LEO the Maker Prince

LEO the Maker Prince

How can we convey the magic of 3D printing to children?


As apprentice to Smart Design alumna Carla Diana, my main role in the studio was assisting the development of her first book for a younger audience. Published by Make Media in 2013, "LEO the Maker Prince" is a children's book about 3D printing, exploring a fantasy world of objects and technology with a nod to Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It tells the story of an accountant's chance encounter with a friendly 3D-printing robot, who shows her the myriad possibilities of the technology.

Duration: 6 months

Outcome: A children's-book foray into the possibilities of 3D printing, from the mundane to the fantastic.

The small size of Carla Diana Studio (later Together We Make) meant that I had the opportunity to take part in many aspects of the development process. During the digital product development phase, I took part in ideation sessions, tested new 3D printing methods, and under Carla's management, I was given responsibility for developing the musical instruments and microgreens planter featured in the final book.

In working closely with both a home 3D printer and outsourcing with companies like Shapeways, I learned a host of best practices and machine repair techniques.

The bulk of the book's product development took place in a six-month period, exposing me to agile workflows and the experience of hiring and connecting multiple freelancers to bring a product together in a limited timeframe. Working with Carla also opened up a whole world of technology and Internet-fuelled optimism to me, which influenced the later design of the Breezefinder project.

You can find out more about "LEO the Maker Prince" here, or find it on Amazon.