Like any tool, 3D printers can’t magically produce the thing you want on its own. You have to provide detailed instructions to the machine in the form of a 3D model, which of course requires training and studying to master. But drawing a sketch is something that pretty much anyone can do. So Tangible Solutions came up with Pango, a service that will turn sketches into 3D models.
To use Pango, you first have to get a special sketchbook that Tangible Solutions calls the Inventor’s Notebook. You’ll use the notebook to first make a rough sketch of your model, then draw more detailed and multi-perspective illustrations and finally a write a brief description of what you want to make.
You’ll then use a mobile app to take a picture of your sketches, drawings and description and send those pictures to Tangible Solutions. They will then send back a 3D model based on your input. As shown in the topmost image, the app shows you the 3D model using augmented reality. When you receive your 3D model, you can point your mobile device over your sketches and the 3D model will pop out on the screen directly over your sketches. It’s a great way to show how your two-dimensional drawings were translated into 3D.
After you’ve seen your 3D model, you can send additional input to Tangible Solutions and have them tweak the model if you want. If you’re happy with what you saw the company can print the model and ship the 3D printed object to you.
Pledge at least $99 (USD) on Kickstarter to receive the Inventor’s Notebook and have access to the augmented reality feature when the service goes live. As someone who doesn’t know how to use 3D modeling software I don’t want to dismiss Pango off the bat. I’m just not sure if this is the most elegant or convenient way for folks like me to take advantage of 3D printing. First of all, while your initial sketch may be rough, you’ll still have to make a good final drawing, otherwise you might spend a lot of time going back and forth with Tangible Solutions discussing your concept. I’m not sure the kids in the video could have gone through the steps on their own. Also, I think Pango is for people who want to make 3D models or 3D printed objects occasionally. If 3D printing is essential you to your business or hobby, you might be better off learning how to make 3D models or at least hiring a 3D modeler directly. Finally, I hope Tangible Solutions will give their customers a way to export their 3D models so that they can have it printed somewhere else.