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2014 Craft Trend - Incorporating 3D Modeling and Printing


2014 Craft Trend - Incorporating 3D Modeling and Printing
3D Modeling and Printing

3D Modeling and Printing

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Now that we are approaching the end of our busy fourth quarter holiday selling season, it's time to start thinking about moving forward into 2014!  The first page in this series of articles about Arts and Crafts Trends for 2014 introduced my top five trends for 2014.

To recap my top five are repurposing raw materials to both cut costs and maintain an eco-friendly business, incorporating 3D printing, making more of an effort to hit the lower price points, creating small scale items and making functional arts and crafts.  The first page discusses the continuing trend of repurposing raw materials to lower your costs of goods sold.   This article tackles the second item on the list - using 3D modeling and printing.

Explaining 3D Modeling and Printing

This is such an exciting way to add dimension to your arts and crafts items.  Using 3D modeling, you envision a design, draw it and the machine takes your flat design and brings it to 3D life!

Special software has to be used to draw the design because your design file has to be able to talk to your 3-D desktop prototyper (3D printer). Printers have the capability to render your design in plastic, glass and metal.

Examples of 3D Modeling

If you're a fan of Project Runway, you may remember that in the Project Runway Finale #1 Justin LeBlanc used 3D printing for his last elimination looks - and he was selected first to go onto Fashion Week. Although he ultimately did not win, his use of 3D modeling was a great introduction to what it can do high-fashion.  I also recently blogged about Victoria's Secret using  3D printed fabric at a recent show. 

However, the fashion design application for 3D modeling is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as it's usefulness for your arts and crafts business! With a little practice, you can create just about any shape you need for use as a component for an arts and crafts item. 

Need a special tool? You can also use 3D modeling to create tools to specialized tools for your fabrication.

Finding Out More About 3D Modeling

To get started with 3D modeling you'll need software and a printer or you can use an online service such as Tinkercad.  Using an online service, you are able to download the modeling software for free, walk through tutorials on using the software and then upload your design to an online fabricator for printing.

While not the only online service,  using Tinkercad you download the software to your desktop and get modeling straight-away. Tinkercad's tagline is "Mind to Design in Minutes". After your walk through the tutorials, you'll see how true this tagline is.

Using a series of different shapes, you create a design. When finished, Tinkercad converts your file to STL format, which is the standard for this industry.

At that point you can upload the file to an online modeling marketplace. There are a few that Tinkercad recommends. Whichever you pick, the service will check out your file to make sure the model can be printed and then gives you a range of materials in which it can be printed. Select the material, get a price and place your order!

Recommended Resources to Learn More About 3D Modeling

There are many great articles right here at the About.com 3D Modeling site that can further your knowledge in the subject.  If you are interested in doing the 3D printing yourself, start with this article listing 3D printers under $1,000.

The next page in this series wraps up the 2014 arts and crafts business trends and talks about hitting all price points, functional crafts and small scale items


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