Category Archives: Hobby & Tech

From a Clay Sculpture to a 3D Print with 3D Scanning

Working in such a dynamic sector like 3D printing, it’s normal that the members of the Materialise team are always exploring the creative side of 3D printing and discovering all its possibilities. This story is a good example of how we use every excuse to get creative with 3D printing. Are we obsessed with 3D printing? Maybe, but it’s just so much fun! Steven Demot works as a multimedia designer at Materialise, and creates art in his free time – most recently with clay modeling. When his fantastic creatures were noticed by product development engineer Nils Faber, he put his 3D scanning and 3D design knowledge and skills to work and made the 3D magic happen.  From drawing to 3D print Steven has always drawn fantastical creatures and aliens. A few months ago, he decided to turn his 2D creations into 3D and started sculpting in clay. For this purpose, he chose the design of a big gorilla. Nils scanned the clay figure with a professional 3D scanner and made the first designs of the 3D model using Materialise 3-matic software. After the scan, the file needed to be fixed for 3D printing and the resolution was reduced. By lowering the quantity of triangles to 1/10th, it is possible to reduce the resolution without losing quality. “Then, I added hair to the model with Blender and in the first iteration I could comb and cut the hair like in real life. I just wanted to try how it looked like and it was so much fun!”, explains Nils. Once the model was 3D scanned and fixed it could be handled easily for any purpose: 3D sculpting, painting or uploading for sharing when working in a team or with friends. Nils played with the design by adding some hair to the Model, with stunning results. I added hair to the model  and in the first iteration I could comb and cut the hair like in real life. It was so much fun! The final design was 3D printed in Polyamide (MJF) and dyed black. The material was perfect for showing the fine details of the gorilla’s face. Look at this detailed 3D print! Tips for 3D scanning when 3D printing 3D scanning an object is the fastest way to turn a real object into a 3D design, but there are some important things to take into account. As a scanning expert, Nils gives his advice to turn 3D scans into 3D designs. “The holes are the most crucial parts to be careful with and also any internal cavities that can be difficult to reach with the scan.” “Remember to reduce the amount of triangles before fixing the files, and make sure that the models have light, matte colors. Clay was a perfect material to 3D scan because shiny surfaces are much harder to scan.” The creative possibilities of 3D scanning Steven had the idea of turning his clay creation into a pair of bright cufflinks and 3D printing made it possible. The cufflinks were 3D printed in untreated brass. This material was perfect to keep the details of the 3D design, even when the scale and material changed. This process is a good example of the endless applications of 3D scanning a real object. In this case, scaling up and reducing the models is really impressive. The real model is 30 cm, and the 3D scan was made at a 1/1 scale, but since the design has so much detail it can be blown up to be as big as you like. That means it could be turned into a real gorilla! “This is not too different on how models are created for big Hollywood movies,” according to Nils Faber. “The figure in a different size would explain a whole new story and it would be a great creative exercise,” Steven adds. Coloring the models to find the colors that you like is also an ideal application for a 3D scan, or even replicating the models to apply them onto other objects, such as a décor. Steven is very enthusiastic about the applications of the scan: “As an artist it is enjoyable to make fun stuff with 3D models. I am a big fan of pop culture and a mish-mash of things from the past and present!” The figure in a different size would explain a whole new story and it would be a great creative exercise Ready to 3D scan your figures and get creative with your 3D models? Discover the most popular scanners and 3D scanning software to design your 3D prints. Nils used a professional 3D scanner for this project, but you can also get high-quality 3D scans at home. For example, you can use the app Qlone to 3D scan small objects and 3D print them directly with i.materialise. Once the scans are ready, you can upload your files to our 3D printing platform and decide what the best material and size is for them. What would you like to see the 3D scanned gorilla used for? Let us know in the comments!

