Crowdfunding: Trials and tribulations of setting up!

14th September 11.55 pm.  just 4 hours into crowdfunding and 31 days to go and I am too excited and psyched to go to sleep but tomorrow will be busy busy busy as we start in earnest getting the word and the link out, and generate as much interest as we can.

14th Sept. 7.30 pm. All decisions made and ready to hit the IndieGoGo ‘GO LIVE’ green button at 8 pm.  This is our banner with the link.


14th Sept at 3 pm. IndieGoGo has 2 options: 1) the risky but more exciting route of ‘all or nothing’ where you have to meet your target, or 2) the safer route where you do get all you raise but if you don’t reach your target IndieGoGo takes 9%. Been thinking about this long and hard. I think psychologically that option 1 appeals to people who don’t know us but like what we are trying to achieve and like a bit of frission. I think that this is the reason many people are serial crowdfunders. But would our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances prefer us to stick to the safer option where at least we get something, especially as we really do need help to get to the 3DPrintShow and get the 12 models from ‘3D Consequences’ 3D printed? Or do we all really like to participate in a bit of a gamble, even when it is only Anarkik3D’s risk?

12th September. Interestingly and distressingly, Kickstarter declined our crowdfunding project. The feedback is that Kickstarter is a platform for finite and specific creative endeavors, as opposed to ‘open ended funding for business expenses and infrastructure’ and that this isn’t a judgment on the quality of our project, just a reflection of their focus. What is this? But we have little room to appeal now being 4 days behind schedule. Funding is for a better presence at the 3DPrintShow in November and for 3D printing 12 models. We will now go with IndieGoGo. Hindsight is a fine thing!

9th September 6 pm: Our planned launch event has flipped into a preview party! Still no response from Kickstarter re. approval of our project.

5th Sept 11 am. Sent in our project to Kickstarter to get approval. Have cut it fine for launch on Monday!

Book’s progress towards publication in September

04.03.2013. A week ago my editor sent me the rough layout of a few of the pages of my book, with the relevant images and ‘boxes’ to ask if I was happy with the design concept. My editor is aiming to have the samples approved by 8th March so she can start laying out the entire book with all the images in place so we can make any changes needed i.e image sizing (and I might have to request higher res pics from some contributors if the images are to be scaled up) as the next stage is the final layout  The book is pretty rich image wise from about 50 designer makers and applied artists and I can’t thank them all enough for the beautiful photographs they have sent to me to use to illustrate the chapters. 

I hope to get down to London to see the final layout because once all this is done and all agreed, it will be sent, I gather, to China to be printed. The date for publishing is set for this September 2013!

So excited! 

Writing a book:Digital Crafts: Industrial Technologies for Applied Artists and Designer Makers.

I was commissioned to write a book and my part is almost done. The copy editor sent me all her corrections, amendments and suggestions so the whole content had to be gone through with a fine tooth comb. Now there are 4 new images and their captions to collect together to fill gaps the editor would like filled! The publisher has started on the design of the pages so I ‘m looking forward to seeing the first roughs pretty soon.

'Coral' brooch by Elizabeth Armour

3D printed ‘Coral’ brooch by Elizabeth Armour

And what you ask is the book about? The title gives a pretty big clue. It is about how designer makers use digital technologies for their creative practice, technologies such as laser cutting and 3D printing. I want to inspire more designer makers to exploit the amazing potential these can provide and offer the information to understand the barriers and how to get around them.

This 3D printed brooch by Elizabeth Armour demonstrates this potential for both design and making. She used Cloud9 3D modelling software and had the piece 3D printed at the MAKLAB in Glasgow.

I intend to use my blog to share some of the information that didn’t get into the book – I was commissioned to write 30K words and did 74K so had to cut a lot out.

I am unsure how often I will get on to blogging as I am getting more and more interest in the courses we have started to run at Anarkik3D. Designer makers are wanting practical knowledge and experience of 3D modelling for 3D printing and we have different programmes for different levels of expertise. We cater especially for those who have no CAD or 3D modelling experience at all by using our haptic 3D modelling software, Cloud9 and having small classes of no more than 5 people.

A discussion one of my Linkedin groups is on the current hype about ‘a 3D printer in every home‘ and Al Dean (of Develop3D) who started the discussion and Geert Van den Poorten of 3Digit are both very skeptical. Geert remarked that ‘Making/3dprinting something needs a special “maker” mindset that not every one has’. And good thing too as design needs to be a highly regarded profession to attract talented and hard grafting people. This is not to say that making, designing and 3D printing should be an elite mystical practice. Others appreciate talent and skills when they understand how hard the graft that goes into achieving something has to be.

The hype on 3D printing is because what is mostly known about it is from articles with images, from videos, from finished objects, and not from any hands-on experience of actually designing for the technology. Being able to photograph objects with a mobile’s camera and stitch the images together to create a 3D object that is 3D printable is an interesting one as this does not take a special mindset. This is not designing though, neither is the act of ‘customising’ objects that are designed by someone else, manipulated on a website and printed out. The word ‘design’ has been adulterated unfortunately but I do see the ‘personal 3D printer’ placed in schools, workshops and sheds as a great facilitator towards getting more people, involved in designing and enthused about making, especially kids, to nurture the mindset that a designer needs.
As a designer maker, using 3D printing for jewellery units I am waiting impatiently to get Anarkik3D’s ‘personal printer’ for the courses we will run, covering designing for 3D printing as this hands-on opportunity will demonstrate the constraints and principles involved. It is also sufficiently open to experiment and isn’t this just what designer makers want to do.

