Well over a year ago, Autodesk’s Angela Simoes and I had a conversation about the maker community, entrepreneurship, trends in 3D printing and scanning, among a few other topics. I was asking the question for my Forbes blog and Angela was asking it to find new ways to connect with and expand the Autodesk community. We started asking one another questions about if it is possible to truly get your finger on the pulse of a movement – could we explore 3D in the USA in a unique way that would give us those insights?
There is no shortage of questions and answers about how big the industry is today and how big it will be tomorrow. But we were asking smaller questions – or from another angle – to get to the people who were creating.
We asked: “What if we could spend time, on the ground, in local communities with the companies, educational orgs, nonprofits, maker and hacker spaces and see what people were doing with printers, scanners, and other 3D design equipment?” Would this help us be part of driving change and adoption of 3D printing, 3D scanning, and 3D design?
3DRV.com was born from those conversations. It took shape layer by layer much like a 3D printed model. The project is a roadtrip, 220+ days in a Jayco Class A Motorhome – a 32’ Precept model, traveling to the cities, towns and off-the-path byways to explore this fundamental change in the way things are designed and made, and how this is bringing radical change to business and to society at large.
3DRV Explores How 3D is Changing the Way Things are Designed and Made
During this incubation phase of our project, I started reading the work of Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, and how we can solve problems and pursue fresh opportunities by asking questions in new ways. I don’t know if I’ve come to a more beautiful question (I should have hired Warren for some help!), but I wanted to explore how our nation’s inventors, tinkerers, makers, artisans, and designers, were changing how they approached creation and design. A few of my basic questions:
- Why are people so enamored with 3D printing?
- Will 3D printing inspire more inventions of value or only consumer products?
- Does the 3D printing community make it possible for more people to explore the technology or only those with a technology bend?
- Is it the 3D printer or the 3D Scanner or the Design Software that changes the way you create a new product?
- With all the time you spend figuring out how to create a digital design, does the 3D process really save you any time? Would you be better off with traditional wood or metal shop tools?
Some of these questions are basic, some a bit skeptical, but these and others force us to observe and engage with the community. Angela started with a simple spark from our conversation and turned it into a grand vision – to travel around, Charles Kuralt-style, and ask people what they are doing in 3D and why. To spend the time so that one can actually feel and sense the pulse of those using 3D to change the world.
Follow along at 3drv.com! #3DRV ■