I had the pleasure of 3D-printing some early prototypes for my friend Wayne Losey back when he was in the early stages of developing ModiBot. It may well have been the first “real” thing I printed on my MakerBot Thing-o-Matic. (3D printer operators know what I mean by “real”; someone is always asking us “it’s cool, but have you printed anything real on it?”)
The results weren’t exactly what we’d hoped (to be honest, I had a long way to go before I’d really understand how to get great results out of my printer), but they told Wayne just what he needed to know: with some refinement, 3D printing was going to work for him.
This morning, I learned that another friend of mine (New England sure is a small place!), Joseph Flaherty, had written a great piece about Wayne’s ModiBot for Wired Design, Print-to-Order Service Helps 3-D Designer Revive Forgotten Figurines:
Losey worked for Hasbro and Kenner for 13 years, leading design and sculpting teams on a laundry list of licensed projects — G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Superman, Batman, Jurassic Park, Spiderman, and Pokemon… Financially successful as those products were, Losey was thrilled to have the chance to work on a series of freeform creative toys, Stikfas and Xevoz.
Years passed and Losey went on to set up his own toy design firm. Undaunted by past failures, he wanted to revisit the idea of extensible action figures, while also refreshing his CAD skills. He started tinkering at his hackerspace, opened an account at the on-demand 3-D printing service provider Shapeways, and reanimated the concept with a project called ModiBot.
Photo credit: Wayne Losey