What Is 3D Printing: Tracy & Tom Hazzard Of WTFFF 3Dstartpoint From The Paradise Within Show With Neary Heng
Now that 3D printing is more accessible, you can make all sorts of things with it right at the comfort of your home. Tracy Hazzard joins Neary Heng of The Paradise Within Show to talk about the many possible uses of 3D printing technology. She explains how it can go beyond the usual test mark purposes and produce almost anything you want. Tracy shares how easy it is to learn the basic functions of this printer and its significant potential to address the high demand for proficient designers. On the other hand, Tom Hazzard shows Neary the eye-catching tie he is wearing, which was purely created through 3D printing.
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I’m here with Tracy Hazzard. She has a very interesting business technology. Tracy, tell us what it is that you do.
I am a product designer, which people get excited about, especially girls, because of how much stuff we shop for and we don’t know where it comes from. I can tell you now that there are not enough women product designers. So much product is bought over in Asia, India or other countries. Almost in my twenty years of doing this, I have never once come across a woman in any of those countries, designing or engineering. We need a lot more women designers in the new economy.
One of the most exciting things for me is 3D printing, which you’re hearing about. It’s a hot tech because you can buy one at home. It’s like buying a sewing machine, but now you’re buying a 3D printer. You can do so many cool things with it. You can create fashion, jewelry and any kind of tech product. It comes right off the machine as a product. You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars investing in tooling.When you have a knack for art and a shopper's mindset, you can make something fabulous with 3D printing. #podcastinterview #TheParadiseWithinShow #NearyHeng Click To Tweet
You can be empowered to have your own little artisan business. You can make plastic and metal objects. There are so many great materials too. It is a hot and new economy to me. That’s where all the future jobs are. When my partner and husband say, “STEAM is the future,” I believe it strongly. When you have the A, which is for art in there, and you add the mindset of a shopper, now you have something so fabulous that’s going to fly off the shelves.
What exactly is a 3D printer?
A 3D printer looks like a machine or a box. It has a plate at the bottom. It looks like a glue gun. That’s probably the best way to describe it. There’s a big roll of plastic. We call it filament. It would be like a string, but it’s plastic and hard. It goes into what looks like the tip of a glue gun that is heated. In that heated tip, it melts the plastic and lays it down dot by dot, row by row. It builds up a product from the bottom all the way up so you can watch your product be grown.
Is it like a mold?
No. It doesn’t mold at all. Layer by layer, it builds every product from the bottom up. Unlike a mold, which you inject plastic into it, now you can create forms you could never create before. The design possibilities and the future of what you can do with it are completely different from the style we’re used to.
You said you have been doing this for many years?
Not 3D printing. We’ve been 3D printing for about the last few years. At-home 3D printers or do-it-yourself 3D printers are ones that are much more accessible. It has been around for many years, but it has been extremely expensive, tens of thousands of dollars prototype machines. We have used them in our business but this is using it for personal use. We’re using it to create an object and sell that object. We’ll create an object and use it to test-market a product that we’ve been doing. We have a podcast about it.
Are you saying that if I have this machine, I can design anything I want? Let’s say my clothes or shoes?
Whether or not it’s going to be comfortable or it’s going to be the right materials, that’s what’s the future is coming and it’s changing. It’s probably not now, although there are artists and designers who are creating great shoes, jewelry and men’s neckties. All of that is being created and done out there. Whether or not it’s comfortable, something you want to buy, or a conversation piece, that’s where the future has to change and where it’s growing.
The machines are getting faster. The materials are getting more suitable. All of that is going to change. In the future, if you know how to design, then you can create anything you want. Otherwise, you’re going to have to buy what other people designed and download it. You’ll be able to download it and print it out if you want or send it to a service bureau.
You have a machine. Is it there like an operating system?
Think of it as a sewing machine. When we learned how to sew in 6th or 7th grade, a lot of people do that in Home Ec. Boys and girls across America had taken Home Ec in 6th and 7th grade.
I don’t know if they still offer it in school. Do they still?
My nephew did it. They still do it. They learned how to sew little craft pillows or maybe something like that. They learned how to hem a pair of pants. Will you go home and buy a sewing machine and do something with it unless you have an interest in creating something? If it inspires you to create, you’re going to go buy one. Now, you can buy a sewing machine that has all sorts of buttons and things that can do applicators and monograms. You don’t have to know how to do that to still add value to something like an Etsy creative, for instance.
That’s what 3D printers could do now. They can do that added-value thing. If you know how to create, you can do amazing things. In the future, there will be a lot more of that hit idea of being able to download a lot of great content and print out beautiful things. Will you have it in your home? I don’t think every home will have it. A lot of homes will have it. Smart parents will put it in their homes so that their kids learn the design process because that’s so important.
How hard is it to use this?
It’s not easy. It’s hard. We’ve been designing for many years. My partner has been doing CAD for many years. It’s difficult to learn how to design for one. Is it difficult to use the machine? No, not at all. Is it difficult to learn some of the free software out there and get people to like it? Yes, but you got to give yourself time. It took us about 6 to 9 months before we produced something we were proud to put on Instagram. If it takes professional designers that long, then you can create some things.
You’re going to have some fun doing it, but there’s a learning curve you’re going to have to go through. Honestly, it might be easier. We started our six-year-old daughter on 3D printing. She had fun. She has created a few things in there. It’s nothing like amazing but she did it. The most important thing she learned was she did it and it didn’t work the first time. It came out a mess. She learned how to successfully fail and then do it again and not be upset by it. That’s a part of the process. Even learning that one skill can last a lifetime for her.
Did you sell this machine?
We don’t sell the machines at all. We just talk about them. We help people learn how to jump the learning curve so that they can be the most successful possible for what they want to create. Because a lot of machines right now are depending on what type of material you want to use, what you want to make with it or what you want to learn. What level are you? Are you a student, a professional or a manufacturing facility and you want to convert? What is it that you want to do?
We have a podcast. We call it WTFFF?! which stands for What the FFF?! FFF is 3D printing. It’s Fused Filament Fabrication. That’s that glue gun thing that I was talking about. It’s not the other FFF. It’s a play on that. We talk five days a week about it. We have Ask Us Free. Everything we do on our podcast and website is free to help everyone learn about what 3D printing can do for your business, home, family, job prospects, and that its future might change all of our economies to being a design-led economy.In the future, if you know how to design, you can create anything you want. #podcastinterview #TheParadiseWithinShow #NearyHeng Click To Tweet
If people want to know more about your company, how would they contact you?
Thank you so much, Tracy. I’ve learned so much about 3D printing. It has been an inspiration for 3D printing. Thank you, everybody.
I’m Tom Hazzard from WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast. For all you women who have young girls or girls out there who are interested in STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, you might consider learning about 3D printing. My tie is an example of a fashion accessory you can learn to make and wear using the average 3D printing technology available now.
Let me show you from top to bottom so you can see what exactly this tie looks like. Isn’t that cool? What kind of material is it?
It’s a plastic material called PLA, which is a plant-based plastic. It’s very friendly materials, even food-grade material, but it’s being used here as a fashion accessory.
Conventionally, it’s some kind of material. How do you tie this?
There’s a chain I got around my neck. It wraps around and hooks on the other side. We make it with an extra-long length with a hook. You figure out what your length is and you break off the remainder so it fits you.
Is it adjustable?
It is adjustable for any size neck.
Thank you, Tom.
You’re welcome. Thank you.