3D Printing Library Issues Technology

Bre Pettis, Libraries, and 3D Printing

At CES 2012, I had a chance to talk with Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot Industries, about how libraries and 3D printing can be a really, really great match. Take a look at the video…I’ll be writing a LOT more about 3D printing in the near future, or you can go back and see some of the stuff I’ve already written.

3D Printing

Mineways – 3D printing from Minecraft

Fire and IceMineways is a program that translates Minecraft models into object files that can be printed on 3D printers, resulting in you being able to hold in your hand something that you designed in a game. This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has been available…one of the very first instances of 3D printing that I reported on (way back in 2006!) was the ability to print your character from Second Life. In 2007 I had a chance to hold my first 3D printed object that I designed…my Mii from my Nintendo Wii system.

So printing from games isn’t new, but the popularity of Minecraft and the free-form creativity of it is certain to lead to some really interesting stuff. How can you incorporate this into what you offer to patrons?

3D Printing ALA LITA Top Tech Trends

3D printing video for Top Tech Trends

I was asked by the LITA Top Tech Trends committee to help them test out a new idea for TTT…having a Trendster talk about a single tech trend on video, and throwing it up on YouTube. I agreed, and the result (after a little editing on my part) came out really well. Take a look:

If this is the sort of thing you’d like to see more of from LITA, please…leave a comment! Let us know what you think.

3D Printing Digital Culture Gaming Personal


Check THIS out:


It’s Mii!

A long time ago, I blogged about a company who would take your Second Life avatar, and create a little 3d render of it using a 3d printing process. Then, a bit later, I blogged about getting a Wii.

Unbeknownst to me, the president of the company, Fabjectory, had noticed my blog posting, and had been reading me (or at least skimming my feed) since then. When he saw I got a Wii he emailed me to let me know that Fabjectory was now making mini-statues of Mii’s, and he offered to make me one gratis. After a few emails back and forth to assure me he wasn’t joking, and for me to assure him that I wasn’t guaranteeing that I’d blog about it, etc…I took him up on it.

The process was really simple: for a Mii, you just take a few full-body shots of your Mii right off the TV screen. You can do that from the Mii edit screen…here are the two I sent in:


From that, the Fabjectory guys recreated my Mii, printed it using a Z-corp color 3d printer, and shipped it my way. My only negative about the process was that my initial discussion with them was in March, and while I checked in a few times to make sure the photos came through ok, it’s August now…better than 4 months since my initial order. Still, it’s a freebie, and almost certainly wasn’t given the priority that a paying customer would be given.

I’m really impressed with the detail of the fig…it’s so well done, with the colors being dead-on. Overall, it’s just amazing to see this once virtual piece of me now as a physical item. I would definitely recommend this as a cool gift…Betsy nearly fell over when I gave her the one of Mii, and I think it will be quite cute on her desk at work. My fig is one of the 3 inch figures, and at a retail of $50 is a bit on the steep side to order on a whim. On the other hand, it’s a great little object d’ arte, and if you’ve gotten as many comments on your Mii as I have, it might be a small price to pay.

Here’s some detail shots of the figure:


I’d recommend Fabjectory after seeing the quality of the work, and just the intrinsic coolness of holding your Mii. I’m considering pushing my Dean to pony up for a SketchUp model of the new library, once the plans are finalized…how cool would it be to show off a model to the students?

3D Printing Digital Culture

Objects in Space

I am absolutely enamored with physical representations of virtual objects. We’ve skipped over the marvel that a digital photograph can become a physical print (mainly because the digital photo is a mimic of the physical, down to thinking of photos as single objects and talking about something as nonsensical as “digital filmmaking“), but I love the idea of Fabjectory:


Bring your avatar out of the virtual world and into the real world with Fabjectory’s avatar creation services. We’ll fab a miniature statuette of your avatar that you can take with you anywhere.

Create a digital you, and then have your own action figure statuette made, complete with tattoos and pithy t-shirts. I know a lot of WoW players who would jump on this.

According to their blog, they’ll also let you create a customized USB key case in-game (graphics, logos, textures, legs…whatever) and then create it for you IRL. We’re getting closer and closer to The Diamond Age and drawing things off the Feed. I want me a matter compiler!

This is roughly related to my adoration of the new Moo Flickr cards…it somehow makes your photos both weightier and more desireable. These little things are awesome…you want to share them, but you want to keep them all for yourself. I ordered the free sample of 10 cards, and immediately ordered 100 when I got them…they are that cool. My next plan is to take a picture of my Moo cards, upload that to Flickr, and have cards made from it…how many cycles of Meta-Moo can you go?