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3D Printing an Apple Watch

When the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were announced the first question in my mind was, “Just how big are these phones going to be?” I could look up the specs, sure. But that wouldn’t give me a idea of what it would be like to hold one.

I eventually discovered the paper templates created by Ars Technica, printed them out, and mounted them on cardboard. Holding them in my hand, I finally had a real sense for how big the new phones would be. And, more importantly, it helped me understand how they would impact the UI in our apps. As designers and developers it’s important we find ways to anticipate design considerations ahead of time, rather than simply reacting at launch.

With that in mind, I knew I wanted find a way to visualize the physical size of the Apple Watch. But rather than reply on paper mockups, I decided to do one better and print a 3D model of the 42mm Apple Watch.

I put the latest addition to the TWG Labs space, a Tinkerine DittoPro 3D Printer, to work.

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It isn’t perfect. I’m sure the scale is off here and there. But it doesn’t matter. It’s close enough that I can hold it up to my wrist and remind myself that these things are really damn small. And whether I’m designing icons or creating the UI for a WatchKit app, anything that allows me to visualize my work in a physical way is helpful.

If you have access to a 3D printer, I highly recommend taking advantage of it. Print yourself an Apple Watch.

Here’s two models to consider if you’re looking for something pre-made:

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