3D printing and music

Our latest blog post: A musical ride through the influence and qualities of 3D printing on music! ūüôā


Friends, customers, printaholics – lend us your ears and join us along a 3D printed musical adventure!

A recent post which featured one of Malta 3D Printing’s favourite little musical toys – a kazoo – inspired us to continue down this musical vein.

To place things into perspective, the 3D printable instruments of today are split into three categories.

Firstly, we have ‘experimental pieces’, which don’t have a conventional equal outside of the realm of 3D printing. Secondly, there are ‘enhanced instruments’, which improve the qualities of an already existing instrument thanks to 3D printing’s unique capabilities.

Finally, we have replications of existing instruments, which have no real added benefits compared to the traditional piece.

Pictured above is a prime example of a 3D printable musical piece still in experimental stages.

This unusual trumpet is reminiscent of a modern painter’s masterpiece rather than a practical musical device.¬† While this aesthetically pleasing instrument is yet to be created, there are others which are already in circulation.
In a different interview, flute player Seth Hunter emphasized the plastic flute’s acoustic similarities to the traditional metal ones. He also noted the slight misplacement of the keys – but remember – 3D printing encourages technicians to fix any minor errors in the subsequent print.

Created by yet another student from MIT, Amit Zoran was not far away from creating an exact replica, and this was way back in 2011. The traditional flute falls under the ‘existing instrument’ category, but our next pick certainly has its fair share of enhancements.

A laser-cut violin made from plywood, this stringed instrument was created by Ranjit Bhatnagar, a sound art enthusiast.

Its’ bulky wooden outer shell provides a stern contrast to the graceful sounds it can produce. Bhatnagar even took his masterpiece to the streets, inviting different violin players to fiddle away.

‘Ranjit’ as he is known on Thingiverse, has a personal page chocked full of free designs for different instruments – including an okarina, organ pipe, spiral panpipes and more.

Next up is another piece seeking to replicate an original design, but this one is slightly different. At four feet long, this home-made behemoth requires many printing sessions.

Clearly, this great bass recorder functions well – and the creator has since improved on his original work. The recorer is made up over 48 inches of PVC pipe measuring 1.5″, a few sections made of 2″¬†and multiple, custom built 3D pieces.

Created by Instructables user ‘sngai’, a quick internet search will reveal that opting to print this object as opposed to purchasing a store-bought one will save players a lot of money.

Who knows what the future holds? PLA pianos, ABS acoustic guitars and printable drum kits may soon become popular. As the number of 3D printed instruments continues to grow, its only a matter of time before musicians hop on the fast-moving bandwagon!

by  | 4 September 2014

3D printing revolution in school

September is round the corner and 3D printing is ready for school!

Check out our latest blog post on the many incredible ways 3D printing is being of great assistance in the classroom!


Modern universities around the world have successfully endorsed 3D printers in the classroom. Students from all walks of life are creating innovative products, rivaling the originality and ingenuity of high-end companies.

They’ve created interesting products like¬†boats¬†and¬†augmented reality headsets, to name a few.

While many of these institutions at the top of the educational hierarchy are focusing on additive manufacturing, what about those lower down the learning tree?

Imagine the possibilities of having small, user-friendly 3D printers in our children’s classrooms. Computers provided a tremendous leap in learning potential, proof that accepting modern means of learning can pay dividends.

Malta 3D Printing’s Facebook page recently featured an interesting infographic regarding the myriad of different uses 3D printers would have in a classroom.

Titled ‘Revolutionizing the Classroom,’ the picture explains how printing could impact 9 different academic subjects – from biology and chemistry, to graphic design and history.

The global surge in interest in 3D printing has even lead to books being written specifically for teachers seeking to use a printer in the classroom. One of the more recent additions is titled ‘The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success‘, by Norma Thornburg, David Thornburg and Sara Armstrong.

