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November 13, 2015

Q&A with WertelOberfell

November 13, 2015

Q&A with Roberto Chaves | Lumitoro

November 13, 2015

What attracted you to collaborate with OtterBox on the #StradaFuturePros campaign?

It is an honour to have Lumitoro be selected as one of four companies to represent European professionals who are laying the groundwork for the future of their professions.

Just the idea of doing these short films showed me that OtterBox is a future looking company and one I would love collaborating with in regards to new product designs.

OtterBox is a huge and well-known brand, I was curious to see their plans with this series so wanted to be a part of the project. This way we could learn how they work and think, which would make for an interesting collaboration.

Tell us a little about how you came to work in your field of 3D printing?

It was after seeing a 3D printer at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics trade show in Los Angeles, around 1997-98, that I started thinking on how I could use this technology to produce many of my ideas. During that time I was working with real-time 3D graphics, rendering technology for product visualisation, and I had already started designing 3D models of some of my paper sketches that I wanted one day to produce and sell. But after seeing these printers I started thinking of what possibilities existed and a goal was set to one day be able to purchase a 3D printer (they were quite expensive back then).

Since that day I have followed the evolution of the technology, and then when I felt the technology had reached the right point, both for prototyping and for production, I invested in our first 3D printer (one that is no longer with us). And now I’m lucky to have three 3D printers in our studio helping bring my ideas to life.

What’s a typical working day for you and your team?

There is no real typical working day at Lumitoro. We could probably say that there are two parts to how we work. One is on a project basis, for planning and releasing each new collection. This has many stages, from pre-production, quality assurance, product photography, creating marketing material, working with our PR companies, social media, sales, trade shows, aerial filming and photography as well as speaking at events and more. There are never a shortage of ideas or things to do!

The other part is doing research on design ideas, new materials, 3D printing processes, planning launches for future collections. I already have ideas or prototypes for about 12 new collections in the pipe, so there are a lot of exciting things coming out in the future!

In between all of this, there are a lot of unexpected opportunities and collaborations that pop up. So we have to work in an agile way to be able to prioritise what is important from one day to the next.

All of these parts require their own different creative process, so it is not just the design process that is creative. It is not only about doing creative photography, but also being creative in how to do things with limited resources and time.

Our goal is to be sure everything we do is world class, to be able to beat the companies with large budgets both in quality and creativity. This is no small task to do! For example, doing a photo shoot of a product is not just about what idea we want to convey, we aim to do something unique and artistic in an efficient way, how to create world class images with a small team and small budget, but making it look like it is a huge mega budget production. So this requires another level of creativity!

 What excites you most right now about your field of 3D printing?

There is a lot of things going on, and people are very excited about the possibilities. It is quite trendy right now too! Many big and small companies are trying their best to create new better printers as well as materials, and as a few important patents have expired it makes it possible for companies to build upon these ideas and make them more affordable. I still see the 3D printing field being at its infancy in regards to what can and needs to be done for producing better quality, faster and at more affordable prices.

What interests me is both the focus on getting faster printing speeds (something that resin 3D printers are making some very interesting breakthroughs in) as well as the expansion of available materials, many new strong materials that can be used for end products as well as new elastic materials. Speed is important, as it will lower production cost, but also allow to speed up the designs process cycle. New materials that can be used for final production is also important.

 What’s the one item you couldn’t do your job without?

It is hard to pick just one item. But if I had to, then it would be a computer. Even if I often start a design idea on paper, I still need to create the final 3D model in a computer program. To this I would the of course add a 3D printer and a camera too! This trio of tools will get me very far.