Building Material: Exploring Playfulness of 3D Printers

Stephanie de Smale


This article explores the practice of 3D printers from a playful perspective. Using the Ultimaker Original as a case study, it addresses the question of whether the practice of open source software and hardware in 3D printing is inherently playful and how the user affects and is affected by its playability. After examining the materiality of open source development and hacking processes in the Ultimaker Original, I will argue how playfulness of 3D printing stimulates hacking the 3D printer. From a broader perspective, the playful practice of 3D printing can be seen as part of a general development towards the ludification of culture.


Play, Playability, Playful Media, 3D Printing, Open Source Software, Open Source Hardware, Ludification, Hacking, Ludic culture

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Published by the Digital Games Research Association.