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Female and Non-Binary Makers Unite to 3D Print Pieces of Crowdsourced Rosie the Riveter Sculpture

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[Image: Wikimedia]

I’m certain that most will recognize this famous image of Rosie the Riveter, a cultural, feminist icon in the US that represented all of the women working in shipyards and factories while the men were overseas fighting WWII. Other countries had similar images of female war workers around the same time period, and the posters were often used to encourage women to volunteer to work for the war effort. But while it’s true that Rosie stood for something important, it’s obvious that not all women, or non-binary people, may see themselves in her image.

Gender and diversity have been increasingly becoming part of the conversation in the 3D printing world, which is a good thing, as the industry definitely skews male. In an effort to continue this important discussion, popular 3D print crowdsourcing platform We the Builders, which has been responsible for collaborative sculpture projects like Edgar Allan Print and Ben Franklinstein, is introducing its newest project – We the Rosies.

In a project post, We the Builders wrote, “We make crowd-sourced 3d printed sculptures out of hundreds – or in this case, thousands of parts, printed all over the world by people like you!

“To celebrate the contributions and diverse identities of women and non-binary makers, we’re scaling up a sculpture of Rosie the Riveter to monument-size and printing her in a spectrum of skintones.”

The project is possible thanks to a Baltimore Women in Tech microgrant from software company Smartlogic.

We the Builders, a registered non-profit, needs a lot of help from the maker community, regardless of gender identity, as the final sculpture will consist of 2,625 parts and be over 6′ tall. Anyone with access to a 3D printer who has a Google account can help. To start off, once you’re signed in, just click the “Give me a File to Print” button. Parts should be 3D printed in a variety of skintones, even if the one you choose isn’t your own, as the point of the project is to “celebrate diversity.”

Clay sculpture of Rosie the Riveter created by Jen Schachter

The Rosie for this project is based on a 7″ bust created by Baltimore-based artist and maker Jen Schachter, which was 3D scanned by Sophie and Clara of Direct Dimensions, then scaled up and sliced digitally into the over 2,600 3D printable pieces.

Past projects have included parts in a wide variety of materials, from PLA, ABS, and PHA to metal plated, wood, resin, multi-color, and even glow-in-the-dark. So go nuts, as long as the color matches some shade of skintone to keep with the overarching theme.

Multiple filament manufacturers are showing their support by offering discounts. MatterHackers is offering a 5% discount, excluding Ultimaker merchandise – just visit the website to purchase your materials and enter the code “ROSIETHEHACKER” at checkout. Use the code “ROSIE” when you check out on the DeltaMaker site to receive $9 off brown, gold (tan), and natural filaments.

Once you’ve 3D printed your part, send We the Builders a photo and the dimensions, then ship it by May 20th so it arrives in time for the final build; don’t forget to mark it as shipped, so your part isn’t released to someone else for 3D printing. You can check out a full set of instructions here.

The final sculpture assembly will take place in Santa Fe next month at the inaugural NOMCON, a national gathering of crafts, hacker, maker, hacker, and technology leaders hosted by the Nation of Makers. Former Mythbusters star Adam Savage will be helping Schachter assemble all of the parts at the event, which has a theme of Intentional Inclusion.

In addition to 3D printing and shipping your own part for the sculpture, there are plenty of other ways to get involved with the We the Rosies project.

Skintone filament colors

For starters, you can host an event for women and non-binary makers at your local makerspace, library, school, or community center – so long as it has a 3D printer. We the Builders has a downloadable marketing package, including banners and fliers scaled for social media sharing, that you can customize for your event.

You can also donate to the project, or purchase a t-shirt on Amazon, which features a rendering of the 3D model being used for the project. The shirts are made on demand, and proceeds go towards the organization’s “continued efforts in making large crowd-sourced 3D printed sculptures, and toting them around to see you all.”

Those makers who aren’t female or non-binary can also participate.

“If you’re not a woman or non-binary maker, please print a part, and feel free to hold the camera for someone who is,” We the Builders wrote. “This is a moment for them to shine!”

We the Rosies contributors as of 4:30 pm May 4, 2018

We the Builders also wants to know your story:

“Diverse women and non-binary makers, we want to hear from you! We know the popular image of Rosie the Riveter doesn’t represent the wide spectrum of identities of today’s makers. We need your voices to help us reimagine Rosie, and shape a new narrative about who she could and should be. This piece of the project is just as important as the sculpture itself. Follow along on social media at #wetherosies and check out some of the inspiring makers who have shared their story!”

Make a video of your response to two prompts: how does the act of making empower you, and who would Rosie the Riveter be in 2018? Then post your video to social media using the following hashtags: #nomcon#wethebuilders, and #wetherosies.

Discuss this project and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Images: We the Builders unless otherwise noted]


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