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3D Printing Designers Interview: Zheng3

1. Jim, can you say a few words about yourself and your work?

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss my work! It's a real privilege. I'm Jim Rodda, best known to the 3D printing community as Zheng3. I blog about 3D printing at Zheng3.com, and I'm currently in the middle of my third Kickstarter, Dungeon Blocks (http://kck.st/1FNEFwP). We're crowdfunding alphabet blocks for toddlers, with fantasy creatures and dungeon scenery. Check it out!
In English, D is for direwolf, but since these blocks will be Open Source, remixing the block to be L for loup terrible (?) would be easy.
When I'm not designing fun new models in 3D, I train in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and study Mandarin Chinese. I live in Wisconsin, USA, and I'm an absolutely terrible programmer.

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2. Where do you get your inspiration to create these fabulous designs?

Surprisingly, many ideas come to me while I'm the shower. My theory is that hot water and boredom increase blood flow to the brain and excite the creative centers-- I really should keep a grease pencil in the shower so I can sketch ideas on the wall tiles before I forget them. One of my favorite concepts, the Open Source tabletop wargame Seej (www.s33j.net) arrived while I was exercising; I think having a mostly-empty mind is important to the creative process.

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3. Which CAD software(s) do you use to make your designs?

Most designs begin life as sketches in Photoshop before being brought over into Autodesk Maya for execution in 3D. Some of my designs like the Bramble Bloxen get quite complicated, and Maya's scripting and project management tools are very useful in keeping the model organized while I'm working on it. I use Maya in my day job as a video game artist, too.

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4. What 3D printer have you got and what are your regular printing settings?

I'm currently using a Type A Machines 2014 Series 1 for my printing; it's a tremendously easy-to-use, reliable, and fast machine. PLA is my material of choice these days although I've been looking into experimenting with different materials. In the past I've owned a Makerbot Replicator 1 and Printrbot Simple Beta. I've written reviews of the Simple (http://zheng3.com/2013/05/30/printrbot-simple-first-impressions/) and the Series 1 (http://zheng3.com/2014/09/22/you-say-you-want-some-evolution-type-a-machines-series-1/) and I'm always looking for new opportunities to do the same with other printers.

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5. Finally, among all your great work, what is your favorite creation?

Picking a favorite is always difficult, but many people responded well to Faire Play, (faireplay.zheng3.com) in which I designed Barbie-compatible medieval armor. Lately I've been experimenting with print-in-place models too: take a look at Zheng's Dimunitive Defender, a tiny crossbow that fires cotton swabs. It's available for free on Cults3D along with many other Zheng3 models.(https://cults3d.com/en/gadget/zheng-s-dimunitive-defender)

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Thanks again for your interest in my work! It's been fun.

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