Read our blog for all the latest in the world of 3D printing

Artist makes 3D printed film

posted 13 May 2015 at 21:57:23

French artist Gilles-Alexandre Deschaud has created a stop-motion animation film, Chase Me, made entirely from 3D printed parts. Deschaud spent two years 3D printing 2,500 pieces on the Formlabs’ Form1+ SLA printer. It spent a hefty 6,000 hours printing all the parts, using up 80 litres of resin along the way. The story follows a ukulele-playing girl who is chased through a dark forest by a monster that emerges from her own shadow. The film will premiere at the Annecy International Animation Festival this June, and has also been selected for the Short Film corner at the Cannes Film Festival.    
For more information and to see a trailer, visit:  

 Image: &

Piezoelectric violin

posted 13 May 2015 at 21:25:29

Could this 3d printed musical instrument - the Piezoelectric violin – be the start of something new in musical instrument design? It’s the brainchild of Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg of Miami-based design and research practice MONAD studio, and musician and luthier Scott F. Hall. The violin is just one of three 3D printed string instruments and two wind instruments that were exhibited at the 3D Print Design Show in New York in April this year. And it's not just the look that's unique – don't expect the 2-string violin, 1-string cello and 1-string electric bass guitar to sound anything like their namesakes. Instead, think other-worldly and eerie.  
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Beating heart cells 3D printed

posted 09 May 2015 at 20:51:39

Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the USA have 3D printed a miniature beating heart.  Using a specialised 3D printer, the researchers converted human skin cells into a network of functioning heart cells, or organoids. This groundbreaking work is part of a research project named ‘ Body on a Chip’ whose goal is to develop mini artificial organs such as hearts, livers, blood vessels and lungs in order to model the body’s response to chemical and biologic agents, and to test potential treatments. Using a 3D printer allows the researchers to make the mini organs in various shapes and sizes. The video shows three beating 3D printed cardiac organoids on the right, and fused liver and heart organoids on the left.  

 Image: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

3D printed rhino horn?

posted 05 May 2015 at 13:03:22

Biotech startup Pembient has come up with what could be a new way to combat the problem of declining rhinoceros numbers, with the help of 3D printing. Rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine – and with the species close to extinction due to the high price the horn fetches on the black market, help of any kind is sorely needed. The San Francisco-cased company has developed a 3D bioprinted material that is genetically similar to rhino horn. They hope that this environmentally friendly material can be used as a substitute, helping to reverse the dramatic drop in rhino numbers. Currently, three of the remaining five rhino species are listed as Critically Endangered, which means they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild.  

Picture: © Thinkstock/iStock/Ringadingding  

Flying 3D printer hits the spot

posted 01 May 2015 at 21:39:42

MUPPette - Mobile Unmanned Printing Platform from Gensler LA on Vimeo.

A prototype flying 3D printer is being developed by Los Angeles architects Gensler that’s pushing the boundaries of 3D printing technology. Attached to the bottom of a multi-rotor drone, the printer can extrude a concrete-like material while in flight. The idea behind the Muppette project (Mupp stands for Mobile unmanned printing platform) is to help with building temporary shelters for disaster relief purposes: the Mupp can be sent out to areas stricken by natural disasters, cut off from traditional means of rescue. Current estimates are that constructing a rudimentary shelter will take about one day. The research project is still ongoing – one of the biggest challenges is how to deal with the drone’s limited carrying capacity. The current thinking is to use a teamwork approach – while one deposits and prints, support Mupps fly around gathering materials and bringing them back to the printing one.   Courtesy of Gensler (  

Courtesy of Gensler (   

3D printed bionic ear

posted 27 April 2015 at 18:54:42

We’ve been hearing about the great advances that have been made in 3D printing metal and plastic implants to replace and repair bones and joints. But just as fascinating are the emerging technologies around bioprinting, where live cells are used as the ‘ink’ for printing living tissue. The prototype ‘bionic’ ear pictured here, developed by researchers at Princeton University in the USA, is an amazing interweaving of electronic and biological materials. The ear is formed from a 3D printed hydrogel scaffold containing living cartilage and embedded silver nanoparticles to form an antenna, allowing wearers to ‘hear’ radio frequencies. In the future, a device like this could restore human hearing, and then go one step further and enhance what the normal human ear can hear.  

 Picture: Frank Wojciechowski/Princeton University

3D printed beak fits the bill

posted 27 April 2015 at 09:22:34

3D scanning and printing has come to the rescue of a Costa Rican toucan, whose beak was broken off after an attack by vandals. When these heartbreaking pictures of the toucan’s broken beak emerged, it didn’t take long for a crowd-funding campaign to cover the cost of fixing the problem. Then a group of tech businesses offered their services to scan the broken beak with an Artec 3D scanner and to 3D print a prosthetic replacement. The Toucan, Grecia, is being cared for at animal rescue shelter ZooAve, near Alajuela, Costa Rica. Now they are working on printing a durable, lightweight prosthesis to Grecia’s exact specifications, as well as planning the best way to attach it. To follow the work of the shelter and to donate, go to: 

 Picture: Artec 3D

Prickly dress

posted 21 April 2015 at 11:52:20

If you’re someone who has personal space issues, then this 3D printed mechatronic dress might be just the thing for you. The Spider Dress, by Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht, comes fitted with an Intel Edison chip that uses biosignals and learned threat detection to make it adapt to your mood and surroundings. Say you feel threatened by someone approaching you – the mechanical arms on the shoulders will lift up in a defensive pose. In contrast, if you’re happy and relaxed, and the person approaches slowly, then the arms will retract and stay down. It could come in handy on the daily commute!

Picture: Anouk Wipprecht

Good enough to eat

posted 21 April 2015 at 11:06:30

Here’s an enterprising and fun use of a 3D printer, that will make you the envy of your workmates – decorate your lunchtime bento box with cool edible patterns. That’s exactly what Japanese student Yoshihiro Asano from Keio University in Tokyo has done. His converted Solidoodle printer, which he renamed the LunchBot, deposits detailed patterns made of furikake flakes – a tasty Japanese rice seasoning made of spices, seeds, fish and seaweed – on an edible print bed of rice.  Yum!

3D Benchy to the rescue!

posted 19 April 2015 at 20:42:53

Getting the perfect result from FDM 3D printers isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be – and the result can vary from printer to printer. Now, help is at hand in the shape of 3D Benchy. Don’t let this cute boat deceive you though, because its shape and size are specially designed to challenge your 3D printer and test how it performs with regards typical issues such as accuracy, tolerances, resolution, surface finish, small details, overhangs, gaps and so on. Once you’ve downloaded the free STL file, follow the recommended printer settings, hit print and then roughly an hour later 3D Benchy will be ready to check out. Using a calliper, check the print against the measurements provided by the folks at 3D Benchy. Then, armed with all your information you can make the necessary adjustments. Job done!  

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Picture: #3DBenchy