Available on Amazon, the step-by-step guide has received plenty of positive reviews. It presents 18 stimulating printing projects – covering a wide range of subjects including mathematics, engineering and science.

For educators less comfortable with certain technical aspects of 3D printing, this book is definitely for you.

It is crucial that we introduce these technologies at a young age, allowing for children to get accustomed to them nice and early. The usual naysayers – Luddites and technophobes – may resist such a transition, as they did when desktop computers slowly made their way into the classroom a couple of decades ago.

However, provided all goes well, 3D printers can become a bastion of educational technology!


It’s perfect for allowing children to explore their imagination, simultaneously widening their range of creative skills. Furthermore, it encourages kids to keep trying even after they’ve failed, as printing itself requires trial and error.

So often, children are frustrated by failure, yet 3D printing allows for an environment which accepts it with open arms.

It’s nice to know that messages from the printing industry aren’t falling on deaf ears. As far back as 2009, projects like KIDE have begun infiltrating classrooms in the UK. Started byDejan Mitrovic¬†– a technological pioneer – his¬†educational scheme focuses on bringing 3D printing into the classroom, focusing on a ‘think-create-use’ model.

This Vimeo video captures the KIDE project in action – displaying the students’ work in a 2 minute slideshow.

On the other side of the pond, an article by Redorbit tells us about 12 groups of teachers who visited the Michigan Technological Institute to learn more about 3D printing. They were effectively given a crash course, ensuring they return to their respective schools with a decent understanding.

Slowly, but surely, the world is embracing 3D printing. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads across the globe!

Perhaps one-day the children of the future will begin community altering projects in their very own classrooms. We’ll open our newspapers to read about a local group of boys and girls who helped to pioneer a contraption of the future.

All we must do is provide them with the tools and proper guidance – then sit back in awe as we watch the cogs in our little men and women’s brains turn.

by  | 26 August 2014

3D printable ‘life hacks’ – better life

Our latest blog post: From cable spools to kazoos, we look at some great 3D printable ‘life hacks’ that make your life easier, guaranteed!


3D Printed Swiss Army Fold-out Keychain

Today we’ll be taking a look at a few awesome 3D printable products which have officially reached ‘life hack’ status.

Amidst our more serious blog posts, this entry will be about easy-to-use, and more importantly, easy-to-make products which may not change the world – but will definitely help to put a smile on people’s faces.

Here’s one for the fruit-loving house party hosts – a printable tap which transforms a watermelon into a keg!

All you require are the beverages of your choice, and a knife to cut open the watermelon. Remove the melon chunks, add some ice, pop your tap into the makeshift fruit keg and prepare to conquer your thirst!

These fun products are great for a family day by the pool or to provide some much needed novelty at a house party.

The tap is the result of a combination between a team dedicated to life-hacking and a 3D printing company started by the people, for the people –¬†Household Hackers and Robo 3D, respectively. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, this nifty tap was created using a Robo 3D R1 printer.

It can, of course, be used for more conventional purposes, but this one is by far the most awesome.

Next up, we’ve got a nifty little item that packs a musical punch. The ‘Kazoo‘ – a handheld instrument which requires users to hum into it – can provide hours of sweet-sounding fun.

Appropriate for both professional and amateurs alike, this small instrument definitely has mass appeal. It’s bound to have parents and neighbors across the globe in search for a fine set of ear plugs.

Hours have been spent tooting away at the Malta 3D Printing office, with a trusty kazoo never more than a few feet away!According to the Guiness Book of World Records, on 14th March 2011, over 5,000 kazoo players teamed up to create their own rendition of one of Wagner’s greatest compositions, ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’. How many of those kazoos were 3D printed?

Moving on, we present to our viewers a simple, yet handy product which is bound to help people save a few extra pennies. Have you ever known there was some toothpaste left in the end of the tube, but couldn’t be bothered to awkwardly squeeze it out?

This trusty tube roller is meant for those occasions!

