshape.
I believe 3D printing in media is dominated by two big groups with little room for in-betweens: Hard software or mechanical engineering on one side focused on the technology, and artistic, hand sculpting on the other, focused on the creative possibilities of the technology as an expression. I think reading about non-related topics makes connections in your brain that we are not aware of but will come up when we less expect it, like following travel blogs 😉 (no hint intended for MiniWorld at all).
Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to share with the Pinshape community?
This is probably the best piece of advice in the whole interview: Help people. Use 3D printing to change people’s lives, impact them positively. It is easy to get all excited about the technology and the possibilities (omg let’s print an iPhone 6 case with my cat’s name on it!). Yes, have fun. But don’t forget it is an amazing, cutting-edge technology that can also be actually useful. You don’t have to be the MIT or printing organs to improve people’s lives with your printer or your designs. At MiniWorld we don’t design prosthesis, but we are a business where we have fun and it can actually help visually impaired people to know something they have never known before, while still being a business.
MiniWorld is: Luis Daniel Sánchez García, Brian Mauricio Sánchez García and Andrés Cacho Dávila.
Boulder, CO – Querétaro, México Startup.
Lotta Lundell and Luis Daniel Sánchez García for original idea.