Sunday 20 October 2019
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler
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From Widgets to Wolfhounds – The 3D Printing Industry is Changing | by Ashley Saunders

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Throughout its relatively short life, 3D printing has stayed true to its roots, growing mainly within the worlds of industrial and mechanical design and production. More recently though, creative minds have been taking 3D printing into every area imaginable. I’ve seen a 3D-printed wedding dress and prosthetics for dogs. And where I work, (around Objex Unlimited, the parent company of PetPrints 3D), we have everything from a working electric ukulele to a likeness of a human heart created from an MRI scan.

I think it’s this shift from widgets to wedding dresses that has brought about some of the most exciting changes in 3D design and printing. It’s an industry and area of expertise that’s attracting a new type of worker – often young, creative, artistic…and female.

Karen I’m a marketer by training, as is my colleague Mary, who is a phenomenal finishing artist. Julia, our digital sculptor, was educated in 3D animation – she’s the master of the digital ball of clay and paintbrush! Other women here have education and interest in fashion, photography, and advertising. The opportunities around this shop include everything from social media to sales, and inventive design experimentation to hands-on finishing work (just like a good groomer, if you will!).

For those of us who work at PetPrints 3D making sculptures of people’s preciLinkedInous pets, the day includes everything from “ooing and awing” at customers’ photos of puppies and parrots, to fussing over getting a horse’s mane justright on screen, to excitedly checking (and carefully handling) a fresh model that printed overnight. We are always equally jazzed by and challenged by marrying the passion of creating art with the technical skill of production.

We care about what we do for our customers because we Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 9.34.17 AMlove our pets as much as you do. We get it! To deliver a lifelike, one-of-a-kind sculpture of your special friend, we spend a whole bunch of hours getting the details right. Our biggest reward is seeing you open the box (thank you for sending us videos!) or reading the notes you send us to tell us how much the model of Pickles or Italia or Daphne means to you. (And yes, we know all their names!)


3D printing is manufacturing with a twist. In a sector that has been dominated by male workers, there’s a new place for creative young women. Our boss Steve Cory says he hires the best young minds he can find, and that gender doesn’t play a role. You also don’t need to know anything about 3D printing – you just need energy and a drive to learn.


For more information about PetPrints 3D, visit And if you’re in Toronto, drop in! Seriously, we’re happy to show you around!

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