Today’s #3DThursday Community Spotlight features 3D designer and artist Jim Rodda (aka Zheng3). A year ago, I would have said that he is best known as “SEEJ Patient Zero” (creator of the addictive, open source tabletop war-game — one of the best to leverage what desktop 3D printing can “bring to the table”), but since then he has been quite busy. A successful crowdfunding effort Faire Play that finally provides your Barbie the battle armor she has been craving. He has also been generating his own dungeon-gnome-factory worth of solo design efforts at The Forge.
He is someone I look to frequently when considering the intersection between 3D printing, gaming, and toys — a designer as thoughtful about the role his creations might play in others hands as he is a great resource for improving your design chops. Check out the selection from a recent interview below — as well as a number of examples of his recent work.
Matt Griffin Interviews Jim Rodda “ZHENG3”
Hi! Who are you, and what do you do?
Howdy back! I’m Jim Rodda, better known to the 3D printing community as Zheng3. When I’m not designing 3D printable stuff, I’m the creative director for an indie video game studio. In my spare time I study Mandarin Chinese, train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and hit as many yoga classes as I can.
What are your go-to machines? (Desktop printers, services, hand tools, etc!)
I started a few years ago with a MakerBot Replicator 1, but lately I’ve been using a Type A Machines 2014 Series 1. Every now and then I’ll throw a model over to Shapeways when I need a print in something other than plastic. I use a battered Canon G11 camera for my photography work. Clothes Make the Maker; ripstop cargo pants are a must-wear, pockets bulging with components, pliers, Sharpies, and hardware store receipts. Never go anywhere without a SpyderCo folding utility knife for opening boxes and removing stubborn models from a print bed.
And what software do you use to get your work done? (Design packages, CAM software, slicers, host software?)
Autodesk Maya takes care of the lion’s share of the work around here. Slicing is usually in ReplicatorG or Cura, and printing happens either from RepG or Octoprint, depending on the printer.
What is one (or what are some) of your designs that you’d like for everyone to check out?
Faire Play — Barbie-compatible medieval armor — and Seej, a tabletop wargame designed to advance the state of hobbyist 3D printing through competition and player-directed evolution. Also, SQUIRREL! with NUNCHUCKS!
What are design challenges that you have faced (and perhaps or perhaps overcome) when creating your work?
Time. There’s never enough of it. On the plus side, sometimes technology catches up to an idea if it’s back-burnered for long enough. Careful planning and batch processing helps with productivity.
What challenge do you most look forward to tackling in the future?
I’ll be launching a second Kickstarter in early 2015. Can’t wait to get this one out the door — working on it has been a tremendous amount of fun so far.
Any pointers for those just starting out with design and 3D printing?
Study drawing first and learn as many other traditional art techniques as you can. Once you’ve got some traditional skills under your belt, your design for 3D printing will take off like a rocket.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!