3D printed optical illusion



German Designer 3D Prints an Amazing Optical Illusion That Will Drive You Insane!

The idea that 3D printing can open up avenues that previously have not been available via other art forms, is something that makes this technology so incredibly appealing for artists and visionaries throughout the world.

For one German man, named David Hagemann, 3D printing has really allowed him to unleash many really unique creations on a global level. Just last week, we reported on a 3D printed palm tree fruit holder that he created, and last month we did a story on his 3D printed ‘Linklings‘. Hagemann is constantly trying to come up with new ideas that separate his creations from the mundane.

One of his latest design ideas came about after he saw how a simple black and blue dress became an overnight internet sensation, simply because no one could agree on what color it was.  Surely you have seen this overly publicized dress.

“I just thought about what kind of illusion could be easy to 3D print and I then came up with an inverted face idea which is also known as the hollow mask effect,” Hagemann tells 3DPrint.com. “I did something with inverted eyes before which happened more by accident since a lot of my early prints were shells and I made the eyes separate.”


So Hagemann set out to create an entire face that can be viewed from both sides, yet provide the appearance that the facial features are protruding outward toward the viewer. While one side of the print is inverted, both sides appear to be sticking out. The task of creating this design and then 3D printing it, certainly wasn’t easy.

When Hagemann printed his first version, he noticed that ‘shadow casting’ was a huge problem. The steep hole, which acts as the inverted nose on the face, was casting a large shadow which in turn made the entire illusion fail.

“I ended up smoothing steep facial features, which was mainly the nose, and squashing the whole face to be more flat,” Hagemann tells us. “This way it hardly [has any] overlapping when viewing it and it only very little shadow casting inside. I printed a very thin version in natural ABS which came out surprisingly well.”

Hagemann also discovered that his illusion worked really well when light shines through it from the back side. While the illusion is mostly one that stems from psychological conditioning, the design itself also plays a huge role in making it happen.

“The effect does not really require a light shining on it from the bottom, since most people have the viewing of positive faces engraved so much into their brain that they will see a negative face always as a positive face,” Hagemann explains to us.


The majority of people will see a ‘positive’ face when viewing Hagemann’s 3D printed creation, although not everyone will. In particular Schizophrenia sufferers will not be fooled by this illusion.  Others also have the ability to depict the fact that they are viewing an inverted object, but very few do. This is because of the way our brains are built.

“Our top-down processing holds memories, like stock models,” explained Danai Dima of Hannover Medical University, in Germany, co-author of a study in NeuroImage. “All the models in our head have a face coming out, so whenever we see a face, of course if has to come out.”

So, what do you see? Do you see a positive or negative face? Discuss in the 3D printed optical illusion forum thread on 3DPB.com.


by  | MARCH 23, 2015

3D printed dress

A Stylish and Seductive Self-Defense Ready Dress!


CES 2015: Self Defense Wearable Made Using 3D Printing

CES 2015: Self Defense Wearable Made Using 3D Printing

Dutch designer adds detection and defense devices to “Spiderdress” offering.

Wearable technology would handily win the title of Emerging Technology of 2014 if not for the existence of 3D printing. Both have leapt forward this year in terms of price, variety, media attention and public acceptance…and both are poised to take 2015 by storm. Dutch designer/engineer Anouk Wipprecht plans to introduce a wearable this January that may place wearables in pole position for next year’s race.

Wipprecht’s “Spiderdress” exemplifies the trend of wearable technology. It’s an article of clothing that integrates robotics and sensors to give the wearer capabilities she wouldn’t have otherwise. In this case, the charmingly creepy Spiderdress is a self-defense aid that applies two kinds of sensors. The first tracks and analyzes body language and behavior out to a range of seven meters. The second tracks respiration to check if that presence makes the wearer nervous. If so, it jabs the interloper with a plastic leg to not-so-subtly suggest he create some distance.

Spider Dress Black.png Spiderdress 3Dprinting

The 3D printed bodice of the dress is light enough to wear for an event, but not on a long trek. Its defensive arms are arrayed to look like its namesake arachnid, down to sensor pods designed to look like eyes.

Clothing like the Spiderdress refines the concept of self-defense and expands it with the new miniaturized devices and expanded capacity the wearables trend brings to the party.

This is not Wipprecht’s first foray into weird science clothing that seems like something out of a comic book. Other examples of her work include a dress that makes the wearer immune to electrocution and clothes that detect the wearer’s mood and display. The Spider Dress will be unveiled to the public at the 2015 CES Convention in Las Vegas on January 6-9.


A large development of 3D printing

BBC covers 3D printing as part of their ‘Technology of Business’ segment.


Strakka Dome 103 endurance racing car

“It’s a very exciting technology, it gives us the benefit of reduced lead times, reduced costs and really increases the flexibility for our engineers to be creative.

“Concept to final product used to be a minimum of maybe four weeks, whereas now it can be the next day.”

Strakka Racing’s Dan Walmsley is talking about their new prototype car, the Strakka Dome S103.

It’s a racer that has to be hardy; it’s designed for theWorld Endurance championship, a series that includes the Le Mans 24 hour. In that one race it will travel further than a F1 vehicle does in an entire season.

“[3D printing] enables us to try things, to test things, sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong, but it gives us a clear direction, it enables us to extract the best performance from the car.”

