Accustomed to thinking of the family's 3-D printer as an "ATM of things," Benat Cuni's 5-year-old daughter asked him to print a crayon drawing she made of a dolphin. A couple of months later, he had launched a new store based on her request.
The store, Crayon Creatures, will turn any drawing into a sandstone 3-D sculpture. It's an extension of Cuni's 3-D printing studio Cunicode, which has also produced jewelry designs, a lampshade that when illuminated looks like the moon, and 30 designs for coffee cups created within 30 days. Children’s drawings, unique by their nature, fit right in.
3-D printing manufacturers such as Shapeways, the shop Cuni uses, make creating individual objects like the child-inspired figurines possible. Cunicode uses projects like Crayon Creatures to experiment with this relatively new capability.
"If you have a technology that allows you to make each piece different, there’s no point anymore to design a set design, to design something that is not going to change over time," he says.
Crayon Creatures stays true to the drawings it translates into 3-D. Cuni printed a drawing of three-legged elephant, for instance, without adding a fourth leg. His 4-year-old son wasn’t impressed by the result. "He was a bit like, you didn’t fix it," he says. "You made an elephant with three legs. It’s okay if I do it because I’m a kid."
Adults tend to be more excited about the imperfect figurines, which each cost 99 euros. Considering that breakable sandstone works better for art than for toys, that might be all right.