Building a 3D-printing studio focusing on design solutions to everyday life.
This week, I’m launching the new and improved ProprThings shop.
One of the benefits of having a broadly-focused newsletter is that it allows me the occasional unabashed logrolling of my other projects. Thankfully this week the overlap is warranted, as it covers many areas related to design, technology, and tinkering (for good!)
Let me back up and provide a little context for those who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing from me personally grouse in the last few weeks about magnets, supply chains, and filament colors.
A “Propr” Beginning
In 2017, I initially launched a Kickstarter project to develop one fun little item, the ProprHandle. This device was an accessory for tablets, e-readers, and phones that made them easier to hold and prop up, particularly for long stretches of reading (and so they wouldn’t hit you in the face when you held them in bed, which was the real reason).
It was a fun project, done on the side while I was still working in the innovation office for the Peace Corps in DC. It made sense to continue to offer the accessory beyond the Kickstarter while at the same time fulfilling a few random requests from friends and increasingly strangers to design and develop custom parts all in the same “genre” of the ProprHandle, i.e., well-designed, thoughtful, useful items.
ProprThings was born.
You can read more about the history here.
New and Improved
The pandemic allowed me the time and opportunity to flesh out some design ideas and projects, and I was able to get four more products to the finish line for consumer sales.
If you’re curious, the products consist of: a magnetic soap holder, a pocket stand to prop up your phone, a minimalist keyring device, and a set of table wedges designed to look like old school matchbooks.
I’m currently developing a follow-up to the ProprHandle that is retractable and uses magnets rather than suction to attach to the device. Plus, it’s just a lot cooler.
The Bigger Picture of 3D Printing
Out of all the emerging tech to be skeptical and cynical about (and there’s no shortage of them, with blockchain, crypto, NFTs, 5G, AI, surveillance, etc.), 3D printing has been quietly chugging along with punctuated updates about new technologies, materials, businesses, and applications:
Another example is the use of 3D-printing technologies to build out home sections entirely.
A team used x-ray imaging and 3d printing to identify an earlier version of a Picasso painting, hidden underneath a revised version.
For me, what makes the technology landscape so interesting is that it’s just become much more massive and mainstream at the same time. Libraries and high schools have 3D printers all over the place, and you don’t need to look very hard on Etsy or Thingiverse to see a healthy ecosystem of 3D printing, design, and hobbyists. There are popular YouTubers and TikTokers getting millions of views for fairly in-the-weeds topics around aspects of heated print beds and techniques for recycling filament.
It’s cool, seriously.
What Else I’m Reading
UN Calls Elon Musk’s Bluff, Providing Detailed Plan to Prevent World Hunger — This exchange is both playful and terrifying. It demonstrates the emerging gulf in how people frame the solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Fifty percent of Facebook Messenger’s total voice traffic comes from Cambodia. Here’s why - Rest of World — Another needed example of how certain technologies have become adopted and adapted in different ways worldwide, which have been implications (both good and bad) down the road.
Smithsonian Bug Expert By Day; Eccentric Tunnel Digger By Night — Architect of the Capital — You wouldn’t be able to get away with this kind of thing today, and we are worse off for it.
Person Furious That Someone Right Click Saved Their Precious NFT — 👩🍳 :: chef’s kiss ::
Thanks for reading,
GoodTinker is a weekly email from Gabriel Krieshok about technology, design, and social impact. If you’ve enjoyed this edition, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you’re reading it for the first time, consider subscribing (it’s free!).