Its incredibly easy-to-use, just fit it onto your desired tube and twist away. Guaranteed to squeeze every last drop out of your bothersome tubes. Don’t like the colour? Good thingMalta 3D Printing has dozens of alternatives.

The item pictured below is a cool alternative to that annoying bunch of keys on a ring. This 3D printable Swiss army knife can hold a number of keys, and should fit into a pocket nicely.

Say goodbye to that frustrating feeling you experience when you pull your mobile phone out of your pocket, only to realize its been scratched by your cumbersome key ring. Furthermore, printing this product in a nice bright colour will reduce the amount of time we spend looking for our keys!

Finally, we bring to you another tool that can help you tackle another common nuisance.

We’ve all gone through our fair share of mobile phones, speakers, and the myriad of other devices which come with 2-3 different cables per box. This cute cable spool allows you to store your wires in a practical way, and even when in use, guarantees things remain nice and tidy.

These spools can be easily stacked on top of each other or placed side-by-side neatly, as opposed to simply having a pile of wires left in a dusty box under your bed.

The examples listed here are only a speck of sand in the beach that is 3D printing. There are literally thousands of products out there that are can be immensely useful, or entertaining!

Don’t hesitate to contact Malta 3D Printing for any of the items listed above!¬†ūüėČ

by  | 22 August 2014

The movies – inspiration to 3D printing

Our latest blog post: A look at how and why Tinseltown is focusing on 3D printing for movie production!


In theaters across the world, fans watch in amazement as lifelike costumes and props take centre stage in blockbuster movies. We’ve all been spoiled by advanced CGI (computer generated imagery), sitting back as we admire an ultra-realistic ocean glistening below a hovering alien mother-ship on screen.

The list of computer generated images is endless, and some movies rely entirely on these graphical reproductions.

Luckily, 3D printing is stepping in to add some much needed realness to our favourite flicks. The Iron Man movie series serves as a prime example – with an untold number of suits having been 3D printed by Legacy Effects for all 3 Iron Man titles.

One can only imagine the amount of time and precision required to produce such works of art, and Lead Systems Engineer at Legacy Effects, Jason Lopes, can attest to this.

In this short interview with Bloomberg, Lopes gives a quick breakdown on why 3D printing is rapidly replacing older methods of costume creation.

Lopes states that, as a traditional special effects studio that once relied on high-qualityanimatronics and sculpting (to name a few), it was essential that they kept up to date with the latest technological trends.

Besides the impressive Iron Man suit on their resume, Legacy Effects have also produced models for other smash hits like Real Steel and Pacific Rim. The ‘Noisy Boy’ a fully-operational, hydraulic robot created for the Real Steel feature film, reportedly costed tens of thousands of dollars to complete.

While Legacy Effects remains an alpha male of the 3D printing prop and costume world, others are also making a name for themselves. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Terry Gilliam – the world famous writer, director and actor – requested a cutting edge movie prop for his new movie, ‘The Zero Theorem.’
Of course – it had to be 3D printed – and Gilliam reportedly selected FATHOM and North Design Labs to craft this space-age device. North provided the creative mojo while FATHOM delivered in the technical department, a combination which resulted in this movie prop:

This convincing, alien gadget gets plenty of screen time, housing a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and acting as a interactive mini-computer. According to 3DPrinterWorld.com, the entire device was 3D printed and assembled within a couple of days.

It was printed by an Objet500 Connex, a high-range printer capable of printing numerous materials in a single session.

Not only are these exciting products being sold to mega-rich movie companies, but mega-rich customers too. According to techeblog.com, the cleverly named ‘Iron Man Factory’ situated in Shenzhen, China, is producing replicas that cost an arm and a leg.

At $35,000, the 3D printed, carbon-fiber Iron Man suit is hardly going to be selling like hotcakes, but is sure to tickle serious fans’ fancy.

Less wealthy Iron Man aficionados out there can also settle for the non-3D printed version for only $2,000 dollars.