No such thing as cheating: cont…..

11 month’s ago I headlined a blog “Is a designer ‘cheating’ if they use 3D modelling packages that are incredibly ‘easy to learn and use’?”

So this following quote from Nick Grace who runs RapidForm at the Royal College of Art in London is pertinent to my point that complexity of process excludes many talented and creative people from using digital tools as they do not have the time and resources to begin to learn software of any sort with steep learning curves.

“That’s why the debate between traditional craftspeople and digital designers is getting lively. “Traditionally,” says Grace, “the non-maker had to rely on another human being to help him out. Now they can do it all themselves. There’s a lot of Luddite mentality attached to it, a lot of fear. Some people think that in order for something to be good it has to be difficult to achieve, and for someone to achieve something easily, it’s just not fair.”

Nick is referring to 3D printing and being able with this technology to ‘make’ complex forms difficult to produce by any other method. I am referring to 3D software for creating the model to be 3D printed. Unlike standard CAD, the software should be as easy as picking up a pencil or piece of clay and of a quality to provide the balance between pleasure and challenge whereby it is possible to progress and to master the medium. That is our goal for Anarkik3D’s haptic Cloud9 3S sketch/modelling package!

3D printing

In the last 2 months I have attended 2 symposiums where 3D printing has been a major topic for presentations and discussion. The first was in conjunction with the Power of Making exhibition. The second, earlier this week, was specifically about 3D printing ceramics. In Crafts Magazine 3D printing has been a fluctuating but growing topic with Tanya Harrod questioning in the current magazine whether 3D printing is ‘the right tool for our time’. This follows on from her previous ‘Thinking Aloud’ column where the power of making is celebrated for remaining central in designers’ and makers’ practice, both in real world materials and using digital technologies. Also our continuing captivation for all ways of making is fostered and supported by the ease with which we can access information and support through ubiquitous digital media and technology.

There is a desire of course to democratise with the introduction of DIY 3D printers and I agree with Tanya that for the majority of people there is no desire for making for themselves at this level. What is happening is that within the crafts, designer makers are approaching 3D printing from both ends and taking ownership of these as tools to be pragmatically exploited for their advantages within the different craft disciplines. The ceramic symposium presented research and development supported by grants, academia and business as well as a self–developed and subverted system by a ‘lone’ and determined individual.

As a jeweller I will move across all levels of quality print, material and finish depending on my design concept, from high end finesse of 3D printed titanium, to finely grained starches and on through to the refreshing non precious and crudely extruded plastic from one of the DIY 3D printers. Here at the bottom ends lies the enticement of experimentation with little risk and cost and the challenge of designing for inherent constraints. It is this enthusiasm for using new ‘tools’ in context that will bypass the type of critical notes that Tanya highlighted from the Dezeen ezine readers that ‘just because something can be made, it doesn’t mean it should be’. This was about the gross fractal table purchased by the V&A in 2008. But then we can be mesmerised by bravado of this kind! Mine was short lived when I saw the table in the V&A 20th Century Design Gallery – there were more inspiring pieces to go see.

World first – 3D printed titanium wedding ring?

Could this be a world first – a wedding ring in 3D printed titanium?

Kari's wedding and engagement rings

Kari's titanium wedding ring and gold engagement ring

I designed and made my elder daughter Kari’s wedding ring for her marriage to Rob this last June in a beautiful setting in the Scottish countryside. It was a perfect day. It didn’t even rain.
Rob proposed to Kari. She wanted a specific engagement ring, one I had designed and made in titanium, machined and hand carved to flow around an oval diamond in a gold setting. This is now hard for me to remake but in January this year i-materialise announced their new service – 3D printing titanium (see and Kari and Rob agreed enthusiastically to have it made this way. Personally, this was perfect as I am a 3D print evangelist (since a Stuart Devlin Masterclass at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London in 1990) and I could 3D model it in Cloud9. The design would be super fluid with titanium flowing around the diamond of an interlocking gold engagement ring.

With this general concept my daughter and I visited London’s Hatton Garden to look at diamonds before she and Rob chose one – a beautiful square corner cut one.

3D printed titanium with nylon prototypes

3D printed titanium with nylon prototypes

Jeweller friend, Teena Ramsey, and I then finalised the designs for both rings which were then 3D printed as prototypes nylon for Kari and Rod to see, check ring size, how they slotted together, and for Teena to work with.
With all checked and approved an .stl file of the wedding ring was sent to i.materialise and in 2 weeks I was working on the titanium! Once finished we fitted them together – it looks as though the diamond is floating within the flowing titanium bands.
Kari’s 3D printed titanium wedding ring and gold and diamond engagement ring

Kari’s 3D printed titanium wedding ring and gold and diamond engagement ring

 Mum, having made my wedding ring has given us a unique and special gift and our rings are now all the more precious to us.’  Kari