Another Unique Product Created by 3D Printing: The World’s Tiniest Drill!
The still Unfinished Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona is Assisted by 3D Printing!
Construction of the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona began in 1882 and the building is still unfinished. It was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi but by the time of his death in 1926, it was only one quarter complete.
Fascinating Fractals Replicated To The Finest Detail
Fractals are curves or geometric figures made up of parts which have the same statistical character as the whole. They are mysteriously found in nature as are they in many man-made formations and objects. For one man, named Jérémie Brunet, fractals have always been fascinating.
“Fractals have fascinated me since the 80s when I was a teenager,” Brunet tells 3DPrint.com. “My father offered me a book entitled ‘The beauty of fractals’ which I still cherish to this day. I used to program fractals on my early computers and draw them by hand. About 5 years ago, a new generation of 3D fractals emerged from a collaborative work onfractalforums.com and I became hooked again.”
One day, Brunet stumbled upon Shapeways and immediately it became evident that he had to “give physical substance to these strange mathematical creatures.”
“I like to push the boundaries of fractal art, and 3D printing was the perfect technology to that end,” Brunet explains. “To me, they are a way to visualise the beauty of nature, the elegant laws of the universe and the emergence of complexity through simple rules and fundamental ingredients. Today, creating 3D printed fractals still represents many challenges, as these objects bear infinite details by definition, but my passion is to keep on pushing the limits in the 3D fractals domain.”
Currently Brunet has about a hundred different fractals available for various prices on his Shapeways shop. Some are priced at under $10, while others are hundreds of dollars. They range from large plastic 3D prints to smaller pieces of jewelry made of precious metals like gold, silver, and bronze. Brunet relies on Shapeways, opting not to print his designs on desktop FFF-based 3D printers, simply for the fact that those machines can’t provide him with the intricate details needed.
“I like to try all the possible colours and materials at my disposal,” he tells us. “I’m sure that one day, affordable and fine resolution metal desktop 3D printers will be available, then I’ll probably invest.”
As for designing his individual fractals, they require a lot of hard work and time. The workflow is complex, involving the exportation of voxel stacks fromMandelbulb3D, which is a freeware fractal generator. The stacks are then combined into a triangle mesh in a process referred to as a “marching cubes” algorithm, and then they are post-processed and optimized in Meshlab. Recently Brunet has begun using another software package called Incendia EX, which provides a special feature that allows exporting directly to STL files.
Brunet tells us that, while he sells quite a few of his fractals on Shapeways, he really has spent more on buying them himself than he has earned through sales. He hopes to break even one of these days, perhaps this year or next. Regardless, his 3D printed fractals are gaining him quite a bit of attention.
“Most recently, one of my sculptures has been shown at the Brown Symposium at Southwestern University in Texas as part of an art exhibit dedicated to 3D printing called ‘What Things May Come‘. Even if this is just a hobby, my next large scale project in 3D printing is to collaborate on the build of a massive 3D printed fractal temple for the Burning Man festival in Nevada, hopefully in 2017. Stay tuned!”
Even though I don’t have an interest in mathematics, like Brunet does, I certainly have an appreciation for the designs that he has created. I may just end up buying a few of his incredible fractals for myself. What do you think about Brunet’s fractals? Have you purchased any yourself? Discuss in the 3D Printed Fractals forum thread on 3DPB.com. Also be sure to check out Brunet’s YouTube channel, as well as some additional photos below.
Say Goodbye To Old-Fashioned Dentures!
The Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer is a lot bigger than the consumer-friendly desktop models sold by companies like MakerBot. But with 16-micron accuracy and a triple-jet system that lets it produce dental models with realistic looking gums, bones, nerves, and teeth, it’s designed for use in dental and orthodontic offices that need to be able to test dental appliances without having access to the actual patient.
The material used to 3D print the gingiva—or gums as they’re more commonly known—is even soft and pliable like the real thing which allows implants, bridges, and crowns to be tested and refined to ensure they won’t actually damage a patient’s real tissue when eventually installed.Given the current limitations of 3D printing the new machine can’t actually be used to create a false set of teeth for a patient to wear, but given how realistic these models look that doesn’t seem like it would be too far off.
