The yin-yang Chinese symbol represents a perfect balance between two opposites. However, those opposites are interrelated to one another like a marriage. Each person is meant to complement the other that allows them to work together as one. Tim and Bridget Ayres are a husband and wife duo who enjoys working together as a 3D printing team. Married for over 11 years, the couple uses their talents to create and design unique 3D prints for the enjoyment of others. Tim and Bridget are a tag team that puts their spin on each project that they undertake. As a mechanical engineer who is technically minded, Tim “keeps complex machines running smoothly, and streamlines many of the processes, writes scripts, and adds automation where possible,” he said. Once he’s finished with one half of the project, Bridget, who is the creative artist, adds the final touch through “product development and creative exploration on finishing techniques”. “It’s a great pairing,” Bridget said. Although they’ve been interested in 3D printing since the 80’s when it first came out, their passion for 3D printing wasn’t apparent until 2014, when they purchased their first printer. “Once we had our hands on the technology, we became obsessed. A bit delirious really. We dived right into the deep end to learn all we could about 3D printing, 3D editing and modeling, and 3D scanning,” Bridget said. Ever since then, they’ve never looked back. A year later, they opened a 3D printing company called 3DLirious in June of 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Specializing in 3D scanning and making full color portraits, they customize products like “bobbleheads, dolls, Lego-compatible heads, and figurines of various lengths (including full length, half length, and busts),” they said. What sets them apart from other companies, is their ability to design and print in full color. “This is definitely a different skillset from using a typical fused deposition modeling (FDM) or fused filament fabrication (FFF) desktop 3D printer. That is why capturing a good full color scan is a crucial first step. We can spend quite some time on a model ensuring that its colors are clear, crisp and will print well,” Bridget said. Their models are so “unique” that customers who walk into their showroom are amazed by their creations. Seeing the look of wonder on their faces “is the best feeling in the world,” they said. The creations are meant to be memorable for their customers to cherish which is why they’ve made their models to not only be well made, but also long lasting. The inspiration behind their creations comes from visiting museums that have historical artifacts and sculptures. As avid contributors and beneficiaries of the MyMiniFactory’s Scan the World cultural heritage project, they’ve contributed over 120 scans from four different countries. One of their favorite and well received models was their 3D printed replica of a 2,300 year old red-figure Greek epichysis vase.
“The 3D print turned out so well that MyMiniFactory took the picture down temporarily because they thought that it was a render rather than a 3D print,” Bridget said. To produce this vase, they used a binder jet printer and “infiltrated with epoxy to hide all the layered lines before adding a matte coat at the end,” she explained. This method has been used on their bobbleheads, which have created stunning results that “are nothing that we’ve ever designed”. Some museums “would have been threatened by our ability to create duplicate objects and try to keep 3D models out of the public domain,” Bridget said. However, the museum that the vase is displayed at called the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse, France enjoys it.
This project “couldn’t have gone any better!” Bridget exclaimed. Having “new products in the development pipeline all the time”, what makes their creations so special is the joy that 3D printing gives Tim and Bridget. The happy couple brings their love for each other into their 3D printing creations and utilizes their strengths to each task that they undertake. Fawn Weaver, a business woman and author once said, “The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” See Tim and Bridget Ayres’ creations here.