These are only the beginnings of a very promising lunge into the movie industry. It’s no surprise Hollywood is taking notice of 3D printing – as time constraints become greater – faster, rapid prototyping methods of production will quickly gain precedence.

Albeit expensive, 3D printing has too many advantages not to be taken seriously.

by  | 19 August 2014

3D printing food in space?

Our next blog post is definitely one to tickle your sweet tooth!

Check out some of the many different ways 3D printing may soon barge into your kitchen; no half-baked ideas here!


The food industry is the next branch of economy to benefit from 3D printing.

In 2013, NASA announced their interest in 3D printing food in space,¬†allowing¬†Systems and Material Research Corporation from Austin, Texas to begin developing methods forprinting food in space. NASA’s interest into 3D printing speaks volumes about just how big additive manufacturing can grow to one day!

Back on Earth, others are busy focusing on 3D printers that can print chocolate, ice cream and more!

From ChocEdge in the UK, all the way to Global 3D Labs in India, the chocolate 3D printing trend is catching on quickly – promising to, in the future, produce¬†results to rival the world’s best chocolatiers!

Of course, this entry into the 3D printing market is still young, and won’t be replacing the hard-working men and women in the chocolate industry anytime soon.

However, as with any growing technology – this is one to look out for in the future.

Currently, time constraints will hold this technology back. According to3DPrintingIndustry.com, it would take up to 40 minutes to produce a single plate of chocolate. While this is far from ideal, 3D printers still have a few tricks up their sleeve.

The Choc Creator from ChocEdge, founded by Dr. Liang Hao –¬†claims to be more accurate than human hands, laying layers of chocolate at measurements of 0.5mm to 1.0mm. Having been on the market since 2012, its’ successor, the Choc Creator V2 has only recently been launched.

With the first entry marketed as a user-friendly yet capable device, the V2 (pictured below) offers technical supremacy – improving on feature’s such as the temperature control, according to 3ders.org. It also promises an improvement in accuracy, with printable chocolate tracks ranging from 0.45mm-1.3mm.

The price tag is¬†heftier than its predecessor, but its promise to improve on an already capable machine should justify this. It was unveiled at the ‘2014 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition,’ which took place in China.

These printers allow users to deposit layers of chocolate on any surface desired – but what about as an ice cream topping?

Well, we’re not quite sure how that would work, but rest assured that other parties are working with ice cream and 3D printers. The idea is still in its infancy, after yet another group of promising students – this time from the world-renowned MIT – fiddled around with a printer until it was able to extrude ice-cream.

The students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker and David Donghyun Kim – claimed to have taken interest in this novelty idea in a bid to excite children about 3D printing, as per 3ders.org.

“We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible,” Bunker told 3ders.org.

The three tech-junkies reportedly hacked a Solidoodle 4 3D printer, allowing for compatibility with a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.

Another promising food related 3D printer is the Foodini, by Natural Machines. It allows home cooks
to place (preferably healthy) foodstuffs into open containers which are then pumped out via a syringe.

Its’ Kickstarter campaign¬†was unfortunately unsuccessful, but still managed to raise a little more than¬†$80,000 dollars, leaving it slightly off its $100,000 target mark. While this is indeed a revolutionary idea that needs time to be perfected,¬†the decision to market it as a way to change how we prepare our food is slightly premature.

Of course, the Foodini is changing the way we fundamentally prepare dishes, but it isn’t necessarily making us eat healthier or save time with cooking.

Similar to other 3D devices, Foodini has its own online database where users are able to download different shapes and patterns for the variety of sweet and savory dishes. Powered by Android, the Foodini comes equipped with Wi-Fi and a 7-inch touchscreen.

3D Printing Food foodini 3D Printer
The creators of Foodini, Lynette Kucsma and Emilio Sepulvedu, plan for their creation to be as popular as the microwave one day.

