In 2007 I read a novella by Bruce Sterling called Kiosk. The main character, Borislav, is a humble, limping man from a cold, Eastern European country who owns a street kiosk selling 3d printed tchotchkes. A young girl called Jovanica is a regular customer – returning day after day with her pocket-money to buy 3d printed barrettes, hair clips and scrunchies – she’s the trend setter of the area. She picks out the coolest hair toys and leads the next hair toy craze – with Borislav’s kiosk being the only supplier.
I could never get that story out of my head, and for the last fortnight I’ve been designing my own ‘hair toys’ – 3d printed hair clips for modification, alteration, customization and use. Now, 3d printing is easy in stories, but this design took me 16 iterative builds to perfect – it features 3 different plastic springs, a custom snap fastener, and a flexible grip for the hair. I am rather pleased with it – it’s utterly reliant on being printed in plastic – it relies on the mechanical properties of the PLA.
The only thing that makes me sad, is that another part of the story features the frenzied trading craze that springs up among the other kids for the scannable, 3d model cards that are fed to the fabber to choose the print, and I’ve been unable to make any enthusiastically dishonest and soviet-cheesy, sci-fi trading cards yet. In my head, it features green wireframes of the model, camera-flares, explosions, and exciting copy with barely discernible asterisks for disclaimers.
“Neo-Paris Style* Fashion Beauty Barrette!”
*No actual connection to Paris.
I’d love to be able to have a collection of 2d printed cards to hand out – looking like throwbacks to the Netrunner collectable card game, and featuring the QR code for the hair clip files on Thingiverse for people to scan. Any graphic designers out there want to channel 90’s cyberpunk for a chuckle? I could even spray paint some stenciled silver for special ‘shinies’!