What did you do before you came to Kaleidoscope?
I joined Kaleidoscope in December of 1998. I move to Chicago right after graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a degree in photography and sculpture. I started freelancing as an assistant for commercial photographers and filmmakers and eventually worked in Holography for a time making those tiny 3D images you see on your credit cards. We also processed miles of 3d holographic film capturing atoms smashing in the particle collider at Fermilab. They were in a race to find the twelfth quark, I think? I moved into architectural model making from there, where we were making incredibly beautiful skyscrapers models for many of the buildings that line our skyline today. That work led me back to photography as an assistant architectural photographer where we shot newly finished buildings as well as the scale models for architects and developers. When that work slowed I went back into fabrication, managing a shop that specialized in ad hero, tradeshow, museum and exhibit props.
Why did you choose to come to Kaleidoscope?
I knew of them before I applied for the job. The “Comp Shop”(pre Kaleidoscope days) was an early competitor of the prop house I worked for, and they were doing the same hero models I enjoyed making. I had a solid understanding of the hero model process and had a great network of industry freelancers for support. The transition was easy.
What have you been working on lately?
We’ve been making prototypes for package innovations. Appearance and semi-functional models which are made from all processes onboard, 3d Objet print, SLA, CNC machining and plastic thermoformed models
What has surprised you most about working here?
The dedication and support you get from everyone that works here. You’re never alone, from the top on down; everyone pitches in and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
3D printing is all the rage…where do you see it heading in the future?
The real rage is in the sales of small printers like the MakerBot and such. Basic 3D part printing that is affordable. It builds small objects quickly that you can hold in your hand. Helping us visualize our ideas for design, engineering and education.
On a larger scale 3d printing is changing the way we manufacture. Parts are made in plastic and metal, on demand, one at a time. Taking away the upfront cost of patterns, molds or shelved inventory. You can build complex shapes in one part operation, which typically would require several parts or process ops through conventional means. There’s also large savings in materials and part weight cost as compared to conventional metal casting processes. Some things like artificial implants, dental, prosthetics, aerospace parts are currently made that way. Large companies are investing, Rolls-Royce, Nasa, Ford, GE. Nike even produces some shoe soles with 3d printing.
3d printing also changes the geographic manufacturing base, as we know it. Print centers can be placed anywhere you need them. You order a replacement part online. “A-guy”, with a printer in any village of the world can print your part. All he needs is a machine, network and electricity. Oh, and the machine he has was assembled from parts made on a 3d printer.
What is the most unique model you’ve ever made for a client?
12 foot slice of stuffed crust pizza that stood on edge and was mounted to a trailer and towed to different marketing events. It also came with some creamy looking basketball size cheese balls that you shoot into its crust to win a prize. I love it when ideas get completely wacky.
What is different about the way you work compared to other model shops?
At times we may operate like one for some clients, but we are not a stand-alone job shop. Our shop is an extension of our design team and part of the Kaleidoscope creative process. Called the Innovation Lab a collection of several departments that encompass design, print services, color proofing, and structural prototyping. We collectively work on ideas and develop concepts together.
What are you looking forward to in the coming years?
My team is focusing on training this year. More cad drafting, machine and process training. I’m looking forward to expanding the shop team, technology, design integration and internal capabilities.
What are you proud of?
My team and the work we produce. Everyone works hard to find solutions, meet the deliverable and make beautiful products.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a model maker at Kaleidoscope?
Be yourself and focus on what you like to do. Learn everything you can about model making and your specialty niche if you have one. Learn about the design process, manufacturing and how things are made. Show us your best work and emphasize craftsmanship and the project build process.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Looking forward to lots more fun with the family and many miles of bicycle riding
Thanks for reading. The Kaleidoscope team is hiring for our office in Chicago.. You can see all of our current open jobs byclicking here, and please let us know what you think in the comments below.