According to 3dprint.com, they also aspire to create ‘3D printing ovens’ one day. It’s difficult to imagine this materializing anytime soon, but it’s exciting to think that 3D printing technology will infiltrate such a core aspect of our lives – improving and revolutionizing the way we think about food.

by  | 16 August 2014

3D printing celebrities

Our next blog post; a Who’s Who of the big names in 3D printing!



So far we’ve covered plenty of interesting printing related gadgets and projects – but what about the names and faces behind these marvelous projects?

Who are the inventors and pioneers that helped propel 3D printing to the pedestal it currently sits on?

One cannot give recognition to the lesser names in the 3D printing world without first mentioning the mastermind that is Chuck Hull.

He is the father of stereolithography, the first link in the chain which lead to different types of manufacturing, all under the 3D printing umbrella. A visionary, Hull also invented theSTL file type and the rapid prototyping technique Рall critical pieces of the 3D printing pie. He is reported to have over 60 patents in the USA alone.

Hull’s passion for his creation lead to him founding 3D Systems Corp.¬†Established in 1986, it¬†stands tall and proud as¬†the world’s first company dedicated to 3D printing, and is still the market leader. Currently 74, his desire to continue to lead his company clearly hasn’t waned, and he still operates as the Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President.

The metaphorical light bulb above Hull’s head lit up back in 1983, when the entrepreneur was working for a small business that used UV rays to place layers of plastic onto tables and other furniture.

Envisioning a method which involved using light to mould plastic layers into 3D shapes, the cogs in his head began to turn.

After months and months of experimenting, Hull’s dreams turned into reality – and a prototype was made. The printer pictured below was Hull’s first ever printer, a relic now over 30 years old!

Moving onto another celebrated face in the printing industry, Malta 3D Printing presents the story of Enrico Dini, also known as ‘The Man Who Prints Houses.’

In case you missed out, last week’s post included a Chinese company capable of printing up to ten houses a day! While that is awe-inspiring, the Eastern firm must pay homage to Dini, the first to patent the technology to print large structures using 3D printing.

Many years ago, Enrico Dini was a robotics specialist, and enjoyed experimenting with 3D printing in his spare time. Teaming up with his brother, he created his first prototype printer, eventually succeeding in printing a stone column, and more notably – the world’s first ever fully printed architectural structure.

After this, Enrico Dini’s name became famous in the world of architecture. A documentary filmed by Marc Webb and Wake-Walker takes a look at Dini’s life as he balances work and family – at times, to his own detriment. A teaser of the documentary can be viewed here.
In an interview with 3DPrinting.com, Dini states that his only wish is to be able to convert his current line of printers into affordable, simplistic machines for all to use.

“My dream is to go to Africa, remove the weapons out of the hands of child soldiers and replace them with a basket. They can use the basket to collect sand and bring it to a 3D printer. This printer then builds small houses, irrigation canals, or parts for shading. Things that improve life for the people there,” Dini was quoted as saying.

Our next contender for the printing pioneer award is one who claims that 3D printing is effectively lighting the fire for the third industrial revolution.

His name is Tedd Syao –¬† a man who, after analyzing the state of the 3D printing industry, saw fit to dedicate himself to improving its infrastructure from the bottom up – similar to how his revolutionary printer operates.

As founder of Kudo3D, Syao was instrumental in the creation of the Titan 1, the next wave of SLA printers. Incredibly, the Titan 1 raised a staggering $687,000 dollars on Kickstarter in 2 minutes!

According to¬†Kudo3D’s Kickstarter page, Syao previously worked as a professor in electrical engineering, clocking in 15 years of hard work in the Photonics industry. Building on his unique set of skills and experience, Syao and his team crafted this trendsetting printer, available at the low cost of $1,999!

SLA (stereolithography) printers differ from the conventional FDM (fusion deposition modelling) printers. Kudo3D’s entry into the market claims to improve the resolution, increase build speed and build space whilst focusing on reliability – effectively making it a top contender in the SLA domain.

