In a recent video (below) I share how I often come up with new creations.

3D printing is a secret weapon (OK, not that secret) in making innovation easier.

A geared ball from Thingaverse - Kevin CaronFor the last few years, I’ve been 3D printing geared cubes and balls (right)  as an “entry level” item to sell at events. I change the designs, enlarge them, and otherwise make them distinctive, but the pieces are still designed by someone else and downloaded from one of my favorite sites, Thingaverse.

I always give credit where credit is due on the designs – just as I ask people who reproduce my work to do – but I’ve gotten tired of that design. And I prefer to offer my own designs.

This year I decided to create tops. I’ve always been interested in them, and that curiosity is great fuel for creation.

Like most things, the devil is in the details. As I mention in the video, I had to learn about balance, weight, spin and even launchers. I’ve made some tops in aluminum and copper, but most are 3D printed.

And I got a huge jump start because of 3D printing. I was able to download some designs from Thingaverse, spin them, play with them, and simply better understand best practices for tops.

Sure, I could have done all that with metal in my lathe or even carved wooden models, but being able to create in 3D-printed filament, even though a print can take many hours, has sped up the creation process immensely.

OK, enough talking – it’s time to get back to playing ….

Enjoy the video: