Faire Play 2: When in Rome
Faire Play 2 is a 3D-printed Barbie-compatible Roman chariot that can, in theory, be pulled by cats. It's Open Source.
Hello again, my friends! Jim "Zheng3" Rodda here, back with my second 3D-printing related Kickstarter.
This Kickstarter has two, count 'em TWO goals.
1. I need your help to take my operation from "some dude in a basement" to a garage-scale production facility. I'll need some new hardware, software, a second 3D printer, and a bunch of less exciting stuff like workbenches, fire suppression systems, packing supplies, non-prescription sleep aids, and also the cat would like some more noms, please. If the Kickstarter's successful I'll be able to deliver new and fun 3D printed toys and tchotchkes (and their 3D-printable blueprints) to the world for the foreseeable future.
2. It would be nice to melt Facebook and Twitter with this image of a cat pulling a 3D-printed chariot:
Do share by clicking the "share this project" button up top. Click iiiiitt.
The success of my first 3d printing Kickstarter was a convincing argument that yes, maybe I could make a go of running a small 3D print shop. I've got plenty of ideas and I've got a 3D printer, but lack the infrastructure necessary for churning out designs at anything approaching craft-batch quantities. That's where your backing comes into the picture.
Your help, at any level, will help me to realize my lifelong dream of sleepless nights, kvetchy customer service, lower back pain, and an uncomfortable level of intimacy with Wisconsin small business tax law.
With your assistance, Zheng Labs will become a small 21st-century fabrication facility, cranking out artisanal 3D-printed fun and shipping it worldwide. It'll be like that quirky bistro down the street, but with geometry, thermoplastics, and no food.
Designing The Chariot
Faire Play demonstrated that people enjoy seeing Barbie in non-traditional roles, so revisiting the Barbie-as-warrior trope was a no-brainer for Kickstarter #2. But what else does the Internet like?
I'm told the Internet likes cats.
Coco just happened to arrive at Casa de Zheng right around the time I was looking for a project hook. A fusion of kittens, toys, and 3D printing became inevitable. Design work began immediately.
First: a cardboard mockup to get a feel for scale and feasibility.
Second, a proof-of-concept print. Can I actually print a chariot big enough to be Barbie-scale? And what to do about the axle? Long, skinny shapes can be difficult to 3D print.
A #2 pencil makes a surprisingly good axle at this scale. With that design problem addressed, the next iteration explored a more fluid shape for the chariot's basket.
And finally, after a month of nights-and-weekends vertex wrangling in Autodesk Maya we've got something close to the final design.
Prototypes and planning are important in a project like this: the lion's head motif didn't read visually once the chariot's arm was attached, so Mufasa went to the slowly fermenting pile of decent but ultimately unworkable ideas, replaced by eagle wings and grapevines.
Here's the back of the basket, which in an ideal world would be upholstered with fine Corinthian leather.
The combat kit is a derivative of the original Faire Play armor, and is still compatible with the Barbie Fashionistas line of dolls.
It's important to reiterate that I'm not affiliated with Mattel in any way, I'm not selling Barbie dolls, and so far, haven't been sued. Let's keep that streak going!
That net is flexible and printable on a home 3D printer. Full disclosure: it's spray-painted metallic silver for this photo.
Here, the laurel is printed flat on my freakishly reliable and accurate Type A Machines Series 1 printer:
...and then warmed up with a hair dryer (because of course Barbie has a hair dryer) for deformation into its final shape:
A Bit About Backer Rewards
A Kickstarter for fifteen grand is a tremendous journey to undertake. It's unlikely that there are enough people who want 3D blueprints or Barbie-compatible chariots as backer rewards, and there's no way I'm offering up the cat.
So what to offer? How can we fund the creation of a production facility that will continue to churn out fun 3D printed designs to the public long after this Kickstarter is a happy memory?
Lithopanes! These little prints are magical when they catch the sunlight and transform from an opaque plastic square to a glowing photographic image.
I'll customize one for you at the $35 backing level! Send me a favorite photo and you'll receive a 3D printed version of it to hang in a window. Just about any photo will work.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Mothers' Day will be here faster than you can say "gas station emergency flower bouquet." Just think about that for a second, and then get your mom a custom lithopane.
If you'd like a different backer reward and a custom lithopane, just add $35 to your pledge. Add another $10 to super-size your print. We'll sort the math out after the Kickstarter's done.
Some of the backer rewards for Faire Play 2 are digital and will be distributed under a Creative Commons license. Backers will be free to modify, redistribute, and even sell the digital files and their derivatives.
Many, many thanks to composers Stephen O'Brien, Brett McCoy, and Michael Wiktorko for making their excellent music available on Soundcloud for anyone to use.
A complete list of sound effects used in the video is available here. Thanks to all the sound designers who put their work up on Freesound.org.
Thanks also to Steve Deffeyes for his excellent Roman font.
Much credit must go to my daughter for Barbie and Sparky's clothing production. Also thanks to Coco who had no idea what she was getting into when she became Zheng Labs' official feline, and who has worn her harness with as much dignity as any kitten could be expected to maintain under such circumstances.
You guys. This cat.
Risks and challenges
No venture is without risks, but in this case they're minimal. Many, many bugs got ironed out the last time we went into the breach.
The digital rewards delivery system has been rebuilt since Kickstarter #1, so the road should be smoother with Faire Play 2. The 3D printed rewards have a low printing failure rate, which will minimize production hiccups.
Fulfilling physical rewards was the most difficult phase of my first Kickstarter, so I'll be working to refine and optimize the process this time around. As Grandma Zheng used to say, learn by doing, and don't bother me when Murder She Wrote is on.
There's a distinct possibility my ovaries will explode if Chris Hemsworth says "Ultron we would have words with thee" during Avengers 2 in May. Barring that sort of massive personal injury, the most likely mishaps to befall this Kickstarter are minor production and shipping delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)