Despite considerable progress, one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread adoption of 3D printing is the skill required to develop complete 3D printable models on your own. If you have a degree in design or engineering, 3D modeling probably doesn’t stand in the way of your 3D printing aspirations. However, if you’re like me, or the billions of other people on this planet who have little or no CAD experience, this can be a problem.
A company called Tangible Solutions, which started last year in a garage in Fairborn, Ohio, and has grown significantly since then, is looking to change all that. This week, the company launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for an offering they call Pango.
Pango is an augmented reality service that allows anyone who knows how to pick up a pencil and draw to materialize their ideas in 3D. The whole process around Pango is incredibly innovative, allowing a 2D sketch to first become a 3D model in the augmented reality world of a smartphone and then a true physical 3D print.
A user begins by drawing a 2D image in a special “inventor’s notebook” provided by the company, then writes a short description detailing the particular instructions he has for Pango personnel. Once they are happy with this image, they take a picture and upload it via the free Pango smartphone app. The company then transforms this photo into a 3D printable model, but before printing it, it will allow the user to view this 3D model in augmented reality. A simple notification will appear on his smartphone when the model is ready. By opening the app and then pointing their phone at the initial sketch, the software will trigger the model to appear in the augmented reality interface above that original sketch. Once the user is satisfied, Tangible Solutions will 3D print the model in the desired color and ship it to the customer’s doorstep.
The system, which doesn’t even remotely resemble anything we’ve seen in the past, is perfect for small businesses and manufacturers who need prototyping based on their simple sketches. The company is looking to raise $100,000 by November 24 to advance the development of this project, with an estimated launch date set for January next year. The rates that will be charged, once launched, have yet to be disclosed, although the full service, including 3D modeling, augmented reality and model printing, will be available to backers from only $149.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this exciting new concept in the Pango 3D Modeling forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below.
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