3D-Printed Camera Accessories: Improve Your Photography with 3D Printing

One of the main goals of 3D printing is simply to make our lives easier: with a good 3D design and the endless possibilities of the technology, it’s easy to find a solution for your needs. For photographers, it might be the need to take better pictures. By adding just a few small details, you can make taking photos and recording a lot easier. We have put together a compilation of 3D-printed camera accessories that can bring photography to the next level. Get your camera ready for an upgrade with this inspiring 3D-printed camera gear! 1. 3D-printed lens cap holder in polyamide (MJF) by Spruce Sometimes, even the smallest actions can ruin it all. Do you know that annoying feeling when you take the lens cap off your camera and can’t find a place to keep it? Or, even worse, when you lose the lens cap altogether? To avoid these sticky situations, Dutch designer Willem Sparreboom designed this lens cap holder in 3D-printed polyamide (MJF). This 3D printing material is perfect for this camera project because it’s light yet sturdy, and the black color matches the camera perfectly. It’s a simple but smart 3D printing project that allows you to improve your photography experience. 2. 3D-printed GoPro scuba mount in alumide GoPro is the camera of choice for the most adventurous photographers. Those looking for alternative ways to use their cameras can experiment by 3D printing mounts for their GoPro – and tailor it to their wishes. The scuba diver Felipe de la Torre 3D-printed this mount to attach his camera to the side of his diving mask. This 3D-printed camera mount was made in alumide to make it sturdy and lightweight at the same time. It’s certainly an original way to bring 3D printing to the bottom of the sea! 3. 3D design of a telescope adaptor for smartphones in polyamide (SLS) This smartphone adaptor is a birdwatcher’s dream! Conceived by the customer optics company Opticron, the adaptor was designed on Tinkercad and is the perfect gadget for digiscoping. This photo technique allows photographers to capture distant images with their digital camera or smartphone by coupling it with an optical telescope. The gadget is the perfect compact, easy to use and low-cost adaptor to take impressive pictures of nature and birds with a smartphone. The adaptor can also be customized to be used with different smartphones, which allows for a lot of flexibility. The gadget is 3D printed in polyamide (SLS): a lightweight, affordable and sturdy option. 4. Camsports mount for ski goggles in polyamide (SLS) Another popular camera for recording outdoorsy activities is the EVO Camsports. The Dutch designer Monique de Wilt created this mount for ski goggles, enabling the user to record ski tours, snowboard stunts or dirtbike trips without the need to attach a camera to your head. With this polyamide (SLS) holder, you can mount the tiny EVO Camsports camera unobtrusively on the elastic band of your ski goggles. “You can easily and securely attach your camera. So easily that you can even put your camera in the holder without taking your helmet or gloves off. You push the camera in the holder, twist it until you can push it all the way back and twist it until the knob points up. Voila, it is secured, it cannot move back or forth. The holder fits on elastic bands with a width of 4cm,” explains the designer about her gadget. You can find Monique’s 3D-printed camera mount in her online shop. 5. Moonrig for DSLR camera in polyamide (SLS) Another creative and useful 3D printing idea to make the most of your camera is this customized rig for a DSLR camera. DSLR cameras are more affordable than high-end cameras and they offer very high-quality images, but it can be difficult to use them for shooting. So the filmmaker Daniel Samier decided to unite his work as a cinematographer and his interest in 3D printing with this 3D-printed camera rig. Moonrig is a collaboration between Samier and the industrial designers Jan Heinzelmann and Sami Ayadi. To get the perfect design, they talked to other cameramen to know more about their preferences and expectations for a camera rig. The result is a lightweight 3D-printed camera rig in polyamide, perfectly suited to long periods of work. You can find Moonrig camera rigs on their online shop. Did you get inspired by this 3D-printed camera gear? You can also find other ideas to take your camera to the next level with the help of 3D printing by checking out these 3D designs. Whether you design the camera solutions in 3D yourself or you download them from a database, you can upload your 3D file to our 3D printing platform to get it 3D printed. Do you have any 3D-printed projects for your camera? Share them with us on social media! #imaterialise

