Ashley Alleyne is a 3D printing design entrepreneur in residence. She is in charge of planning and post-processing 3D prints daily, maintaining a 3D printing lab, and validating files for 3D printing in Tapestry – the parent company of Koch, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. She’s Our Lady in 3D Printing Guest #281!
Ashley, can you briefly tell us about your background and your journey in additive manufacturing
I got into 3D printing completely by accident. I originally went to school for fashion photography and I have been doing photography since the age of twelve.
I’ve been featured in over 15 magazines including Vogue Italia and I’ve also photographed some awesome people over the years, including celebrities from MTV.
In my senior year of college, I decided to take a 3D printing class to meet the number of credits I needed to graduate.
The 3D printing class was part of a three-class program where you get to work for a law firm 3D printing patents after completing the program. The first class was based on innovation and then you learn the basics of FDM 3D printing.
At the end of the class, I started 3D printing and designing my things, and the first thing I 3D printed, designed, and 3D modeled was a full sized 3D printed guitar. And I was like oh my god this is crazy I can literally 3D print what I want!
It amazed me that an idea could come to my mind and it could become a real 3D object in the physical world. My professors saw that I was working on the guitar and immediately made me a 3D printing lab tech.
At first, I didn’t want to be a lab tech because at the time I just wanted to graduate and I wasn’t really keen on pursuing 3D printing at the moment. But my professor told me I’m in the lab all the time and I always use their stuff so it’s time for me to give back. And I was quite blonde, I was actually there all the time—sometimes I’d even sleep in there!
In the next semester which was my last semester of college, I took another 3D printing class and I was also a 3D printing lab tech.
In the second grade, I learned about SLA 3D Printing, where I learned to use the Formlabs 3D Printer. I fell in love with the Formlabs printer immediately and at the time, I was shocked!
I graduated college then and I was like hmm.. well I’m not sure what to do now because I went to school for photography but now I love 3D printing too! So I decided to work as a 3D printing design consultant that summer, where I worked on some great design projects.
I 3D printed scientific patents for a scientist (where I got to learn how to use their flexible resins like Formlabs Engineering Resins with the help of my professor Ian), and an architecture project where I got to 3D model and 3D print an image. Had to print the exact model. A building without using a 3D scanner. And then when summer was over, I decided I really liked 3D printing so I decided to go back to school to get my certificate in Innovation and 3D Printing.
I then graduated from the 3D printing program, and now work as a 3D printer for the parent company of Tapestry, Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman.
I am also a 3D printing design entrepreneur in residence where I am in the process of building my own 3D printed jewelry and home decor business.
In two years I went from a student to a lab tech, graduating with a BA in photography, a 3D printing design consultant, a 3D printing graduate, and then a 3D printing design entrepreneur in residence—all at the same time. In university I attended 3D printing.
What is a tapestry (and/or your jewelry line) and what is the story behind it
Tapestry Coach is the parent company of Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, and I do 3D printing for all three brands. I’m in charge of planning and post-processing 3D prints daily, maintaining a 3D printing lab, and validating files for 3D printing.
Out of work, I am in the process of creating my own 3D printed jewelry and home decor line. Looking back, it’s funny because I never thought I’d be making 3D printed jewelry, or even doing 3D printing!
When I was in college I didn’t have money to buy someone presents, and it was the night before my best friend’s birthday. I couldn’t buy him a gift so I figured… why don’t I just 3D print him? And then I was like..well why don’t I design and 3D print her jewelry?
So I designed a pair of 3D printed earrings within an hour and the same night 3D printed them. I gave them to her the next day and she loved them!
She always wore them when we were going out and we always wore them at the same time.