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Newbern, AL
Why Pie Is So Important To 3D

By TJ McCueMonday, October 20, 2014
3D Design, Engineering

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Pie. It brings people together. It makes travel much more enjoyable. It is the basis of an entrepreneurial and design-way of thinking. I bet you didn’t know that last part.

When we decided to go to Rural Studio in New Bern Alabama, we did a fast search of the neighboring towns, as we always do, to figure out places to stay, places to eat, and so forth. We found Pie Lab and, of course, that name just inspires a #3DRV stop. All the more inspiring because it began as part of an initiative called Project M, started by well-known designer John Bielenberg. Project M has done a lot of cool and great work, around the world, but Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama is one of the more famous, and it then spawned the Bike Lab.

Founded in 2009 by a group of designers working for the greater good known as Project M, PieLab is a much more than your ordinary bakery. PieLab makes a tremendous impact in the community by being the platform for conversation, ideas, and design, as well as donating all profits to a charity(H.E.R.O.), which provides a multitude of housing and disaster resources, empowers Greensboro citizens, and much more.

After demolishing multiple slices of pie, we went over to Bike Lab, which is doing some uber-cool work building bikes out of bamboo and carbon fiber. Artisan and craftsman, Zev Powell, showed us around on an impromptu tour that had us marveling at his passion and commitment for serving the community. Zev did a roadtrip of his own exploring “Rural Hackers” at the Inhale Potential blog. We talked 3D design, scanning and printing briefly and the value of craftsmanship and enjoyed learning about Project M from him. You can check out the HERO Bike Kits here.

So, the power of Pie? Well, it is all about community and conversation. Putting bright and caring people together. Project M and Pie Lab are an ongoing experiment and commitment to how design-minded people can change the world, but that only starts when people sit down and communicate, brainstorm, and find new ways to solve challenges. 

Some of those conversations will rally around using new tools, such as when we talked to eyewear designer Adam Mugavero who is using Fusion 360, or introducing 123D Catch to 350 7th grade students in Florida who are now super-interested in what they can do with 3D after hearing from my son about how he has designed and printed various creations. Some will demand the ingenuity of rural hackers, in more traditional ways, as Zev highlights from his journey. But they all start when you bring people together. The more people hear about the power of 3D technologies, the faster we'll see this new industrial revolution kick into high gear. So, my hypothesis is: More pie equals more advances in 3D tech. ;-)

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If you are interested in putting your creative or design skills to great use, take a closer look at Project M. On that site, you may find projects that need more help or ways that you might start your own version of a Project M. 

Follow along at! #3DRV

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