Despite some tremendous progress, one of the biggest obstacles in the way of widespread, mainstream adoption of 3D printing is the skill it takes to develop comprehensive 3D printable models on one’s own. If you have a degree in design or engineering, then 3D modelling likely does not stand in the way of your 3D printing aspirations. However, if you are like myself, or the billions of other people on this planet who have little to no CAD experience, this can be a problem.
One company, called Tangible Solutions, who launched just last year out of a Fairborn, Ohio garage, and since has grown substantially, seeks to change all this. This week, the company launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for an offering they call Pango.
Pango is an augmented reality enabled service that allows for anyone, who can pick up a pencil and draw, to have their 3D ideas materialized. The entire process around Pango is incredibly innovative, allowing a 2D sketch to become first a 3D model within a smartphone’s augmented reality world, and then an actual physical 3D print.
A user gets started by drawing a 2D image within a special ‘Inventor’s Notebook’, provided by the company, and then writing a short description detailing any particular instructions they have for the Pango staff. Once they are happy with that image, they take a photo and upload it via the free Pango smartphone application. The company then turns that photo into a 3D printable model, but before printing it, they will actually let the user see that 3D model in augmented reality. A simple notification will display on one’s smartphone when the model is ready. By opening the application, and then aiming their phone towards the initial sketch, the software will trigger the model to appear within the augmented reality interface on top of that original sketch. Once the user is satisfied, Tangible Solutions will 3D print the model in whatever color desired and mail it to the customer’s doorstep.
The system, which is not even remotely like anything we have ever seen in the past, is perfect for small businesses and manufacturers who need prototyping done based on their simple sketches. The company is looking to raise $100,000 by November 24th to move forward with the development of this project, with an estimated launch date set for January of next year. The rates which will be charged, once launched, have yet to be revealed, although the full service, including the 3D modelling, the augmented reality, and the printing of the model is available to backers starting at just $149.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this interesting new concept in the Pango 3D modelling forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below.