A Figurine 3D-Printed in Gray Resin: Meet Father Perkins

Imagine bringing your favorite character from an illustrated book to life in the form of a 3D-printed figure! That’s what happened to Father Perkins, the character dreamt up by the author and illustrator John Herzog. Herzog has a background in animation and has dabbled in filmmaking and screenwriting. He turned one of his characters into a real figure with the help of a 3D designer and the possibilities of 3D printing offered by gray resin. He explains how his story came to life in this interview. Turning a character into a 3D figure: from drawing to 3D print Who is Father Perkins, the main character of this story? “I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The character has been with me for the last few years and I’m still figuring out exactly who he is. I think Father Perkins is the embodiment of my desire to make the world a better place. That’s the cerebral answer. The basic answer is that he’s a Catholic priest who’s a dog.”   Father Perkins was originally going to be in a weekly webcomic, so John Herzog thought the character would be good to have as a maquette, allowing him to accurately draw the character from all angles. “While the idea has evolved from a webcomic to a children’s book, it’s still great to have the maquette and 3D model of the character. Consistency is something that often plagues illustrators, so this is a wonderful way to ensure that the character remains on model throughout the book”, explained Herzog. When an illustrator meets a 3D designer The illustrator worked with a professional designer for this 3D design and explained why to us: “While I’ve done some modeling in the past, my skills are incredibly lacking. It’s something I definitely want to get better at in the future. But given my inabilities there, I decided to hire my friend and former classmate Garrett Pond to handle modeling the character. Be sure to check out his wonderful work. The guy is brilliant.” The creative process to 3D printing this figurine started with John drawing the character and handing it to Garrett. “And Garrett, being the amazing modeler he is, was able to have a first pass done fairly quickly – just a couple of days.” After this, the usual back-and-forth with revisions and tweaks started. Josh would provide Garrett with drawings of the model and he would adjust accordingly. Garrett also hollowed out the model so that the printing costs would be significantly less.   It’s all about the right 3D printing choices Joh Herzog decided to 3D print with i.materialise for many reasons:  “I settled on using i.materialise to print because of all the characters I saw on the site. I knew that the complexities of the design would be handled with love and care. Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy with the result. The part I was most worried about was the glasses, but they came out looking amazing!” Gray Resin has the perfect qualities for such a project but Herzog also has an aesthetic reason for choosing the material: “I just liked the color. And typically, the maquettes done at major animation studios are done in either tan or gray, which I’ve always liked.” “I settled on using i.materialise to print because of all the characters I saw on the site. I knew that the complexities of the design would be handled with love and care. Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy with the result. The part I was most worried about was the glasses, but they came out looking amazing!” The magic of turning an illustration into 3D printing This is the only character that John Herzog has turned into a 3D figure so far but it won’t be the last. “I’d love to have more of my characters translated to 3D and printed. There’s something truly magical about the process of taking a flat, drawn series of lines and shapes and turning it into a tangible object. It becomes more real somehow. It’s fantastic.” In between design assignments and new books to write and illustrate, and with the time that the illustration classes that he teaches leave him, Herzog is already thinking about a new character to model and print. The funny thing is that this time it will be a cat. There’s something truly magical about the process of taking a flat, drawn series of lines and shapes and turning it into a tangible object. It becomes more real somehow. It’s fantastic.” Meet all the Herzog characters on his website. Do you also have a favorite character that you want to bring to life?  Once your designs are ready, you can upload them to our 3D printing platform to get an instant quote for your prints.  If you also need help from a professional 3D designer, take a look at the 3D designers on this database. 3D printing in gray resin Gray Resin is the perfect material for creating 3D prints with great surface quality and a high level of detail, and it’s ideal for visual models like figurines. The technology behind Gray Resin is Stereolithography, which you can learn more about 3D printing in resin in this article. Gray Resin comes in a natural finish called “Basic”, or it can be spray-painted in different colors by our production team. Don’t forget to read our Design Guides carefully before starting to design your 3D model for this resin.

