Friday, November 30, 2012


Bracelets designed by Emmett and produced by an Ultimaker 3D Printer at the 3DEA pop up launch event

Gone are the days of waiting in perilous anticipation for the next issue of Vogue or trekking to the video store to rent a movie. Sites and blogs are updated instantly and Netflix are viewable at the touch of the remote. For some, the dial-up modem crooning a segway to internet connection is an unfamiliar urban legend. We live in an instant age, an electronic age and an age where style mixed with a little science can be doodled and printed almost instantly! 

Inside the ground floor pop up at the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea

Thursday evening, I was invited to a launch event for the 3DEA Holiday 3D Printing pop up featuring hands-on 3D printing technology from ShapewaysUltimaker and UP! Inside, attendees are able to chat with experts, shop a curated selection of indie designer wares and try out different 3D printers and software. Almost as instant as microwave popcorn, the machines construct plastic models quite like printing a term paper from a 2D printer! Through December 27th, the ultimate 3D Printing experience is available to the public on the ground floor of the Eventi Hotel.  

Ultimaker at work--The beginnings of Emmett's bracelet design 

With the aid of 3D printing technology and opensource software, anyone can access designs and "print" to their heart's content. And it's as easy as that--with the click of a mouse or a jab of the ipad, a design is transmitted and, about 15 minutes later, Voila! The science is simple--spools of colorful plastic filament are fed into the machine, heated and molded into stackable layers. The result is a durable--in some cases wearable--waterproof objet d'art.

Bracelets and cups created using 3D Printing Technology
 Ahoy Ring by Michael Mueller / O. Vulgaris ring by Museum of Small Things printed using metal + 3D printing technology
*silver ring images from

3D printing can be done with metal or plastic and different color combinations can be mastered through changing the filament partway through the process. Over the last year, personal/desktop 3D Printing has caught on as companies like Brooklyn-based Makerbot and Ultimaker in the Netherlands experience tremendous growth. Thanks to creative tinkerers worldwide, a strong base of opensource code is available--designing from scratch takes quite a bit more time and effort! From what I hear, one simplistic 2 inch by 2 inch part takes about 7 hours to design!!

Small Mesh Purse designed and printed by Vertigo Polka

Since this is style curated, here's a taste of some of the stylish sundries being showcased at the popup. Vertigo Polka designs and prints a line of strong and flexible mesh purses and assorted metal jewelry. Dutch fashion designer Marieka Ratsma and American architect Kostika Spaho collaborate on a shoe design inspired by a bird's skull. Items can be purchased at the pop up, online through Shapeways or the respective designer's websites. If you're in NYC, stop by to shop for something special and take a look at 3D printing close up! (Click HERE for details) 

White shoe designed by Dutch fashion designer Marieka Ratsma and American architect Kostika Spaho 

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