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3DFridays at the Fusebox

We are 3Dify, a small tech start up based in the effervescent digital hub that is the Fusebox. We're surrounded by a new wave of Brighton start ups and the fantastic Wired Sussex team. It is a space that is inspiring creative ventures and adventurers.

Our residency here began around the time of the Brighton Digital Festival last year, while the space was still in its infancy. Some of you may know us from 'Break the Mould' – a 3D body scanning and 3D printing art installation that toured the Maker Faire, Jubilee Library, the excellent Clearleft Gallery, and the Mad Hatter cafe. We scanned approximately 400 people and 3D printed mini figures of them, it was an intense month to say the least.

The intensity was certainly compounded by the fact that we only had three weeks before the installation began to put the end to end technology together on a shoestring budget. To the soundtrack of a constantly ticking clock we learned a lot, but it nearly broke us –  sleep deprived, still fixing code and hardware we arrived at our first venue and were faced with the task of scanning the BBC Click team – if ever there was a technology acid test, this was it

As crowds gathered, cameras snapped and the World Service broadcast began they entered the body scanner with due reverence. Within an hour and a half they were holding their 8cm 3d printed bioplastic figurines as though they were treasure. Tech correspondents Bill Thompson and Gareth Mitchell were brilliant and totally in the spirit of it, they were patient, intrigued, and suitably amazed.

Caption: Gareth Mitchell 3D printed at Brighton Mini Maker Faire Photo © Developing Dreams

Somehow, against the odds we had pulled it off. The response in general throughout the installation was overwhelming, “magic, Star Trek, Joe 90” were all comments heard in multitude. The BBC team found and filmed us, as did ITV, the Guardian had us on their tech podcast. The installation and process captured people's imaginations as well as their likenesses.

As Arthur C Clarke put it “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, but when you're playing with emerging technology it can also be like the Wizard of Oz and that illusion shattering moment when the curtain is drawn back. For the most part, we were just happy our proof of concept worked - rollerskate wheels, drill motors, 80's joystick and all.

Now, several months later people still talk to us about it or recognise us as 'the 3D guys'. We're still a small start-up, we're still very much immersed in 3D printing and scanning and continuously throwing our knowledge of engineering, electronics, hardware hacking and coding together.

We've been building and testing a proper prototype 3D body scanner that is already a world away from our proof of concept we built for the installation. Our insight into hardware, code, and methodology is growing with each new test and each new bug squashed – learning is always a journey. People find us through what we've done and it is great to be working with emerging technology and be immersed in the creative network that forms a very intriguing backbone of Brighton's digital society.

As part of our residency we are running sessions dubbed by wonderful studio co-ordinator Rosalie as 3DFriday. Every Friday for the next month we're inviting people to come in and learn about 3D scanning and 3D printing. Sessions will be informal and based around knowledge sharing or collaboration with those who have an interest in or a project based around these emerging technologies. We will hopefully offer tech, electronics, design advice and small 3D prints to people, but we do only have desktop 3D printers, there is no charge but we would appreciate a contribution for any materials used. If you know absolutely nothing about 3D printing, the first thing to learn is that they are slow. So please manage your expectations – you won't be printing any houses (unless they are very, very small).

Video documentary of Break the Mould can be found on our website: or find us on Twitter @3Dify

For more information about 3D printing and 3D scanning you can visit 3Dify's Pearltrees account:

***3DFridays are free and exclusive to Wired Sussex members, New England House residents and Recreate partners.  However, we are keeping the workshops small to maximise their value to attendees. Register now to avoid disappointment.***

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