Archive for January, 2015
What does the Young Adult classic Bridge to Terabithia have in common with amazing 3D printed dice? Both of their creators really knew how to capitalize on their brain’s downtime. They were still challenging their brains even if they were roped into menial or repetitive tasks. Since I’m a working mother of two little boys, I am definitely familiar with limited free time. As a result, I found these two quick quotes to be particularly inspiring.
Katherine Paterson, the author of Bridge to Terabithia, on writing with small children.
And then, of course, you can’t be a writer unless you actually write, and it doesn’t take as much time as people think. You know, the number of people who say, well, I’m going to write a book when I have time, they’re never going to have the time. And I started writing seriously when I had four tiny children. Well, I mean I had one tiny child, two tiny children, three tiny children, four tiny children in just over four years, and that’s when I began to write seriously. And I figured out that a lot is going on in your head when you’re changing diapers and washing clothes and doing all those things that have to be done. And if you’ve got 10, 15 minutes a day to sit down and write, you’d have a book by the end of the year.
Chuck Stover, the force behind Made By Wombat 3D printed tabletop RPG acccessories, on his former factory job
It gave me a lot of time to think about design during the day because of the repetitive nature of the work. Kind of put half of my brain thinking about design questions and the other half to work. Then I would come home after work and get onto Sketch-Up and work on designs until I passed out.
My favorite project (so far— it tends to change each time I receive a new model) is my first moving parts project! One of the great things about 3D printing if you can have separate parts print in their respective spots. My first “moving parts” project was a little Jack-O-Lantern for my kids. With three sliding parts that print completely assembled, my boys can chose between three sets of eyes, three sets of noses, and three sets of mouths to configure what face they want. I’m totally in love with it… maybe even more so than my kids. : )
Because pictures don’t do it justice– a quick video demo! : )
I recently published an article on Instructables going over my design decisions and my modeling process in Blender.
And of course, if you don’t have a printer of your own and you covet a “Dial-O-Lantern” of your own– you can order a print from Shapeways.
My ornament was one of five from the contest selected to be displayed in the East Wing of the White House and it’ll be part of a Smithsonian collection as well. I was thrilled to see a photo of my ornament on whitehouse.gov. Whitehouse.gov! And then as thrilled to see it on the front page of the Smithsonian 3D site.
My Ornament on WhiteHouse.Gov!!!
My Ornament on the Smithsonian 3D Site!!!
I thought that would be the extent of the excitement, but I had no idea. The next week (December 8th) a crew from CBSNews came by our house to do an interview. The boys stayed home from daycare and after the interview the camera man even let Sagan see the camera. I also answered some questions for the Library of Congress for their blog and print magazine.
Excitement over, now, right? Nope! Then I received an exciting email from the White House. The Office of Science and Technology Policy to be more exact. They invited me and one guest to come and tour the White House and see all the decorations. After we passed all our background checks, I got to take that striking husband of mine on an epic date! I love impressing that man (he’s the whole reason I made a Library of Congress Ornament in the first place) and what better way than taking him to the White House? 🙂 And better yet– they displayed the Library of Congress Ornament… oh, in the White House Library.
I made some modifications to the model so it would be printable in Shapeways Steel. The price point is high (over 70 USD!), so I thought it would be something only I would get, but almost immediately some anonymous stranger on the Internet ordered some. I do have to admit, the Nickel Polished Steel and Gold Plated Steel does look awfully nice. (The plastics look great too).
I ended up on Michelle Obama’s Instagram. My ornament made a cameo on The Today Show. Someone actually used my name as a hashtag. Get this– I went to an informational meeting for the Mini NOVA Maker Faire and the organizers there knew who *I* was! Crazy!
As the holidays neared, though, I hadn’t heard anything about that CBS segment, so I just assumed it got cut for other news. Then as we were sitting down to dinner on Christmas Eve, my brother got a call from my Dad’s old boss.
“I just saw your sister on TV.”
I had Facebook friends all over Virginia post that they had seen it and the CEO of the biggest customer I work for saw it in Morgantown, West Virginia. The CEO! He’s no Ryan Somma, but I like impressing him as well. 🙂
My family was able to catch a later showing of the segment on WUSA9, so I got to see my relatives see me on TV. I haven’t been able to find an online video, but I did find a writeup on the WUSA9 website.
My Family Watching My Ornament on TV on Christmas Eve
So yeah. Exciting way to end 2014. Now we’ll see what 2015 brings! : )