We’re proud to announce that our partners and friends at Steampunk Wizards have had their ultra successful gaming App Bungee Mummy featured on SWAG, Malta’s Online Men’s Magazine!
The high-production value is evident as soon as the title screen loads up. Greeted by the stars of the game, King Phero and Madu, players will instantly notice the sharp visuals and crisp sound booming out of their tablets/mobiles.
Gameplay is focused on maneuvering Phero, a small mummy shaped like a football, across various landscapes. Wielding a lantern, the green bat-like creature Madu will guide you along your journey as you collect golden scarabs and unlock a variety of powers ups.
Execute your movements carefully, or you may end up victim to a swinging axe, burnt to a crisp by a flaming booby trap or wind up as snake food. For every problem, there’s a solution, and players can’t simply breeze through levels.
Controls are responsive, and the physics are excellent. Generally, you’ll swing around by shooting out up to 3 bandages in a Spider-man like fashion to propel yourself over any obstacles. Should you need to move a box onto a lever to solve a puzzle, you’ll have to attach yourself onto a nearby ledge, hook yourself up to the box and swing it into the desired direction.
The game does a good job of showing you the ropes in the early stages, with simple instructions that you’ll internalize quickly. Once you get the hang of it, moving Phero around becomes second nature.
However, even with full-mastery of the controls, launching Phero onto the right spot can still be tricky, and you’ll often find yourself stopping for a second to figure out how to solve a puzzle.
As you swiftly cascade from one ledge onto another, dodging enemy slugs, scorpions and sharp spikes, you may not notice the fine amount of detail injected into the game. Character models are superb, backgrounds are impressive and even the faint sound of crumbling ledges are pleasing to the ear.
Catapult Phero into the distance and he’ll let out a worried scream, and he’ll even whimper as he lands. The game’s music is enthralling, and plays to the context well. During a boss battle for example, the fast-paced music is exchanged for a down-tempo, ominous track which adds a nice touch of tension.
The difficulty is well-balanced, so both casual and hardcore gamers should be satisfied. With a number of secrets and extras to unlock, it’s also got its fair share of replay value.
Rarely, I experienced a slow frame-rate on my tablet, and I found myself occasionally getting stuck between a box and a wall, powerless to escape. Luckily, the Steampunk Wizards are on top of the situation, and they’ve already released one major update to the game. Besides those minor issues there isn’t too much to complain about, except the annoying advertisements popping up every so often. However, it’s a worthy sacrifice to make for a great game, and you can always buy the ad-free version for just €1.99.
Besides the addictive gameplay, Bungee Mummy is one of the first games to provide players with tangible rewards, in the form of 3D printable prizes. Steampunk Wizards teamed up with another local boundary breaking company, Malta 3D Printing. The collaboration between the two has resulted in some terrific models being printed. Players can select to print the protagonist King Phero and his green buddy Madu, amongst others.
The 5 Maltese men, 1 Belgian and 1 Briton were rewarded with a top 3 spot in the local gaming charts. Furthermore, it’s also only one spot away from the mega-popular Candy Crush in the Maltese App Store Charts. To top it all off, tens of thousands of users have downloaded the game via Google Play.
SWAG is proud to say this game was developed by a Maltese company. One long and arduous year of blood sweat and tears were poured into this project, and developers are now reaping the rewards.
The sky is the limit for the Steampunk Wizards, who are looking to go from strength to strength. Hopefully, this groundbreaking achievement will only serve to inspire other local developers to follow suit.
Download Bungee Mummy for free from www.bungeemummy.com/download.
Bentley Making Use of 3D Printing Technology: Manufacturing Door Handles, Exhaust Ports & Front Grilles
Some details which most people might miss show the attention paid to the design of the car. Have a look at the cut of the door panel which shows how the aluminum structure was wrapped with leather and the precise fit of the digitally sculpted wooden inner panel.
