Aug 19, 2016 | By Alec

All around the world, educational specialists are increasingly calling for the inclusion of 3D printers in every school curriculum. According to one British educational report, 3D printing could be key in securing the employment prospects of the next generation in an increasingly automated world. But as we’ve all noticed for ourselves, 3D printing is only as accessible as the 3D software that you’re using. While several specialists are working hard to make 3D modeling software more accessible, a team of Swedish developers have just made 3D modeling as easy as drawing with pencils. Called Flying Colors 3D, it’s now available for free for iPhones and iPads.

This remarkably open design platform has been developed by teacher Joakim Rasmuson and Markus Romeis, an associate professor at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. The concept for Flying Colors 3D was actually born when Rasmuson used 3D modeling software to design an instrument. Upon showing it to children, he was struck by the fact that kids were more interested in 3D design than in the model he made. Together with Markus Romeis, who was a master’s student at the time, Rasmuson therefore set out to bring 3D modeling to children.

As they explained to, the core principle behind Flying Colors is to make 3D design and 3D printing completely open to children – which they see as an excellent, fun and educational way for children to express themselves and improve their spatial intelligence. “The idea is to lower the barriers of entry to 3D modeling. Almost every software out there needs some kind of instruction or training to make it usable. We have removed that, instead focusing on letting the user be creative and sculpt without boundaries,” they explain. What’s more, Flying Colors 3D is already available for free (iOS), so you see for yourself just how easy and open it is. You can download it here.

Joakim Rasmuson and Markus Romeis

It does definitely work very naturally and intuitively, which is all the more impressive because its developers have actually done most in the work in the few hours that are available next to their day-jobs. Rasmuson actually works as a teacher at Ekebyskolan in Danderyd, Sweden, where he had access to a prime group of test subjects. “I have done this together with them. I often bring the app and let them test the latest version. Then I collect the feedback and see what's working and what isn't,” he said, adding that they’re his greatest source of inspiration. They also received help through an Innovation pre-incubator at KTH, where they were supported by business development coach Tom Magnegård.

So far, the response has been excellent. Flying Colors 3D has already been extensively tested in schools and science centers around the world, where children became artists in a matter of seconds. Their app also won first prize in the “best interaction design" category at the C Awards, a prominent design competition in Sweden. They are also collaborating with a number of museums for very interactive displays where children can draw in 3D. The children are loving it so far.

But the Swedish designers are already looking a further, and are currently preparing to take their software to Silicon Valley through KTH’s Brighter Startup entrepreneurship program. As they have explained, the main objective of their American trip is to explore the market, see what interesting parties there are and what adjustments will have to be made. “All the top companies in our field are located exactly there and that's who we are up against,” Romeis said. “We are also going to try to contact 3D printer manufacturers, schools and other potential users, “Rasmuson added.

Once back in Sweden, they will continue to build on Flying Colors 3D with an eye on 3D printing. Among others, they are working on a feature to send 3D files directly to any 3D printer’s slicing software. Features like that will certainly contribute to make 3D printing more accessible than ever before. While we could only play with Legos as kids, software like this will give the next generation of engineers a running start on their career paths.



Posted in 3D Software



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