Polyamide 3D Printing at Its Best: Solving David Pitcher’s 3D-Printed Puzzles

Do you want to learn how to 3D print your own puzzles? Meet designer David Pitcher and get inspired by his inventiveness and his 3D printing expertise. Challenge accepted? Put an industrial designer with a thing for inventions in the active puzzle scene of Boston and you will get amazing designs! After studying at the Rhode Island School for Design and working as a creator on everything from holograms to light fixtures and store displays, David Pitcher never stops creating intricate block puzzles among other inventions. With about 40 patents in his pocket, he explained to us how he uses 3D printing and 3D printing materials like polyamide to create his impossible, 3D-printed puzzle cubes. Discover more in the interview! What inspired you to create puzzles and how did you join this world? I’ve always loved puzzles, and growing up I would modify things like 15 sliding block puzzles and Rubik’s Cubes to try to create different challenges. My first attempt at a custom design was for a 5x5x5 cube, soon after the original Rubik’s Cube came to America in the 80’s. Of course, this was already in the works in Europe at the time, but it was the first example of a design I created from scratch. Unfortunately, that one never got beyond the drawing pad. Have you always 3D printed your designs or have you also used other methods to create puzzles? I was one of the lucky people to have access to 3D printing very early on. I had one of the first printers on the market, a machine made by Sanders Prototype (now Solidscape). It was a very finicky machine, and the parts were fragile, so they had to be cast using urethane and silicone molds, but I was able to make my first custom puzzles with it in the late ‘90s. Of course, it was the advent of readily available SLS 3D printing through web-based services such as i.materialise that really let my creativity take flight.  It was the advent of readily available SLS 3D printing through web-based services such as i.materialise that really let my creativity take flight. Which advantages does 3D printing have for your designs? Twisty puzzle design as we know it today would not be possible without 3D printing. I have always liked to create puzzles that make the player think differently. Often, this means using axis systems that no one has made before, which means the puzzles cannot be a modification of an existing mechanism. This type of puzzle design would be virtually impossible without 3D printing. Of course, the more complex twisty puzzles get, the more essential it is to use 3D printing as well. This type of puzzle design would be virtually impossible without 3D printing. Of course, the more complex twisty puzzles get, the more essential it is to use 3D printing as well. Which 3D design software do you use to design puzzles? I use SolidWorks to design my puzzles since it has several features that seem almost tailor-made for twisty puzzle design. However, it is an expensive program, and there are now some other good lower cost options available for 3D design such as OnShape. But since I already have SolidWorks, I’ll stick with that for now. How does your creative process work for 3D printing puzzles? The hardest part about designing twisty puzzles is coming up with new ideas. I’m always trying to find interesting geometries that will make the solver think in different ways. This means spending a lot of time studying various geometry texts, playing with shapes in SolidWorks, cutting them up, and trying them out. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to find so many new puzzle geometries with interesting properties. Of course, not all of my puzzles rely on new and weird axis systems. Sometimes I make a new puzzle just because I like the aesthetic of it, even if it isn’t particularly difficult to solve. It’s nice to have some simpler puzzles in the catalogue too since not everyone who is fascinated by twisty puzzles is an expert solver. Whatever my reasons for creating a puzzle though, I always try to bring something new to the world. Which is your favorite material to 3D print the puzzles and why? Polyamide (SLS) is definitely my favourite 3D printing material to use since it has properties that are ideal for twisty puzzles. Polyamide (SLS) is very strong, can be dyed black, and you don’t have to worry about support structures since the powder bed takes care of that. Really the only two drawbacks to SLS are the slight “graininess” of the prints and the expense of the process. This is why I’m very excited about new advances in 3D printing, such as the new Polyamide (MJF) process. Of course in the future as 3D printing advances, I’m sure there will be new materials and processes that will allow even more creativity with puzzle design. Polyamide (SLS) is definitely my favourite 3D printing material to use since it has properties that are ideal for twisty puzzles. Polyamide (SLS) is very strong, can be dyed black, and you don’t have to worry about support structures since the powder bed takes care of that. Which advice would you give to someone who wants to start designing and 3D printing puzzles? The best advice I can give is to start small. Try out something not too complicated, even if it is something that already exists. Get feedback from experts by talking about what you’re trying to do and seek advice in places such as the forum at The community of twisty puzzle enthusiasts is very friendly and open to sharing ideas and advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and put your ideas out there! This way a new designer can avoid a lot of possible mistakes and hopefully create a working puzzle on the first try. After figuring out the best way to make things work, then it’s time to

