Mike Le Page is a living testament to the fact that a youth filled with games actually support a future career. You may recognize his name from an article we wrote about his 3D print Tetris puzzle, a great creation to keep friends and family occupied for hours, without all the hassle of having to tie them up. The Tetris puzzle was, however, just the tip of the creative iceberg for Le Page who now offers the fruits of his imagination direct from source to customer through Shapeways.
His Shapeways storefront, Mikelepage (which I pronounced in nearly every possible way except for as Mike Le Page until I learned his name) currently offers not only the Tetris cube puzzle but also a DNA chess board, a Cyvasse set, a skeletal creation that acts as a hairpiece, and, of course, dragons on skateboards. The latest addition to this eclectic design set is the Maze Cage, an elegant puzzle that looks like a combination of the inner workings of a watch and an 18th century compact case.
The way this creature works is that the sides of the container make up the maze and by turning the top while raising or lowering it, you can guide the pins through the track of the maze and on to the end where they free the top from the bottom. It’s a clever locking system, one whose utility obviously comes in the pleasure of solving a puzzle rather than in the security in provides.
The enjoyment of a task well approached and creatively completed is something that Le Page clearly experiences as part of the production of his designs. While he has been designing for a little over two years now, the roots of his interest lie much further in the past, in the heart of his childhood.
In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Le Page walked us down memory lane for the creation of one of his designs, a 3D printed game of 3D Tic Tac Toe, and how that lay the foundation of his interest in 3D design:
“I have 3 older brothers (I’m the youngest of 4), and one of them, Stephen [who is] seven years older than I, has been doing programming since he was young….my Dad had an NEC APC computer in 1984 with MBASIC on it, so one of Stephen’s first projects when he was 8 was typing out the code for 3D tic tac toe, line by line, from a book. My first definite memory of playing it was in 1988 when I was five, so I guess you could say I’ve been thinking in 3D for a long time.”
Another family might have told Mike to put his games away and go “do something useful” but in the supportive environment provided by his parents and brothers, he never lost his sense of play and is now turning it into a way to make a living…something necessitated by adulthood. Le Page’s approach to 3D printing is anything but childish, however. His approach to 3D printing as a tool for his ideas is that in order for it to be a successful business proposition, it needs to be used to create things that can only be created through 3D printing.
As he continues to populate his store with creations from his playful imagination, he plans on releasing a couple of his older designs for free through Thingiverse. His hope is the enjoyment of those pieces will draw people to look at his other offerings.
And, at least for now, his place is the only one you can visit that also offers dragons on skateboards.
Will you be trying to 3D print this cool little gadget Let us know in the 3D Printed Maze Cage forum thread on 3DPB.com.