by Mitchel Dumlao July 07, 2016

Our friends at have some incredible designers and we had the pleasure to interview one of our favorites, Zheng3.  
How were you introduced into 3D Printing?
Way back in the halycon days of 2012 I decided to purchase a 3d printer to use for prototyping unique game controllers for my day job as a coin-op video game designer, and before long I fell deep into the rabbit hole of hobbyist 3D printing and started sharing my designs at The Forge. (
Most of your designs seem to be influenced by the fantasy and mythology, what was the motivation behind your designs?
I mostly design things that twelve-year-old me would have found entertaining. You should see the stack of Dungeons and Dragons books that have been following me around since 1985. 
What is your fascination with Barbie?
Barbie provides an interesting design challenge for an independent designer. How does one take an iconic doll and create something new for it while remaining faithful to the product's rich history? Faire Play III ( is the latest and greatest in my series of Barbie-compatible armor and weapons playsets. 3D printing is a great way to extend the playability of existing toys with short production runs of quirky accessories that the big toy companies can't or won't undertake.
What kind of CAD software do you use?
Almost all of my work is done in Autodesk Maya.
What 3D Printer do you have at home and/or in your office?
Here at Zheng Labs ( we use a Type A Series 1 for most prints but we occasionally dust off the Replicator 1 for a quick print when the Series 1 is busy. 
What do you love most about 3D Printing technology?
We've seen some really exciting advances in enterprise-scale 3D printing over the last two or three years. Additive manufacturing will improve our lives in ways most of us will never see but will certainly experience. The 3D printed jet engine parts that are lighter and more fuel-efficient than their traditionally-manufactured forebears are, for lack of a better phrase, gob-smackingly ingenious.
If you didn't have 3D Printing available, what would you use to build your creations?
Fulfilling non-digital backer rewards for my most recent 3D printing Kickstarter (http:// has been a slow process; the Series 1 has been printing pretty much nonstop for over a month and I'm only juuuuust beginning to wrap up the process. In the future I think I'd like to explore doing some designs that can be manufactured with more traditional techniques like injection molding so that they can be distributed more quickly.
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my work! Be sure to check out the blog at and follow Zheng3 on Twitter and Instagram ( to get a sneak preview of what I'm working on next. SPOILER: It's a 3d printed robot parrot.

Mitchel Dumlao
Mitchel Dumlao


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