How to Create Stunning Polyamide (SLS) Prints as a Beginner

Polyamide (SLS) is the material that offers the most freedom of design for 3D printing. It’s also the material that can be finished in the most colors. But sometimes, this is not enough to create the 3D prints of your dreams.  That’s the case of Brian Wise, a 3D printing beginner who successfully finished his first 3D-printed project, from sketch to painted 3D model. Brian Wise recently graduated from college in Philadelphia with a degree in architecture and has been working as an architectural designer for a year and a half. He has enjoyed drawing and modeling since childhood. That’s why it’s no surprise that his design for a boat started with a sketch. In this interview he explained to us what process he followed to finish his first 3D print and how he painted the printed model to match it with the ideal design he had in mind. We see that you mainly work with illustrations. Why did you decide to 3D print a model of the boat? When I was in school, our final design studio had access to a 3D printer, but due to the direction my project went, I was unable to really do anything with it, which felt like a huge missed opportunity.  Now that I’m out of school, I’ve found that I have much more free time with the absence of classes, but have lost the creative outlet that our design studio provided. I tried my hand at a few miscellaneous crafts before starting to get really interested in the idea of 3D printing. Of course, the possibilities of 3D printing are endless, so the process of bringing a 2D drawing to life gave me some focus for this experiment. Is this your first experience with 3D printing? This is indeed my very first print. I looked heavily into acquiring my own 3D printer but was hesitant to purchase plastic-based printers due to wanting to really engage in fine detail and their tendency to visibly layer; and I was unable to afford alternative resin-based printers. Luckily the team at i.materialise was also particularly accommodating. What was the inspiration behind the design of the boat? The process was rather long, though fairly straightforward. It began as an idle sketch while I was in the studio one day, inspired by the exceedingly talented Ian McQue and his fantastical flying boat and industrial paintings. The drawing sat in my sketchbook for over a year until post-graduation, when I became interested in 3D printing. I selected it after scrolling through my old Instagram posts to find an interesting object that I could reasonably model. Over the course of the next week, I 3D modeled it before sending it out to print. Which program did you use for the 3D design? The design was modeled in Rhino 5.0, which I had used heavily and been instructed in as a student for Architectural Visualization, and subsequently purchased only to have it sit around unused on my computer after graduating. Which material did you use and why? I ended up printing the model in polished polyamide (SLS). I certainly didn’t have an excess of money to throw around for a hobby venture like this and was initially discouraged to the point of shelving the project after seeing some of the prices at other websites. Luckily, Polyamide was affordable, allowed for a good level of fine detail, and true to its description on the site was forgiving for a beginner in 3D printing like myself who doesn’t really have a feel for the intricacies of modeling for print. The option of the polished surface was a nice bonus to help reflect the smooth hull of the boat. How did you paint the 3D-printed model? I first coated the model with black spray paint and then used hobby model paints to finish it. Since I had the model printed as one solid block, it was difficult to get into nooks and crannies or to highlight details (something to keep in mind for the next 3D print). By using dry-brushing over the black undercoat, the corrugations, seams, and other tiny details were able to be preserved. After the solid blocks of color were applied, the fine details were added such as rust and striping.  Lettering and graffiti were applied with a white gel-pen. Aside from the gel-pen, all the painting materials were from Game Workshop’s Citadel Paints, which I had used before on miniatures when I was younger. Some of the aspects too small for 3D printing, such as the telephone pole mast and rigging, were sourced from Model Train hobby companies and added after painting. Do you have any other 3D-printed projects for the future? Ever since I started getting into the idea of 3D-printing, I’ve had more ideas than I can list, from scale models like the boat, to jewelry. The joy and possibility of bringing a rough idea from 2D to being able to hold it in your hand is amazing. I would love to begin looking into i.materialise’s ability to print interlocking parts to start bringing some movement and life to these creations. I certainly have plenty of sketches to choose from! We hope that this interview inspires you to 3D print your ideas. As you can see, even a doodle can become a stunning 3D-printed piece with the right tools and 3D printing technology. If you are 3D printing on a budget like Brian, you can upload your models to our 3D printing platform once they are ready and get an instant price quote for your prints in different materials. We love seeing what our community gets up to. Tag us on social media with #imaterialise for a chance to get featured!  