We’re not chatting by the racetrack at Silverstone (which is where the Strakka team is based) – we’re at the 3D Print show, in the heart of the City of London.

Strakka have been working with one of the major players in the industry, Stratasys,to develop components for their cars.

They’d previously used the technology for rapid prototyping.

Inside the Strakka Dome S103

“We had to go though a bit of a mindset shift, because our experience of 3D printing in the past … was quite powdery,” says Mr Walmsley.

“But as soon as we saw these components – they’re strong enough, they’re light enough, they really can compete against cutting edge technologies in terms of materials.

“Whilst we’ve probably underutilised it on this car, in the future you’re going to see cars with a much higher proportion of it.”

The car has 3D printed brake ducts, air intake, dive planes and dash panel, among other things.

The technology has come a long way from rough novelty plastic objects made from coloured filament (although consumer versions are likely to rely on this for some time to come).

While Gartner says mainstream consumer adoption of the technology is probably five to 10 years away, uptake for business and medical purposes is far faster.

Canalys meanwhile sees the market reaching US$16.2bn in 2018 – growing at a rate of nearly 46% a year.

My3Dtwin miniature 3D printed figures

Dress it up

Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen has used 3D printing since 2010, Australian XYZ Workshop created the InBloom Dress in 2014, and Pringle of Scotland used it in their Autumn/Winter ready to wear 2014/15 collection. Fashion likes 3D printing.

ringle of Scotland used 3D printed fabric created by material scientist Richard Beckett to create these garments

Noa Raviv is a young Israeli designer. She worked with Stratasys to develop a collection of garments featuring intricate, spidery ruffles and flounces created on a printer.

She says the technology offered exciting possibilities to create unique garments, but as yet has no plans to sell the pieces.

“I got many offers, but for the moment it would be really complicated to make more copies of this collection, as the process is at the moment quite expensive, and the other pieces are hand stitched.”

But she points out that, while fabrics have yet to make it to the mainstream, 3D printed accessories are far more accessible.

Wonderluk rings 3D printed in gold

Andre Schober is co-founder of online jewellery and accessories start-up Wonderluk.

Customers choose items and customise them. Pieces are then printed and delivered within two weeks.

“I think we exist because of 3D printing. 3D printing allows us to do what we do. But I wouldn’t say that 3D printing is for us [the selling point].” he says.

“We mention that we 3D print, but our products need to stand up in their own right. The designs need to convince.”

Print Green printer

Lights, action

The film industry uses 3D printing in the creation of costumes and props.

“Part of what 3D printing is letting us doing is working with designers on the other side of the Atlantic,” says Grant Pearmain, director of costume and props specialists FBFX.

His company has worked on an impressive list of Hollywood blockbusters, including Marvel franchise films like Captain America and Thor: Darkworld, which were filmed in the UK. The most recent was Guardians of the Galaxy.

“We’ve got concept designers in Los Angeles who will send us concept models in 3D, that we can then take over finish off, and…. print off what was started in America effectively.”

Star Lord helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy

Design giant Autodesk is the company behind thousands of CAD (computer assisted design) files – which tell the printer what to print. So heavily invested are they in 3D printing the company has announced their own open source printer.

“I think verbally it’s made the leap to mainstream,” says the Autodesk’s Jesse Harrington. “I think manufacturing wise we’re really close. If you walk around here you see a lot of metals, there’s a lot of ceramics, people are doing really interesting stuff with casting, carbon fibre, there’s a lot of that stuff coming out.”

“The consumer side – the cost is driven down for… printers, so now we have take the big next step and teach those things.

“Until we really get to that point where we can really tell people what to make, or companies like Hasbro, Disney, Marvell, start releasing some of these files so that kids can make their own toys, I think that’s when you’ll see the big adoption happen.”

Autodesk's Jesse Harrington with 3D printed sculptures made on a Makerbot printer

Printed anatomy

Healthcare is a rapidly growing market. Dentistry has used 3D printing for some time to creature dentures, and it’s now used in maxillo facial surgery to help repair parts of the jaw.

It’s been used to create prosthetic devices, including ears and robotic arms.

At the (sometimes literally) bleeding edge it starts to sound more like the replicator from Star Trek, like printed blood vessels, kidneys and other organs.

Alan Faulkner-Jones is a PhD researcher at Herriot Watt University who has built his own 3D bio printer.

“Bio materials are traditionally cultured in two dimensions in biology, but cells in the body are in three dimensions,” he says.

“So if you want cells to do everything that they’re meant to do in the body, then they have to be arranged in three dimension in the lab, just as they are in the body.

Alan Faulkner-Jones

“This machine enables you to deposit cells inside a three dimensional structure as you print it. In the same way that standard 3D printing works, it works on a layer by layer process, it uses two different liquids that when put together form a gel matrix [which can hold cells].”

The aim eventually is to print a 3D liver micro-tissue – an organ on a chip.

This would respond in the same way as a whole liver, but on a much smaller scale for testing drugs.

Ideally, a model system of an entire human body is the goal – a human body on a chip. The purpose of this would be to reduce reliance on and possibly ultimately replace animal testing.

This all lies some way off.

But even if we never really take to the idea of having 3D printers sitting at home, or if it fails to change the face of manufacturing as some are predicting, technology that could potentially produce a functioning kidney built from your own cells – or help reconstruct the face of a car crash victim – isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

3D printed fashion accessories