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LEO the Maker Prince

LEO the Maker Prince

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

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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.