The Beauty and Simplicity of Simply BU’s 3D-Printed World

Simply BU is the brand behind Burçin Urçak, a Turkish interior architect based in Belgium with a remarkable talent for 3D printing. She has brought her designing talents to the 3D printing world with stunning jewelry and accessories. This designer merges her interest for new technologies and materials with 3D printing, up-cycling and 3D game design. Welcome to the world of Simply BU! When and why did you decide to become a designer? Since my childhood, I have always been very creative. But despite knowing that I love designing, I never thought about doing it professionally. After high school, trying to understand who I was and what I wanted to do in my life, I participated in a month of art classes at an art school thanks to a suggestion from my parents. The course included photography, interior design, painting and more. After that, I realized I couldn’t live without designing: it’s who I am and I decided to go for it. Where do you get your inspiration from? Generally, I am inspired by geometric forms. For example, I have many square and cubic designs. However, for my last designs, I got inspired by nature and Voronoi Patterns. Now I play with more curvy and organic forms. How would you sum up your style in a few words? The beauty of simplicity. What is your normal workflow for a new project? Contrary to most designers, I do not really sketch. When I am inspired, I directly have my version of the form in my mind and I draw it in a 3D program, make copies and start playing with different versions of the idea. I find it clearer to work with a 3D model than a drawing. After modeling, then comes the most important part for me: prototyping. I test the design by printing it with my own printer. For some designs, I remember doing at least ten prototypes in order to find the correct thickness, strength, comfort, fluent form and a better reaction from the customer. I find prototyping is an ongoing process. When I was designing in the beginning, I was more careless, but nowadays when I design, I have learned to pay more attention to the printability of the design for the material I want to use. I pay more attention to its technical details, thickness, unnecessary and heavy vertex information, etc. So my workflow still changes with experience, designing and testing more. What is your favorite 3D printing material to work with? My favorite material is polyamide. It’s affordable for the designer and the customers. I also really like the fact that it can be painted literally in any color. A polyamide print can be turned into a unique piece by playing with the tone of colors, like ombre dyeing techniques or painting in multiple colors. The number of options gives so much freedom to the designer. Which 3D modeling software do you use? I use Blender to model.  It’s open-source, very easy to use and it has very artistic modifiers that save a lot of time for certain complex models. It helps me a lot as I make a lot of copies of one idea and I can still go back and change the model very easily without getting lost in thousands of vertexes. What is the main advantage of using 3D printing for your designs? With 3D printing it’s possible to manufacture very detailed, complex designs that may not be possible or would be very hard and time-consuming to be manufactured by other traditional methods or certain materials. It also offers different material choices. One design can be printed in many different materials. I love that it offers so much freedom! When and how did you get introduced to the world of 3D printing? I got introduced to the world of 3D printing in 2010 when I was still studying architecture in Belgium. I saw some examples of architectural models and the following years after that I saw more DIY 3D printers from makers and Fablabs. At the end of 2014, I got my own 3D printer and I got more and more involved with the technology since then. What is the biggest challenge you face in your jewelry business? My biggest challenge is to turn some extreme, possibly uncomfortable models into usable, comfortable pieces of jewelry. As I use a lot of square and cubic forms, some of my rings have sharp edges. Most people are already not used to square rings and uncomfortable forms make them question them even more. So my challenge is to find a way to soften sharp forms but still keep the identity of the piece. How is 3D printing improving your creative business? The most important thing is that 3D printing makes things very efficient. I should say I support the designers that make handmade, artisan products but that process requires the designer to be there from the first step to the last. You have to be fully present and dedicate yourself to a relatively long making process. With 3D printing, after designing and prototyping, you are ready to go. For me, 3D printing is a smart, creative way of doing business. With less working hours and effort, you create time and energy to do anything you want.   Discover more about the Simply BU jewelry pieces on Burçin’s online shop and get inspired by her beautiful Facebook and Instagram feeds. Learn more about polyamide (SLS) and how laser sintering works to understand the possibilities of 3D printing with this material and technology. Once your designs are ready to 3D print, you can upload them to our online 3D printing platform.  

