It's been two weeks
, so it's time for another TFW2005 Creative Spotlight
! Every two weeks, we here at TFW2005 will be giving a brief spotlight to something we think is special from the TFW2005 Creative Subforums
as a nod to one of TFW2005's biggest sub-communities. Last time, we took a quick look into the customization aspect of those subforums
, so we thought it would only be fair if this time around we gave the spotlight to something in the Fan Art section
This time, we have chosen to spotlight Fakebusker83's Shapeways projects
(which are available to order through Fakebusker's Shapeways storefront) and we interviewed Fakebusker about the inspiration behind these kits and for a look into the design process. Check out the interview after the jump, and don't forget to swing by the thread to check out all of Fakebusker's creations and links to various galleries featuring the creations.
---- TFW2005: What gave you inspiration to use Shapeways as a method of creating your own custom Transformers parts? Fakebusker83:
You guys might not remember this, but I came onto the boards a customizer. While working on my HFTD leader Starscream custom, I tried to scratchbuild posable hands for it. Maybe it was the material I used or maybe its my lack of construction skill, but the fingers remained loose and kept breaking over several attempts.
Needless to say I was close to giving up!
It was serendipity that I came across some Radicon threads that showed projects made from Shapeways. At that time it was a new company and things felt fresh and exciting. The creative fandom involved in 3D printing felt pretty new and exploratory too; I saw artists were building replacement heads and weapon accessories for Transformers figures, some even built awesome looking targetmasters! It was a small but growing pool of talent.
I have a background in Industrial Design, with some experience in CAD. My thinking was: instead of expending effort scratchbuilding those darned Starscream hands, what if I can engineer them using what I learnt in school? At least I can put my education (and college expenses) to good use! With the power of rapid prototyping made widely available on Shapeways, I can easily bring my CAD designs to reality and I'll be able to help fellow customizers at the same time.
It took several revisions, but I succeeded in creating posable hands for leader Starscream. And over time I have been getting more and more requests for different parts from customizers, and it has been a wild, richly rewarding experience building all these new projects. As they say, the rest is history. TFW2005: Do you think there is any room for improvement in the Shapeways process, not to mention 3-D Printing as a whole when it comes to toy production and customization? Fakebusker83:
There is still much to improve upon in terms of production costs for such a new technology as 3D printing. There are existing materials whose properties closely match what we have in traditional toy plastics, but they are too expensive to be feasible.
Shapeways has always been active in enhancing their materials and researching alternative processes, but the economically approachable choices all have their little quirks which detract from the product experience. White Strong Flexible for example, is great when you need to incorporate ball-joints in a design, but many people are turned off by its rough texture and dimensional inconsistency. TFW2005: Out of your (admittedly vast) library of projects, is there anything of yours that stands out as your favorite piece? Fakebusker83:
I would say the Thugger is still my favourite, as it is the first full 'figure' I've made and it is the go-to standard model I'll use to test any new material. On a personal note, it is also made as a romantic gesture for an ex who loves the Rumble Frenzy cassettes, so there is a sentimental value to that favouritism. TFW2005: Out of your various Shapeways projects, is there a specific piece that you think you could improve on? Fakebusker83:
At this stage I'll admit that I think none of my designs are perfect and all of them can be improved upon. However, there is always a point where polishing a design will yield diminishing returns. As long as a model satisfies its basic function, I'll move on and never look back.
Besides, I get new requests everyday. If I keep fixing the old stuff, I'll never get to the new. Life's too short, and there are many things I want to achieve. TFW2005: Care to go through your creative process when making a new Shapeways-compatible add-on?
I am always looking out for opportunities to design. To me, a good add-on should be the smallest thing possible that gives the biggest improvement to a figure. Let me bring up the example of posable hands. Many simpler figures are given one piece hands for cost issues. However, the hands and the face are the most expressive parts of a figure. Humans throughout history communicate with their hands, and having posable hands on humanoid figures really enhance that sense of recognition.
Also, I'm a stickler for show accuracy especially for my favourite characters. I think I can speak for many of us on the boards when I say I want to 'fix' a character's figure I deem lacking. I understand that traditional toy companies are unable to give 100% accurate figures (due to manufacturing, costs limitations, etc) so this is where Shapeways can come in. The Knock Out set I did was a good example of this motivation. TFW2005: Is there a bit of a guessing game when it comes to the actual production to make sure parts absolutely fit unto the toys themselves? Have you ever had to scrap anything due to incompatibilty/complexity? Fakebusker83:
When I am designing it is always best to have the figure in hand, no guessing. Measure, and measure again. For most projects I have to make it a point to test a model at least once as I need it to work on different materials and sometimes on completely different figures. What is interesting for Transformers is that the add-ons often have to work on both modes. This is what makes it so engaging for me, but it behooves me to have a test and abuse process. TFW2005: Are you currently working on anything else? Fakebusker83:
LOL! I'm always working on projects! There's no end to it.
All I can say is that I try to challenge myself to do something new for each project. You can expect my future releases to be drastically different from what you've seen before.