Bentley is saying the EXP 10 Speed 6 could influence a new model at most as well as offer styling direction for future vehicles in the rest of the line. It is a gorgeous looking car melding the familiar with something futuristic.
Our *File of the Week* Selection is a Saint Patrick’s Day Themed Set of Glasses!
An Eye-Opening Article about 3D Printed Prosthetics & Their Restrictions
Jack Reidy just turned 10 last month. He’s an athletic kid—in the winter he plays hockey a few times a week, and in the summer he pitches on his baseball team. His style is a little unorthodox though. When he’s pitching, after he releases the ball, he switches his glove onto his throwing hand. And on the rink, he holds the stick against his body on his left side, rather than in his hand. That’s because Jack was born with a partial left hand, with a palm but without fully formed fingers.
Despite that, Jack’s father, James, said that his son never really asked for a prosthetic. “We never brought it up, we’ve just treated him as any normal kid.”
It wasn’t until last year, when Jack saw a picture of a 3D printed hand in Parademagazine, that he even considered it. “His first thought was holding a baseball bat, and that was Jack’s first time in showing any interest in any type of prosthetics.”
The Reidys had been working with a prosthetist named Jeff Erenstone to help develop a special hockey glove, and it turned out that Erenstone was also involved in a group of volunteers who print plastic hands.
Eventually Jack was matched with a volunteer in Michigan named Bruce Chaput, who offered to print him a hand (a model called the Raptor). James remembers it all being quite foreign to him. “He sent us a picture of the printer. It looked funky; I thought it was some old age kind of thing. Obviously it’s not.”
Chaput and Jack spent a lot of time talking about what colors he wanted his hand to be. “We spent way more time talking about the colors and the hand and whatnot than actually printing it,” Chaput said, laughing. Jack picked orange and black, the colors of the high school where his dad coaches hockey.
On Christmas Day, the hand arrived at Erenstone’s office. But it wasn’t exactly a Christmas miracle. When Erenstone opened the box, he immediately noticed a long crack in the hand. And when he picked it up things got worse. “It literally crumbled in my hand,” he said.
Recently there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the promise of 3D printed limbs. Everywhere from The New York Times to Popular Science to the Today Show has run stories on people all over the world printing hands. The narrative goes like this: Prosthetic hands are really expensive—a recent Uproxx documentary about 3D printed hands claimed that the average prosthetic on the market costs $60,000—while the 3D printed version cost far less, and can be fixed and replaced with a simple push of a button on a printer. Welcome to the future, the world in which the everyman can print his own arm, breaking free from the chains of debt-by-prosthetic.
But that’s not exactly a true story.
Last month, the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association (AOPA) released a statement clarifying a few key points. The average upper extremity prosthesis does not cost anywhere near $40,000 to $80,000, as many of these accounts claim. It actually costs something like $1,500 to $8,000. The AOPA statement also pointed out that in many cases, the people printing hands are operating illegally. There are 15 states in which providing a prosthetic or orthotic device is illegal without a license. Prosthetists are trained medical professionals, with licenses that take years of education and apprenticeships. The people printing these arms have none of that, which can, in theory, become dangerous. These arms and hands they’re printing aren’t FDA tested, break easily, and should never be used to replace a prosthetic arm.
Of course, the reality of 3D printed prosthetics is somewhere in between the media hype and the concerns of prosthetists with an industry to protect. Prosthetics made by 3D printers can certainly help some people, especially children who are embarrassed of their missing limb. But it’s also important to remember that these are, for the most part, hands made out of thin layers of plastic, printed by volunteer hobbyists with no training.
Some organizations understand that. The group that Erenstone hooked the Reidys up with is one of them, called e-NABLE. e-NABLe is a community-based group that connects amputees with hobbyists who have 3D printers, and is a good example of an organization that understand the limits of their technology.
“We don’t even call these things prosthetics,” Jon Schull, the co-founder of e-NABLE, told me. Schull said they have turned away amputees asking for hands for tasks that they’re not capable of standing up to. “We had someone who used to ride a motorcycle, who wanted hands so he could ride his motorcycle again. He had big hopes for what this could do that we weren’t comfortable with. He was going to use it to operate heavy machinery that could injure himself and others.”
