September 29, 2014

“She settled in for another day of watching the guys work, asking the occasional question. The column she’d ended up filing had been a kind of wait-and-see piece, describing the cool culture these two had going between them, and asking if it could survive scaling up to mass production. Now she experimented with their works-in-progress, sculptures and machines that almost worked, or didn’t work at all, but that showed the scope of their creativity” (Doctrow 39).

“What you people are making has an edge because it’s you making it, very bespoke and distinctive. I think it will take some time for the world to emerge an effective competitor to these goods, provided that you can build an initial marketplace mass-interest in them…. The system makes it hard to sell anything above the marginal cost of goods, unless you have a really innovative idea, which can’t stay innovative for long, so you need continuous invention and reinvention, too (Doctrow 43).


Without any previous experience in the realm of 3D printing, I watched curiously as my peers tinkered with shapes on their screens. My first impression of Tinkercad was that it looked like a simple program for putting together building blocks. On the screen was a three-dimensional graphic plane where shapes were manipulated, transformed, and rotated on all corners. Students began with a flat, orange cylinder and added (or subtracted) shapes to create dimension. They were making coins. The shapes were grouped together and sent to print: they would become the tokens that signified the start of a new skill.