Just a couple blocks west of Mill Creek Park — the center of recent Black Lives Matter protests near the Country Club Plaza — 3DHQ hopes youth tech outreach now can build a more inclusive future for creative problem solvers in Kansas City’s Black and urban communities, said Fabian Conde.
“We want to be more intentional about our Black Lives Matter commitment and our partnership with Urban TEC gives us that opportunity to take direct action and invest in the next generation by teaching them 3D technology skills,” said Conde, co-founder and CEO of 3DHQ, which launched in Kansas City as Doob in 2018.
A workshop Friday with Urban TEC — a nonprofit digital literacy education organization led by Ina P. Montgomery that provides tech and soft skills training for future technology careers — sought to introduce and engage a new generation of creators to 3D technology.
Click here to learn more about 3DHQ, which specializes in rapid prototyping and 3D-printed miniature statues.
By focusing on the potential for 3D printing to overcome a wide variety of challenges facing humanity — from use cases in apparel, artificial organs and even mid-trip production of items while journeying through space — Conde hoped to inspire young people with the opportunities that await in the industry.
“3D printing is just a tool that allows us to do cooler things,” he told students at Friday’s workshop, acknowledging a steep learning curve that ultimately creates an even better outcome. Conde specifically described 3DHQ’s own effort to craft a 3D-printed mask — modeled by staff Friday at the Plaza shop — that met the needs of the pandemic era.
It didn’t come easily, he said.
“You have to get all that stuff out of the way. It’s OK to make mistakes — as long as you use it as a lesson,” Conde said. “Then you’re solving two problems at the same time.”
“Are you starting to see how you can make a difference with your ideas?” he continued.
3DHQ recently designed and is now selling a Black Lives Matter keychain, proceeds from which go to support Urban TEC.
“We are excited about this partnership and the funds that will go toward Urban TEC’s STEAM in the Streets program. It will be an opportunity for us to deliver our STEAM activities to different neighborhoods throughout greater Kansas City,” said Montgomery, founder and executive director of Urban TEC.
Click here to learn more about Urban TEC.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.