In today’s technological world, ideas leap from our minds to our fingers to a virtual world. Today, I saw how ideas materialize from the virtual world into Santa’s magical bag of toys. We used to call it magic. Today we call it technology, but it is still pretty heady stuff.

     The whole process is a bit spectral, weaving ideas into streams of energy in organized patterns to create a simulacrum of immaterial thoughts in a virtual landscape. We view the digital world through a glass window which has evolved in each generation from the crystal ball. Whether incanting in Maya, 3Ds Max, Blender, SketchUp or CAD digital artists can sit at an Autodesk and mix up some metaphors with a wave of a ZBrush and magically a wisp of an idea takes shape. I was in my comfort zone here, as my instructors at college have done a fairly good job of training me in the digital arts, making me a bold freelancer in the realm of imagination wrangling.

     Now, my jaw dropped again in childlike wonder as a master of the realm snatched an idea out of the ethereal Thingiverse and sent it to his printer, which printed it layer by later before my eyes into a real 3D object. I am still amazed at this Euclidian thaumaturgy. Actual multipart projects can be built in one print. I held in my hands a box, which I twisted to open, and there was a ball inside, that had been imagineered and snatched from thin air then printed in one trick of conjuring.

     You doubt? As did I, which is why I have pictures.


     This tiny model was then printed again, larger, and while I gaped at the wonder of it all, the owner of this marvelous machine told me how simple it was from his point of view. They are employed in the process of redesigning their magic portal and using it to build a successor.


     The elves probably use something like this to design and test new toys. Being allowed to choose a goody from the bag, I selected a small part from one of the next incarnations of their 3D printer. It is inspiring to see that the new designs will be even better. This will definitely be on Santa’s wish list.



Link to Make Magazine:

Link to Thingiverse:


One thought on “Santa’s Magical Workshop

  1. For me, it comes down to thingiverse has been too heavy hadned in how they handle their community. They like to take unilateral action without considering the consequences it will have on the community they are trying to build around the site. In the end, that’s what’s going to kill them.They don’t have the quality (as noted already) to be a curated site, and they don’t have the openness to really facilitate a good community. That leaves a mediocre product ripe for being picked off by sites that do either (or both) of those things well. The hacker community isn’t one to stick around a product for it’s momentum these are the people who habitually adopt the new.

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