If you know me, you know that I have always been interested in design tools: devices and processes that aid in the creative design process. Today I work for a company, Microsoft, that makes both a creative tool with a pen, the Surface, and 3D Builder, software for designing and printing 3D models. When I show 3D printers to people they often don’t understand the power of it until I show them something that I made, a door stop to solve a problem in my house.
In my house I have a front door that swings and hits a counter top and because there is a recessed toe plate, there is no place to put a door stop by the base of the door. I wanted to prevent the door from banging into the counter top. I decided to make a door stop that could clip onto the counter.
Windows 10 comes with a free app, called 3D Builder which has basic solid modeling capabilities, giving me the ability to make a complex shape by adding together a few basic shapes and then subtracting another shape and then “slicing” it to make a final object that I could print. The software is extremely easy to use but also very powerful. Since any app in Windows 10 can now use the 3D printing facilities built into the operating system, plug-and-play 3D printers are now really easy to setup and get running in Windows. The printing technology is still a very hands-on process but it is incredibly rewarding to come up with an idea that solves a problem, design a solution, and manufacture the result.
Now it’s your turn. Take a look at the model I uploaded to Thingiverse – download it, print it out, change it, make it better, make it yours. What problem (big or small) have you solved with 3D printing?