Castles in the air have become a reality

May 12, 2014

It’s been a glorious week for 3d printing and its fans.

London-based startup Lix has seen its 3D pen smash its Kickstarter funding goal, just two hours into its campaign. Touted as the world’s smallest smallest 3D printing pen, it melts and cools coloured plastic, letting you create rigid and freestanding structures.

Also this week, Harvard Business School graduate, Grace Choi, took on the $55 billion beauty industry with a 3D makeup printer.

Choi created Mink, which will retail for $US300, and allows anyone to print makeup using hex colour codes of colour photos on the Internet.

Changing the way we think and do

Delphine Wood, co-founder of Lix pen, says that drawing in three dimensions will "change the way brains draw" and transform the way designers work.

Such devices allow designers to prototype their ideas instantly as physical objects, without using the computer as an intermediary, which is a more tedious process.

She adds:

"This is quite ground-breaking because sometimes when you draw on paper it's very hard to explain your ideas in three dimensions. So it's very hard to produce prototypes from your drawings. What we wanted to do is allow people to explain their ideas with just one simple tool."

If we stop and think about it, the fact that such technology will impact thoroughly ingrained processes involved in creating and producing is remarkable.

Democratisation of creativity and production

It was only last year that the world starting seeing signs of 3D printing being commercialised. It was when the world’s first useable 3D printing pen, the 3Doodler, was first launched on Kickstarter that we entertained the feasibility of seeing such gadgets in our homes in the near future.

The advancement of such technology is happening at such a fast pace that it’s a gateway for weightier issues: it’s the starting point at which creativity is being democratized. It stands to reason that democratization of creativity is truly one of the defining themes of our era.

Creators such as Chase Jarvis (photographer, founder of CreativeLive, all-round nice guy, and my personal hero (could you tell?)) and Austin Kleon have long advocated for the democratisation of creativity. They also reckon that the tipping point is now.

It’s an exciting time: The opportunities have never been greater, the door is wide open and it's a gold mine out there just waiting to be discovered. Which raises a host of other questions: Will a profusion of creativity result in so much dross that we cannot discover what is good? How will brands respond to the maker movement? Surely this means that the role of The Curator will change?

These are questions that I will neither attempt to answer now, nor are there any definitive answers to. But it is fodder for thought, and our doors are always open to have a chat about this!