Interview with Jacopo Lazzaro: PlayCast

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Jacopo Lazzaro – Architect since 2012. Startups founder with a focus on 3D scanning and 3D data interpretation and design. He has been a freelance designer, web designer, and graphic designer. Teacher of 3D modeling, 3D making, and occasional developer. In 2014 he designed his first 3D printed cast and patented several ideas related to the 3D world among which PlayCast instantaneous 3D scanner. Today CEO and technical director and proud father of two little girls (and a cat). Jacopo will be speaking at the upcoming 3DHEALS virtual event focusing on 3D printing O&P.

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When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?

Jacopo: About ten years ago I fell in love with the wood-made Makerbot Replicator that we bought for the studio. We really didn’t know why we bought it, but to us, it seemed like something that we needed to have. It was new, and we saw it had a lot of potential, but we had to understand how to use it. I was the ‘tinkerer’ and so it was my mission to make it work. The person who sold it said that it would be easy because “it comes pre-assembled”: it was more of an epic journey than a plug-and-play experience, but this helped us understand a lot of the magic that was taking place in front of us.

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What inspired you to start your journey?

Jacopo: After many insults, injuries, damages, updates, upgrades and a lot of hours and material wasted only to print objects that can be made with molds, I thought that this ‘superpower’ had to be used for something really worthwhile: the uniqueness of the piece.  I had experience in 3D scanning and the connection in my mind (and only there) was easy: made-to-measure items. In fact, this was the way, the superpower of 3D printing was unleashed because made-to-measure cannot be industrialized. You need artisans that tailor to your shapes, but 3D printing has a computer as a tailor and you can control a computer and make apps that can industrialize the whole process. For me, this was mind-blowing and the beginning of PlayCast.

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Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?

Jacopo: Definitely the Internet community, a community of inventors, engineers, and developers. It supported me, but also inspired me and gave me the tenacity to see the project through; Seeing them continuously developing their own projects, finding solutions and their sheer determination to succeed, really helped me believe that we could unlock it too.  

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What motivates you the most for your work?

Jacopo: The people around me, most of all, family and colleagues. They raise the bar every day and together we push ourselves to new limits. Also when you see that with your work you are improving the lives of people or you are at least making them suffer less, it’s easy to understand why you are going to the office every day.

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What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?

Jacopo: Ideas run fast compared to a company’s timing and realization. And ideas run really really fast compared to bureaucracy. The only solution that I’ve found is to work with extremely good collaborators as this makes ideas run even faster. A real healthy touch!

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What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Jacopo: I believe some of the biggest challenges are speed, reliability, automatization, and being nature-friendly.

In terms of overcoming them? 

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Speed: we are all clear on some of the limitations of the printer’s speed. So till we find some other way of producing, the only option is to optimize, optimize everything, designs, and the printer themselves. This is a continuous process.

Reliability of printings: no more waste, and well-made machines made to last.

Automatization: hand in hand with speed, we need to unleash technology for everyone. Geek? Advanced mode, please.

Being nature-friendly: we want to invent for the future, but to start we have to ensure there will be one. 

Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials is a good starting point.

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If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?

Jacopo: Does asking for infinite wishes count?

Let me be (more) serious :

  • To become the higher being and make everyone happy;
  • Make what John Lennon said in the song “Imagine” real, not only imagined;
  • Free yourself Genie (or higher being)!
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What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?

Jacopo: Be happy and don’t lose the only thing that you cannot buy: time.

Ignore “you can’t do it” and who said it.

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