3D printing was once only seen as a technology reserved only for professionals. It was difficult and expensive to obtain a system before desktop 3D printers began proliferating at the start of the last decade. However, today, 3D printing is booming, and while we know that it is being used by nearly every major manufacturer in the world at some level, it is also extremely popular on TikTok.
Though this may be the case, you might not know it just from seeing articles on LinkedIn. Nevertheless, these users may be making just as much of an impact in the 3D printing industry, with TikTok as their platform of choice.
As a 3D printing TikToker myself, I had the pleasure of interviewing my colleagues Sarah Hunt, Melissa Kaye, Kerrika Marshall, Breanna Wright, Britt, and Lewis Derogene. In my conversations with them outlined in this series, I was able to learn about their processes, their outcomes, and how we can attract more women to the world of 3D printing.
@pinklumenade Turned out way better than I expected for a scrappy project tbh. Love the Beambox Pro from @ultimate3dprintingstore 🔥 #3dprinting #3dprint #laserengraving #lasers #diy #chess #chesstok ♬ Belly Dancer – Imanbek & BYOR
Sarah Hunt (she/her), aka @PinkLumenade on TikTok, has over 1.3 million followers. With 15 years in product design, Hunt jumped into 3D printing as a hobby with an Ultimaker 3. She never expected it to become such a meaningful passion in her life.
“I’ve always loved the technical aspect of design; it’s fascinating when you can take an idea that starts in your head and turn it into something you can hold in your hands,” Hunt told us.
She was particularly drawn to the ability to convert digital concepts into tangible items. As Hunt learned more about 3D modeling, she was “absolutely hooked” and quickly learned that the technology had a low barrier when it came to prototyping concepts for scale. Without the need to invest in injection molds or minimum quantities, it’s possible to 3D print only what you use. Introducing social media to her work then opened up a new avenue for spreading knowledge of these benefits to the larger public.
“I used to do a lot of public speaking on design to help educate on how to use various design tools. I started TikTok in 2021, almost by protest. I’ve never been a huge social media person, and my partner encouraged me to post a video of my 3D printing process on TikTok. It went viral with over a million views, and everything took off from there,” Hunt said. “My TikTok channel started as a way to share the process of 3D printing items for the small business, but over time I evolved it to be more educational and inspirational, covering a variety of 3D printing content.”
Alongside her partner Brett, Sarah owns a 3D printing business called Hype Color, which sells 3D printed home décor items made up of a blend of custom models from community artists and exclusive products.
Lewis Derogene (she/her), aka @PhenomenaLewis on TikTok, is a multi-disciplinary artist originally from Haiti, but who moved to the United States at a young age. With 47,000 followers on TikTok, she relies on a wide variety of media, including oil paint, charcoal, yarn, wood, satin fabric, cameras, and more.
“I get inspired by a lot of different things in my life, from curiosity of what it means to be human to the basic ideas of aesthetics in art,” Lewis told us.
Lewis incorporates 3D modeling into her work using an iPad program called Nomad Sculpt. Lewis plans on 3D printing her work in the future, and sees the technology as another form of sculpting. For now, her impressive, non-3D printed works are available for purchase through her online store.
In the next installation in this series, we learn about custom cookie cutters, 3D printed cosplay, and more.
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