Sander van Geelen
Sep 30, 2015
Before working at Ultimaker, I studied fine arts and was taught how to translate a concept into a visual. This came in very handy when around 18 months ago I was asked to design the Ultimaker event booth. I was really proud of the display and it was great to see it become known as ‘The Wall of Ultimaker’!
For dozens of shows it’s been majestically looking over us, educating and engaging thousands of passersby. But its impressive size did come with its own challenges, primarily just moving it around! It was time for change – but what change? Well, we noticed that as visitors became more familiar with 3D printing their perception and interest changed. They became really inquisitive and often asked us: “3D printing is amazing, but what can I do with it?”
This was our starting point and the inspiration we needed for the next step.
I was asked to come up with a new design that illustrated Ultimaker’s identity but also created the context for 3D printing that we knew our audience desired – the stories. As you probably know, on our website we offer a place for our users to tell their story, and we thought this would be a great feature to continue in the booth. The eureka moment came when we decided to use magnetic plates for each of the stories. This way different stories could be selected and easily placed for each show.
I wanted to show you in more detail how we arrived at the final design and the part 3D printing played. It all began with my original sketches:
However, from a drawing alone it was very difficult to get a feel for what the stand would look like and how everything would fit together. So from these drawings I moved to a very basic 3D composite to get a better sense of the proportions of the space. But I have to confess, I’m not an expert 3D modeler, so I depended heavily on a tool called TinkerCad. It’s very intuitive and great for a project like this where you need scaled geometric models, and more specifically, to babysit an inexperienced modeler like myself!
Once I had this virtual model, I was easily able to print it out on the Ultimaker 2 and move around all the displays to get a feel for the final result. For me, this is a great example of how 3D printing empowers people to make and create, and is a great example of the democratising power of 3D printing. I would never have been able to get this prototype created before – well, I could have, but it would have been prohibitively expensive. With just a background in fine arts, I’ve been able to come up with a renewable, narrative concept for the booth and transform it into a 3D printed composition.
It's a great example of the democratising power of 3D printing. I would never have been able to get this prototype created before – well, I could have, but it would have been prohibitively expensive.
After testing and deciding on sizes, we forwarded the design to a professional constructor. During the 3D Printshow New York we had the opportunity to launch our new booth to the world.
So as a reply to the frequently asked question, “What can I do with it?” we have a very clear answer now. Just look around and get inspired! Every one has a use for a 3D printer, however big or small that use might be, but it’s not until you have one that so many possibilities present themselves. For me, I take great pride in the final stand design and that we can easily showcase what others have done with their Ultimakers.
Through 3D printing I’ve managed to do what would have been a very high expensive design and development job. Instead I created a new booth fully in-house for no additional costs. Not bad huh? But for all this change, there’s one thing that will always remain the same – and that’s you guys! We get a real kick out of seeing you at our shows and having a chance to get to know you personally. You’ll see community stories from other makers on this new board and well, as you can see, you’re a big part of who we are and what we do! The enthusiasm and passion you have for 3D printing inspires us and makes every show a huge success!
Through 3D printing I’ve managed to do what would have been a very high expensive design and development job. Instead I created a new booth fully in-house for no additional costs.
Check out our events page to find out where you can see our booth in real life. And who knows, maybe your story will be featured on one of our boards too. If you think you have a great story to tell, let us know!