Despite that, Schull said that the group’s relationship with prosthetists is shaky. “Some of them are concerned that we’re undercutting their industry. Some of them understand that we’re opening up a new market.”
The AOPA statement came out of frustration from prosthetists that some 3D printing groups were promoting their work using inaccurate numbers. But Tom Fise, the executive director of AOPA, said that he’s not trying to discourage groups like e-NABLE from doing the work they do. “I think that everybody has to be moved by these stories, and by the light that advances in technology have brought into the lives of families and kids and all of that. I don’t want to ever diminish that.” But he also said that it’s important to keep kids safe too. “Overall, it’s a public safety kind of issue.”
Take Jack’s hand, for example. It was broken out of the box, and Erenstone spent Christmas Eve rushing to fix it the best he could. “I super-glued the thing back together as best I could. But I knew how easily it broke and I knew it wasn’t going to last.” When Jack came in the next day to get the hand fitted, it broke again. Erenstone was able to get it working, but it broke when Jack got home as well.
Chaput, the volunteer who made the hand, said it was the first he ever printed for someone (to become an e-NABLE printer, volunteers have to print and assemble a test hand, but this was his first that a human would use). Chaput is a chemical engineer by day, and like the rest of the e-NABLE printers, he does all this work for free. He thinks two things probably went wrong in the printing, and both are endemic to the way that 3D printing works.
You can think of 3D printing like a very precise hot glue gun that lays down thin layers of hot plastic. This means that the pieces that get printed are very strong in some ways, but weak in others. So if you pull up on the piece, pulling perpendicular the direction the layers were laid down, it can break. This is how the biggest crack in Jack’s hand formed. The other, smaller cracks were likely due to another common 3D printing challenge: temperature.
“You’re always battling the temperature,” Chaput said. “When you extrude, you want it to come out soft obviously, it has to leave the nozzle and bond, but then you want it to harden quickly. It’s the soft but hard concept that you’re always battling.” Chaput said that he thinks that Jack’s hand was made a little bit too cold, which caused cracks to form.
For Chaput, this whole thing was a learning experience. “Every time you make one it comes out better. And that’s the thing, that whole hand was only eight bucks worth of plastic, so making more of them is no big deal.”
When I asked him if he was worried about sending something that might be broken to a kid to use, something that a kid could get hurt using, he said he was. “That’s why I like having Jeff [Erenstone] there. Sending it out to a totally random person that you don’t know what they’re going to do with it, particularly when they have a really young kid—that is an unsettling thought.”
But many of the e-NABLE volunteers do just that—they mail the printed hand to the person who asked for it. In the vast majority of cases, that’s fine. Since most kids aren’t using them for sports or intense activity they’re not likely to hurt themselves. And e-NABLE is careful to explain to recipients what the hands are capable of. But not everyone is like e-NABLE. There are other groups and companies advertising 3D printing as a full replacement for a hand. And that’s where Erenstone and Fries start to get worried. “3D printing does not break physics,” said Erenstone. Plastic can only take so much.
Jack’s story has an interesting coda, one that points to the future of 3D printed prosthetic devices. After his first Raptor hand came out of the box broken, Erenstone decided he would make something else for him. Something better. So he teamed up with Steve Wood, an engineer based in the UK who had become involved in the e-NABLE community and whose designs Erenstone described to me as “brilliant” more than once. In 2013, Wood came across a material called Filaflex—a more flexible material than the usual hard plastic. He started playing around with it. “I created a hinge between two rigid parts, and that grew into a finger because a finger is full of three hinges, and the finger then developed into a hand because I needed something to connect the finger too.” Eventually he had something he called a “Flexy-Hand.”
That was what Erenstone wanted to give Jack—so he sent scans of Jack’s hand to Wood and asked if he could make him one. Not only did Wood make a Flexy-Hand for him, he also printed out a copy of Jack’s hand to test the device out on. He sent both to Erenstone, and in January the Reidy family gathered in Erenstone’s office, with Wood on video chat, to test out the hand.
