A Million Pairs of Hands: Q&A with 3Doodler Designers Faraz Warsi and Erin Song
When new design interns join 3Doodler, their first challenge is to teach themselves how to use the 3D printing pen. But “figuring it out” is more than a rite of passage at the startup, it’s a way of life.
Experimenting with different ways to use the category-defining tool – and articulating those uses to the market – has been central to 3Doodler’s evolution. And the company’s design team, including Creative Director Faraz Warsi and Junior Designer Erin Song, has been instrumental in leading that charge.
From testing new applications to building new products to growing the community of 3Doodlers, Warsi and Song have played integral roles in helping Wobbleworks hit its one million milestone. Here, the two designers reflect on the company’s growth and share their thoughts on its future.
Are we close to realizing the full creative potential of the 3Doodler? Or are these still the “early days?”
Warsi: I’d say we’re we’re just scratching the surface right now.
Song: 3D printers have been around since the 1980’s, but the technology has grown so much, and it’s only now that it’s become more consumer-ready.
Warsi: The way I see it, people are still creating so many beautiful pieces on a 2D surface with a regular pen or paintbrush. Add a third dimension to it, and everything changes. Education, home decoration, even small things like, fixing the battery cover on a remote control. The 3Doodler is intuitive like a pen but has uses we haven’t even thought of yet.
Just when I thought I’ve seen everything, there’s something new and incredible being done with it. I’m constantly impressed.
At a time when so much has moved to the screen, what’s the significance of creating “by hand” with the 3Doodler?
Warsi: Back in the day, people used their hands more. Nowadays, you just go buy what you need, or there’s an app for that. Even when it comes to making a list on a piece of paper, people don’t do it. They have a calendar, or a to-do list app.
Song: As a modern day graphic designer, I mostly work on screen. However, I have always preferred to use pen and paper first for coming up with new designs. The reason is because programs have too many tools and makes the creative process harder to concentrate on. Only once I’ve finished this process, I refine everything on screen, using graphic software.
Deriving from this, I think using the 3Doodler for certain projects is more significant than pen and paper since we can think in dimensions without using a complicated software. You get to see the results right away. There are no page or size limits to what you can create with the 3Doodler.
What are some of the most interesting ways you’ve seen people use the 3Doodler?
Warsi: Honestly, every week, through Twitter or social media, we hear about someone who picked up this pen and is doing something brand new that we never thought was possible.
Song: I think the biggest one was that the 3Doodler became a tool where someone was able to use it to help people those who are visually impaired (Read more about it here)
Where would you like to see the 3Doodler go next? What does its future look like to you?
Warsi: I want to get it in more people’s hands. Right now, it’s obvious, the users are home decorators, architects, artists …
The other thing is, right now, you can doodle in plastic, you can doodle in bronze copper, polycarbonate, nylon … but I would love to be able to doodle in anything. Why not doodle in beef jerky? Why not doodle in cheese? Why not doodle in sugar? I’d like to doodle in every single material.
What does it mean to you that there are 1 million 3Doodlers out in the world?
Song: I remember reading about how we sold our 100,000th 3D printing pen back in 2014! And now we’re on our 1,000,000th pen, we must be doing something right. There must be people that are definitely interested, and I think a lot of users are drawn to our EDU, our 3Doodler education system.
Warsi: The number’s obviously huge, but it’s not like 1,000,000 in only America. They’re all over the world – Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Germany … and they’re part of all these different cultures. Art and music are universal languages … and now people are creating things with our tool, and connecting.
I think, for me, a million conveys a sense of community. At the end of the day, it’s a tool – but it’s one that affects people and changes lives. That blows my mind.