Interestingly enough – the Titan 1 builds items ‘bottom up’, as displayed in the picture above.

Tedd Syao was also at the heart of creating and polishing Kudo3D’s patent for the PSP technique – a ‘Passive Self-Peeling’ technology, which is said to “minimize the separation force, (so that) features as tiny as a strand of hair can be preserved during the printing process” according to company’s website.

From Hull’s moment of brilliance to Syao and Dini’s revolutionary ideas, the world of 3D printing has not stopped expanding in the last few decades. As the world continues to open its’ eyes to this method of manufacturing, one can only expect more pioneers to pop up around the world.

by  | 8 August 2014

3D printing and fashion

This blog post is for all the fashionistas out there…. if you haven’t heard about the influence of 3D printing on fashion, take note!


When Chuck Hull invented the 3D printer back in the early eighties, revitalizing the fashion world may have been the last thing on his mind. Fast forward to 2014, and Hull’s invention has proved instrumental in changing the way we’re creating clothes, shoes and jewelry, to name a few.

3D printing is uniting experts from different professions, as architects and fashion designers team up to take things to the next level.

Whether it’s a necklace packed with diamonds sold at a staggering $105,000, or a pair of¬†football cleats by Nike¬†perfectly designed to match your foot – 3D printing has found yet another market to sink its teeth into.

Besides ushering in a new wave of creativity, 3DP is also reducing fashion’s carbon footprint. Regardless of the increase in plastics that one may associate with printing’s penetration into the mainstream, commonly used materials like PLA are corn-based. This points to a reduction in the less environmentally friendly petroleum-based plastics.

It’s difficult to mention 3D printing’s finger in the fashion pie without this powerful image ofDita von Teese donning this stunning dress.

Architect Francis Bitonti and fashion designer Michael Schmidt teamed up to create this masterpiece, providing a necessary catalyst for the fashion industry to take this branch of technology seriously.

The burlesque star modelled the world’s first fully articulated dress at an exclusive event at the Ace Hotel in New York, hosted by the 3D printing marketplace, Shapeways.

The designer dress was created based off the golden ratio, a mathematical equation found throughout the universe which humans readily identify with beauty. For more on how the golden ratio (aka the Fibonacci sequence) was incorporated into the dress, check out this interesting Youtube video.

Courtesy of a 3D scanner, von Teese’s body was scanned down to the last curve and turned into a 3D model, giving the team behind the dress unprecedented customization abilities.

This special ensemble has 17 different pieces, which were adjoined, lacquered and fitted with over 13,000 Swarovski crystals. On top of that, the dress has 2,500 intersecting parts which had to be attached by hand.

Currently, this picturesque piece will only interest the wealthiest fashion aficionados and celebrities. However – so long as you don’t expect a few thousand diamonds on your average 3D printed dress – we can expect to see less glamorous garments made at home sometime soon.

Shapeways is the 3D printing company on the forefront of the fashion battle. But who else is involved in this fiery relationship between fashion and technology?

He may not be as stylish as Bitonti or Schmidt, but Google’s Head of Engineering Ray Kurzweil is causing shock-waves in the fashion world – by proclaiming that we’ll all be printing clothes at home within a few years.

By 2020, Kurzweil, aka “the restless genius” (as the Wall Street Journal branded him) foresees the sharing of 3D printable schematics as an everyday thing. Currently, 3D printing’s online fashion world has yet to blossom, but the seed has been planted.

Kurzweil emphasizes the importance of open-source development, a huge step towards the great transformation that the fashion world would go through – so long as the restless genius’ predictions are correct. Perhaps one day, a fashion equivalent of Thingiverse will emerge, symbolizing the shift in power in a fashion industry valued at $1.7 trillion in 2012 (according to FashionUnited’s statistics) in America alone.

by  | 9 July 2014