3D Printing

Lend me your Ear

The blueprint above and our result below

Last night I visited our State of the Art library here in Dun Laoghaire. Yes it was happening there and then. An Intro to 3D printing.

I abandoned the laptop and joined the group, availing of a state of the art stool with wheels that allowed me to slip in at the back. Old and young, about ten of us. the explanatory video showed us examples of stuff you can make. from key fobs to plastic bottles to body parts such as ears and even kidneys. My brain was bursting. -surely this is a hook to hang other innovations on. The teacher begged for questions as we were a recalcitrant bunch. I tried to hold back, not to hog the floor. How do you make an ear? The frame is made using 3D printing then filled with cell material! If all goes well, it will grow on to the head, as good as the real thing.

There are three steps in three D printing. Sketch, Construct and amend, the teacher explained. Extrude, tweak, Fillet, Chamfer. I took the mouse in my left hand and led the experiment. None of us were young but the experience of each came through. Chamfering made sense to a guy who always made things out of wood, changing text was another person’s forte. I was grabbed by the possibilities and the smooth technology, turning the shape before my eyes, so I could see any plane, The old experiences grafted onto the new technology, much like the ear was grafted on to the body.

We then watched as our creations took form and like children at a pottery class, took home the finished product.

Lion made of PLA – Polymer with lactic acid.

This Lion was printed using 3D technology. His hair was blow dried and partially melted!