April 7, 2015

The Green State

In 3D printing processes like Stainless Steel and Ceramics, there is a Green State during the production process. During this part, the model is very brittle and fragile. The part needs to be dug out of its powder bed before put into the kiln. Because there is force coming from the air gun, brushes, and general handling, the more fragile models often break in this stage. Eventually, the parts are baked in a kiln and hardens, which strengthens the final product you receive.

When introducing designers to 3D printing, I found it helpful start by explaining this process. Though they may not have years and years of engineering training, we all have practice experience with physics to know how things break under pressure. Understanding the manufacturing process is key to understanding design.

Of course, this goes beyond just 3D printing. Understanding people requires us to understand their thought process. Understanding how companies requires us to understanding how organizational processes work. Even more than understanding, we need to identify these Green State(s), and then either design around or directly address those states.

But alas, how people think and how companies work are more complex than manufacturing processes. And manufacturing processes are already mighty complex. I suppose that’s what makes things interesting. And frustrating. Mostly interesting. 70/30.