Within a few minutes, Jack was picking up bottles, grasping cans, and even writing his name with his left hand—something he had never done before. “Think of the dexterity it takes to write your name. He’d never done that with his left hand before, because it wasn’t a possibility,” Erenstone said. Wood had never watched someone put on one of his devices for the first time. “He took to it like a fish to water,” Wood said.
But the Flexy-Hand isn’t quite the same as what the average e-NABLE volunteer is able to make. Wood is an engineer by training with years of experience in building and designing mechanical devices using special design software called CAD. “I’m sure I have a massive advantage in understanding CAD and having 28 years or so of engineering experience behind me. It must count for something.” And Filaflex isn’t easy to print, nor is it as cheap as the standard plastic. Not all 3D printers can handle the material, and it can be finicky.
Erenstone said that all told, including his time helping Jack fit the device, the Flexy-Hand probably costs $2,000. Compared to the standard 3D printed hand that’s a lot. But compared to a carbon fiber hand that might run something like $8,000, it’s not. And Erenstone said this was the first 3D printed prosthetic that he would be willing to put on a patient as a real prosthetic device.
But this is where the promising future of 3D printed hands probably lies. Not in the $30, volunteer-printed version, but in this middle ground where engineers and prosthetists work together to make something slightly cheaper than the average professionally made device.
Wood said he couldn’t make the hand without Erenstone’s help. “I can make custom designs made to measure all day long, but I’m not medically trained and I don’t have the qualifications for the fitting of prosthetics. This is I think where it becomes a good partnership between myself and Jeff.”
Jack has had his Flexy-Hand at home for about two months now. James said he was hesitant to use it at first since he didn’t want to break it like the earlier Raptor hand, but in the past few days Jack has started wearing it more. But even the fancy new hand doesn’t work for a lot of situations. On Thursday he tried the hand at hockey practice for the first time. It didn’t fit quite right in the glove, so he couldn’t use it. He also tried to shoot hoops with the hand, and he took it off pretty quickly. “With Jack it might have been different if he lost his hand after birth,” James said. “I think that he is so used to being without, especially with sports.”
Despite all the back and forth, James is hesitant to criticize the e-NABLE process. “I wouldn’t call them issues, since they’re just getting started,” he said. “It’s a great thing, but it’s not 100 percent functional for everything you do in life. I don’t want to knock it, it’s been great.”
Here’s how Schull thinks about 3D printed hands: “What I say these days is that these devices are compared favorably, especially by kids, to commercial prosthetics costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. They’re compared favorably. But, a 9-year-old will compare peanut butter very favorably to caviar. And indeed peanut butter is probably a better fit for that kid, but they’re just not the same.”
An Incredible 1.8 Miles of Filament Were Used to Create This Fully-Body Iron Man Suit!
One of the areas which has seen substantial benefit from 3D printing is that of the prop and costume industry. Whether created for movie and set production or printed out as simply a hobby, the design attributes that 3D printing has to offer are taking prop and costume making to the next level.
Over the last 13 months we have seen numerous body suits and masks from popular movies 3D printed. We’ve seen entire 3D Printed Alien Xenomorph suitscreated, as well as life-sized suits such as the Hulkbuster from the Iron Man movies 3D printed and then painted. Additive manufacturing enables fine intricate details which could not have been accomplished without great expense using traditional forms of subtractive manufacturing.
In what may be one of the most detailed and largest prop/costume projects we have seen to date, a 20-year-old Marvel Comics enthusiast named Ross Wilkes has created a 3D printed life-sized Iron Man suit.
The project — which Wilkes started way back in 2013 as part of his odd, yet very creative, New Year’s resolution — has taken 14 months to finally culminate in a complete suit reminiscent of Tony Stark’s famous armor.
“Building my own Iron Man suit has been an incredible challenge,” says Wilkes. “Before I could start, I had to learn the basics of 3D printing and was able to pick up the rest along the way. I’m thrilled with what I’ve been able to create using only a 3D printer, and to be able to see the complete suit now is incredible.”
