Sol Belén Colqui is a young enthusiast, passionate about self-learning and entrepreneurship. Her passion for knowledge has led her to train in the area of psychology, accounting, and programming. She met the world of additive manufacturing three years ago and since then she has perfected her 3D modeling and printing skills, investigating different tools, developments, and applications. She is the founder of #MujeresqueHacen, a makers space oriented only to women where projects are developed combining different specializations (art, robotics, design, clothing, 3D printing).
Sol, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
After finishing my studies in Economics and organizational management I specialized in accounting, then I started my degree in psychology. I met the 3d printing industry thanks to a meeting of a RepRap community that I attended out of curiosity.
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
My first approach to 3d printing was a keychain that was given to me, but the best experience was when I had my first 3d printer, I spent twenty minutes staring at a calibration cube.
Could you explain furthermore what Design.S3D is and the services that you are providing?
We provide design and modeling service, printing and training to companies. We have already worked for the police, the subway company and universities. Now, a large part of our work is about printing large scale pieces and complex designs, collaborating with designers, theater companies and artists.
How did you come to build the company?
Design.S3D was my second step in 3D printing, encouraging me to apply my knowledge and facilitate additive manufacturing to those who need it. This project allowed me to face new challenges and to know new technologies.
You are also Women in 3D Printing Buenos Aires ambassador. What can you tell us about Buenos Aires’s community?
Argentina has a collaborative community that is always willing to share their knowledge, support and help others. These months working as an ambassador for Wi3DP has allowed me to meet wonderful, intelligent and inspiring people.
As a community, we define ourselves as being enthusiastic and innovative. We share our experiences, projects and help each other.
Why did you decide to become a Women in 3D Printing ambassador?
I realized that female participation in forums or groups related to 3D printing was small, but not because there were no women working in the 3D printing industry, it was because their visibility was low and the groups did not provide the necessary support to make them feel included.
I understood that it was necessary to create a space for exchange and support for a community that is constantly growing. A place to share, learn new experiences
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
A few years ago the 3d printing was for me a very distant reality, like something that came out of a science fiction book. Today is my job and my hobby. I know how to fix a broken wire, assemble and disassemble my printers, change bearings and work with different materials but the most challenging thing was to create and work with #Mujeresquehacen.
#Mujeresquehacen is a project that summons women from any area that has a work project in mind and wants to materialize it with the help of 3d printing. Last year we did work with robotics, art and clothing projects.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
In this field, I have had many experiences, both good and bad, even sad. This work has allowed me to work with schools for blind people, printing “The Little Prince” characters for their reading workshops, being in direct contact with companies and entrepreneurs, projects and amazing people.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in 3D Printing?
Unfortunately, yes, when I bought my second printer the seller spoke to my partner and not to me, although I was the one who asked the questions. In my work, some clients ask to “talk to the owner” and they do not believe that it is me. It is a little bit stressful but it’s another proof that we must improve as a society and look for equality.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
I am working on a project together with a goldsmith colleague, we focus on innovative jewelry designs applying new technologies. We will also return to the usual activities of #Mujeresquehacen with an annual project proposal that will bring together art, design and 3d printing.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I believe that there are three fundamental areas that will be the great future of the 3d printing, or at least they will give much to talk about: Medicine and printed organs, the use in the construction of houses in less time and cost, and, what for me is the most amazing use, 3D printing in Zero-G.
Three-dimensional printing offers a fast and inexpensive way to manufacture parts on-site and on-demand, a huge benefit to long-term missions with restrictions on weight and room for change. In future missions of NASA, already announced, we will have many news about this technology and its uses.
3D Printing has shown that your application has no limits, you can design and materialize something that is in your mind in a matter of minutes and that is something really fantastic.
What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?
I believe that we are in a stage of many developments of new uses and technologies. Bioprinting of cells to produce tissues, tendons, and organs. Another would be metal 3D printing, the ability to use metal in commercialized 3D printing opens up the industry to a wider audience.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?
Something I love is constant learning and 3d printing provides that. It is an industry in constant development, with new applications, improvements, and models. As I said before, 3d printing has no limits and that allows you to connect with new knowledge.
The applications of additive manufacturing are not only for commercial benefit, aid in community causes, education, research, and many other fields.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
Today we are in a transition stage where the FDM technology became popular and many believe that it can be a commercial alternative, but we are also understanding the new technologies and their uses.
Luckily we are a community with many experienced members who work day by day improving their work, their projects and helping others I think it’s wonderful to be part of this industry, to see how the community grows and how we all strive to improve every day. I’m excited to see what’s coming in the future for 3d printing.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
At least, in Argentina, I feel it is an immense opportunity that can not be missed. There are so many young girls with so much potential and, as I said before, 3D printing has so many uses that anyone can use it. I think a good option would be to offer workshops for all ages, visit schools and give talks about this technology, and not only about 3D printing but also about design, increase the emphasis on CAD skills at a young age would be a big change.
Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)?
Tinkercad and Simplify 3D
Favorite moment in your day job?
When the filament order arrives. It feels like it was my birthday
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?
An SLA or DLP printer and many new filaments as conductive or carbon fiber, I love trying new materials
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?
Mariel Lluch and Melisa Baldi, they do an incredible job modeling, printing and postprocessing in WIP3D