After a ton of failed prints, annoyed workers, and wasted filament, I managed to 3D print a single phone case.
This semester, I enrolled in an entrepreneurship class about startups. Our project was to make a startup by selling our own product or service. I thought the idea was cool, but with no materials and limited time, students ended up selling to their friends for an easy A. I thought if I were trying to make a product out of nothing, why not use 3D printing?
I found a way to 3D print for free using the Design Lab at UM. Since phone cases seemed like a simple 3D print, my idea was to sell custom phone cases to students. I looked up dimensions but only found the overall length, width, and height. To get the dimensions and coordinates of the buttons and camera, I imported images to CAD and traced any unknowns. I had high hopes, but my first print failed. Then my second print failed, etc., etc.
Printing at the Design Lab was a series of failures and lessons. Each time a print failed, I learned something new. I learned sometimes it was better to 3D print a model vertical, even though people always say to lay flat. I learned not to use too much support. I learned tricks in CAD for a more accurate model. For me, the Design Lab was a place I could learn and try our new ideas. I want my phone case startup to embody this same creativity. Even though I finally got a working print, I still have a ton of ideas for customizability, aesthetic, and durability of 3D printed phone cases. I’m excited to continue learning and creating from the design lab for my phone case startup CAS3D!