‘Incredible’ may be an understatement. Wilkes, who used only one 3D printer, a Velleman K8200, which was purchased in kit form back in 2013 and assembled soon thereafter, used quite a bit of filament for this project. A total of 32 1kg-spools of filament were used, equating to approximately a 1.8-mile-long strand. Because the Velleman 8200 has a build envelope of just 20 x 20 x 20 cm, Wilkes had to 3D print the suit in hundreds of separate pieces before fusing them all together, sort of like a puzzle.
Three different colors of filament were used for the main body of the suit — red, gold, and gray — and it even features the familiar chest repulsor transmitter, centered at the sternum area. Unlike many past projects we have seen, Wilkes did not paint or use any finishing techniques on this project, relying on the colors of the filament to do their job. As you can see from the images provided to us by Wilkes, he’s done a remarkable job at realizing an accurate rendition of the suit, one which appears to be 3D printed, yet still remains a very accurate representation of the suit we are all familiar with from comic books and movies.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this incredible 3D print in the 3D printed Iron Man Suit forum thread on 3DPB.com.
A Dutch Woodworker Has Created an Eco-Friendly Bicycle Created Entirely Out of Aluminium and Wood
Oh, the joys of cycling — and of collecting bikes. If you know a bicycle enthusiast (or are one), you are probably aware they rarely just have one, and if said person lives in a city they usually have several bikes meant for every cycling scenario imaginable piled up in their living room, kitchen, or bedroom for safekeeping. Moving them or paring down the collection is simply not a thought that has crossed their minds whatsoever as they might need a commuter, a mountain bike, a hybrid, or a more customized bike that’s lighter in weight for going greater distances.
If you live with someone who is encroaching on your space with bikes, the advent of 3D printing might be even greater cause for you to worry if they are handy and technically savvy. The bikes could begin multiplying, as they 3D print out parts in delight, with Amsterdam designer Paul Timmer as the perfect role model.
Timmer has recently designed and built a bicycle completely out of wood and 3D printed aluminum parts. Timmer, obviously not just a woodworker and cyclist, but also a great artist, has constructed a streamlined design with the innovative technology of 3D printing and the superior quality of solid ash.
Featuring an extremely eco-friendly design — not to mention all recyclable — with the aluminum parts and solid ash wood, the bike weighs in at a mere 11 kilograms, which is equal to 24 lbs or so. This makes a normally constructed bike seem pretty clunky in contrast to Timmer’s sleek design, which is meant as an all-terrain means of transportation.
While not the only creatively constructed wooden bike on the market for sure, Timmer’s is the only one (that we know of so far) that employs 3D printed aluminum parts as a means of stability and added strength.
“The main advantage of the wooden frame is the exceptional comfort. All vibrations, due to bumps in the road, are instantly absorbed,” said Timmer. “Wood is the best construction material available. This bike can be as strong as a steel one, but it has to be designed better than a steel one.”
Why does someone stray off the beaten path so far with these types of materials for a bike? Timmer wanted a top-of-the-line ride and he just so happened not only to know how to build one but also how to create custom 3D designs for everything on the bike that wasn’t wood, and he had the resources to 3D print them.
Using ‘forks’ to form a triangle from the handlebar area down to the mechanics of the 3D printed chain, which is made out of a clean belt drive, keeps the wood grain as pristine as possible, and increases durability. As Timmer states on his website, the bike “becomes strong enough by extraordinary attention to detail.”
With 3D design, Timmer was afforded the freedom to tweak and refine parts and 3D print them out as needed rather than having to order something or rely on someone else to make it. That’s the beauty of 3D design and 3D printing as we know it. And while this design is currently the only one of its kind, Timmer has plans to produce them for other biking — and 3D printing — enthusiasts soon.
Is this a bike that interests you for your cycling needs? How do you think the combination of wood and 3D printed aluminum parts can be more helpful? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Bicycle with Wood forum thread over at 3DPB.com.