This Vintage Car Gets a 3D Printed Upgrade

How do you create a 3D printed piece that amazes everyone, from little kids to mechanics, drivers, automotive enthusiasts and even photographers? Read the story of Chris James Champeau, a director, editor and visual effects virtuoso, who created a beautiful hood ornament for his father-in-law and fell in love with 3D printing. Meet Chris James Champeau, the designer behind the hood ornament Chris James Champeau is a visionary director, editor and visual effects virtuoso, based in Los Angeles, California. He has worked with high-profile musicians on documentaries, music videos and commercials and can turn the simplest shot into a thing of beauty. From an early age, he’s been passionate about hunting, fishing, camping and of course football, and now he can definitely add 3D printing to that list. The first time Chris thought about 3D printing was about seven years ago. At the time, he was working together with Dave Stewart (singer-songwriter of the Eurythmics). They decided to create digital bobblehead avatars for everyone in the office and they wanted to have each one 3D printed. Unfortunately, at that time, Chris’s models weren’t fully developed for 3D printing yet. He never really revisited the notion of 3D printing until now with this hood ornament. When Chris received his 3D-printed hood ornament, he found the results so breathtaking that he immediately knew it wasn’t going to be a once-and-for-all sort of thing. He got so fascinated by 3D printing that a few other projects are already in the pipeline. The 3D Printed Hood Ornament For the last couple of years, Chris and his wife would build something unique and different each year for the birthday of his father-in-law. His father-in-law races a 29 Model A Speedster, so, first they built him a lamp out of the carburetor that he runs, a Stromberg 81. The year after, they built him a one-off tool roll from leather and canvas with tools conformant to the period. However this year, they couldn’t decide what to build or buy for him. For years, he had had a hood ornament on his Speedster, but about a year ago, he was towed off the track at Road America and the tow strap happened to catch the hood ornament and damaged it quite severely. The ornament was beyond repair. So, when it came to his birthday this year, Chris and his wife decided to look for a new hood ornament. They spent a lot of time searching around for another one, but they didn’t find anything they liked. After thinking about it and watching a few video tutorials on zBrush, Chris decided that it would make sense to create his own. He had never 3D printed anything in the past and was pretty unfamiliar with the process. He started with some primitive shapes in zBrush and slowly sculpted the character into his own. After about a week or two of solid round-the-clock work, he had pretty much turned himself into a zBrush expert and had the model ready to go. He started looking into how to turn the model into a real tangible object, which led him straight to our 3D printing service, i.materialise. And this is how the hood ornament came to life. From Idea to 3D Printed Reality Chris does a lot of 3D work for visual effects almost every day and when working in 3D, he prefers to use Cinema4d. It’s the first 3D software Chris has ever used and since he is highly experienced with it, it is the quickest solution. However, when it comes to 3D printing, he has used two different programs that are more geared towards the world of 3D printing: zBrush is his go-to for organic modeling and Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is what he uses as his CAD go-to software. The most difficult part of realizing this project was that he had never worked with zBrush before. He had tooled around with it a few times in the past but never actually sculpted a final project. So, when it came to creating this model, he experienced a pretty steep learning curve to create exactly what he imagined in his head. When the time came to turn his model into 3D printed reality, Chris had to choose a material. He definitely wanted it to be chrome-plated and he knew that it had to be metal of some sort, because he was going to need to drill-tap the bottom of the ornament to mount it on top of the radiator cap. After browsing the i.materialise website, brass seemed to be the ideal option in regards to size and detail retention – and since we offer a chrome-plated brass finish, it was definitely a no-brainer! There were two main advantages Chris found to 3D printing this hood ornament. First of all, 3D printing allowed him to create his model in a digital 3D environment, which he was more comfortable with compared to hand sculpting. And moreover, he would have had to compromise quite a bit of detail, quality and overall finish if he had opted to do it any other way than 3D printing. So, what about the final result? A few weekends ago, Chris’s father-in-law debuted the new hood ornament at the Amelia Island Vintage Grand Prix and it yielded an overwhelmingly positive reaction from everyone; little kids, mechanics, drivers, automotive enthusiasts and photographers couldn’t help but notice the unique ornament. When they found out it was 3D printed, they were absolutely floored! Interested in getting a high-quality 3D print yourself? Simply upload your 3D file here, choose from our large selection of 3D printing materials, and let us take care of printing your object on our professional 3D printers.

