Jan 8, 2015 | By Simon

When it comes to 3D printing, one of the best and most widely-used applications is to create one-off, customized products that are likely only to be found in your home or office.  Whether it is a unique design for a drawer handle, a unique toy object, or a simple cup, the possibilities are endless and that is what makes the future of additive manufacturing so great!

However for a lot of ‘noobs’ who are still adjusting to working within a 3D modeling program, obtaining desirable results can still be a difficult and oftentimes cumbersome experience.  Thankfully, we’ve been seeing a rise of generative 3D modeling platforms that allow a user to input their own parameters and ultimately ‘design’ within a controlled design environment.  Similarly, other platforms or companies have allowed users to send images that are then converted into unique and fully-customized 3D printed objects.

More recently, Fahz wants to to take photographs of the profile of your face (or a loved one’s or both) and use the profile to craft a spline that is then generated around an axis to be used in the design of a 3D printed vase.  The Kickstarter project, which was launched by Brooklyn residents Nicholas (Nick) and Martha Desbiens, is currently seeking $10,000 in funding before the project deadline of February 4th, 2015.  

The married couple, who also run a design research laboratory, started the project after Nick gave Martha a similar vase as a Mother’s Day gift with the goal of updating the vase each year as their children grew.  Seeing as to how other people might enjoy using the service (as well as recommendations from family and friends), Nick further developed a generative vase design system using his background as an architect and computational designer.  

Using customized software including Rhino, Grasshopper, Python and various processing, among others, Nick was able to create a detail parametric model ‘base’ for running other vase designs off of.

The design process, which is unique to each 3D printed vase design, begins with high-resolution facial profile photos that have been converted into vector geometry in a program such as Adobe Illustrator.  The vectorized outlines then become the scaffolding for a 3D model that merges the distinct facial profiles into a seamless vase design.  Once the custom digital model is generated, the file is sent directly to a 3D printer to create the highly detailed vase in lightweight, durable PLA plastic.

As for what Nick and Martha are planning on doing with the pledges raised through Kickstarter, they plan on purchasing their own 3D printer and possibly make the experience a mobile one that is able to be done via a smartphone.

“Our initial goal is to raise enough money to buy our own 3D printer,” they said.   “We're also interested in looking for opportunities to develop a mobile app that would allow users to upload photos and see vase designs in real time. A successful Kickstarter campaign would provide us with the resources to further explore the design opportunities of high quality mass customization.   

With a successful prototype already made, the duo is confident that they’ll be able to deliver future orders 3D printed and shipped in time for the upcoming 2015 Mother’s Day this May.  You can purchase your own Fahz over at Kickstarter starting at $30.


Posted in 3D Design


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