Interview: Tinkering with 3D Printing – Moon Soon Ping
‘Colourful jewellery with Soon Ping almost done setting up her stall
Mong Soon Ping is the creator and owner of Tinkerwerx, the brand behind many of the cool 3D printed jewellery in Singapore. Her most popular designs are her Singapore-themed jewellery collection, which is currently sold at ArtScience Museum.
As a local artist, she sells her fashion accessories online and in many pop-up stores. Her designs resemble the everyday simplicity, innocence and fond remembrance.
Tell us a bit about yourself
A cross between Leo and Virgo. I’m usually calm and collected, but also passionate enough to see through a project from start to finish.
What is your background?
I graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Arts and NTU with Master of Science in Information Studies. I’ve worked as an IT professional in various MNCs for close to 18 years. I also studied jewellery design at JDMIS.
Before you started on 3D printing, did you paint, sculpt or assemble DIY toys?
As a kid, I used to draw comics and create storyboards.
How did you get into 3D printing?
When I left my corporate job two years ago due to retrenchment exercise, I was in two-minds about looking for another job or to start my own venture. I thought of what I can do to create something that is truly unique and yet be able to sell it. While exploring various options, I stumbled upon 3D printing and took a two-day course on 3D Printing at Choa Chu Kang Community Club in 2016. It was taught by Mr Keegan Teo who introduced me to 3D modelling software for beginners. Then I took another course on 3D Printing for Rapid Product Development at NTU Singapore Centre for 3D Printing. It broadened my perspective on the many possibilities of what we can do with 3D printing – one of which is to design and create customisable fashion accessories and jewellery.
What were your first 3D printing projects and were they successful?
My first experiment was a silver ring designed using TinkerCAD and manufactured by iMaterialise which, at that time, had a printing facility under UCT in Singapore. The ring did not fit well as I did not do proper measurements but I began to appreciate the need for precision in jewellery design and to follow specific design guidelines when it comes to 3D printing.
Who/what are your inspirations?
I get my inspirations from interesting geometric shapes, motifs, graphics that are somewhat related to life science and nature. I also admire designs that are clean, minimalist yet able to make a deep impression or convey a powerful message.
Tell us more about the software and hardware you use in your projects (if any).
I use 3D modelling software from Autodesk and I outsource the manufacturing to 3D printing companies. I complete the pieces by attaching findings (e.g. earring hooks, necklace chains) to make the finished products.
Were there ever times you were frustrated with the results of your 3D designing/printing effort? Ever felt like quitting it?
Some of my prints were less than satisfactory as I had misjudged the proportions which were more of a design issue. Sometimes, a product did not turn out well with the kind of material that I had ordered to be made. All these were part of my learning process.
What was your most satisfying moment in 3D printing?
I was invited by Shophouse & Co. to showcase my 3D designed fashion accessories at Funan Showsuite as part of the Singapore Design Week 2018. I was pleased to see that visitors appreciated my designs and were genuinely interested and impressed when they knew the pieces were created using 3D printing technologies.
Do you have a favourite piece you created?
The Dolphin necklace pendant! It was my first design under the Marine Life Collection, which also comprises of the Coral Rock earrings, the Terrapin and the Seahorse necklace pendant. I had positive feedback on the dolphin pendant which helped to spur me on to create the rest of the collection. I was convinced that advanced 3D printing technology and skilled professional craftsmanship are a great combination to creating intricate jewellery.
Do you find a demand for your works, since it’s so new that almost no one in Singapore ever did it before?
Actually, jewellery companies have already started using 3D printing technologies for quite a while and I personally know some independent designers who are using 3D printing technologies to create wearable fashion products. 3D printing is particularly suited for customisation of a single piece or small-quantity production without incurring high costs. I believe there is a growing demand for customised jewellery as consumers are increasingly looking for unique designs that they can call their own.
What is your latest project?
I am working on a collaboration with a cafe in Singapore to produce an exclusive range of necklace pendants incorporating the cafe’s brand name and its well-known signature characters.
What are your personal goals?
My personal goal is to grow Tinkerwerx into a well-known, innovative brand that leverages on 3D design and printing technologies.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a 3DP designer?
Try out various 3D modelling software and choose one or two that you will specialise in. Work out each design taking into consideration the 3D printing guidelines and product specifications. Continuously improve by asking for feedback on your design and learn from other experts either from books or social media, or take a course or join a community that share useful knowledge on 3D printing. Most of all, enjoy and be proud of what you do.
Metal-plated pendants (rhodium, rose gold, yellow gold) with silver as the base,
as well as colourful Nylon ear rings
Soon Ping’s fashion accessories are for sale on Ginkgo3D or at FabCafe @ArtScience Museum!
KS is Ginkgo3D’s PR guy, and part-time writes for Teatime. He is a caffeine addict and enjoys cycling. He thinks every country should grow more trees and one day people should all cycle to work, but he knows probably that ain’t gonna happen because the weather will get too hot, that we will all live underground and commute by speed trains controlled by AI. Or probably people don’t have to commute anymore when we can report to work in AR.
And oh BTW, share this article or buy some cool 3D printed stuff here k. If you don’t, we will starve to death, and can no longer write cool articles for you anymore.