A 3D Printed Steampunk Apple Watch Cover in Copper

Learn how Jeremy Burnich created a 3D printed steampunk cover for his Apple Watch. The design was modeled in Rhino and ZBrush and manufactured in 3D printed copper by i.materialise. Finding the right 3D printing material Jeremy has worked with 3D printed bronze and silver for other watch cases before. However, to achieve the true Steampunk aesthetic, he needed a different material: “This cover had to be copper”, he told us. “I’ve been trying to get something made in copper ever since i.materialise started offering it as a 3D printing material. Copper is a beautiful metal that gains character through use and is lustrous when polished so I really wanted to work with it. With this project, I knew I had a good candidate for something affordable and castable.” The 3D modeling process Jeremy already started with a base 3D model of the case that he had created for earlier 3D printing projects. Now the challenge was to give this case a true Steampunk look: “The real big thing that I had to do before remodeling was to get ideas about how I wanted this thing to look. Steampunk items look very high tech in an old tech way.” To get inspiration, Jeremy searched for inventions from the industrial age that he could use: 19th century steam boilers, turbines, dynamos, electrical transformers, etc. Since the Apple Watch obviously runs on electricity Jeremy decided that the cover was going to have to look like it used a boiler of some kind to convert steam to reciprocating motion to generate electricity to power the watch. “Since one side had the digital crown and a button I decided that would be the control area of ‘the machine’. The bottom quarter would house steam fittings, the left quarter would be the gears and a connecting rod, and the top quarter and bezel would have electrical related things. And the whole case itself would be the boiler.” Getting the copper 3D print After uploading his 3D model to the i.materialise website, Jeremy simply had to select the ‘copper’ option and let us take care of producing the piece. Since some of the model details were quite small, there was a risk that some parts might not be as visible as envisioned. In these cases, we contact the designer and give him the possibility to proceed with the order or to re-model the part: “One of many nice things about i.materialise is that they won’t just cancel your order if it’s something that has some potential manufacturing issues. After their engineers complete their manual review of the model, they will contact you and explain the potential problems, and ask if you want to proceed.” While waiting for the part to be printed and shipped, Jeremy bought a green leather band for Apple Watches on Amazon. A couple of days later, both the print and the band arrived: “When UPS drove up I pretty much ran out to door to get the package and ran back inside to open it up.  I was really pleased with what I saw. Every other detail looked perfect. I especially liked how the little ‘control hood’ over the button came out – it’s my favorite part of the cover.” Post-finishing the 3D print Even though Jeremy liked the bright and shiny appearance, he decided to go through with giving the cover a surface treatment: “I waited a few days then said ‘What the hell’ and dumped it in a solution of liver of Sulphur and hot water. The surface changed pretty much instantaneously from shiny coppery orange to a matte charcoal black. There was no going back now.” The now oxidized cover required some careful Dremel work. The steam fittings and the ‘electric wires’ on the bottom and top would be very susceptible to damage, so he had to be careful. Jeremy switched bits frequently depending on if he wanted scratches, high polish, or something in between. It had to look beat up but also cared for, like a real piece of machinery at a manufacturing plant. When he was satisfied with the look, he applied some Renaissance Wax to protect the patina. Get your own Apple Watch case or professional 3D print If you want to get this Steampunk Apple Watch cover for yourself, you can guy it in Jeremy’s Etsy shop. If you want to learn more about the designer himself, we invite you to visit his personal blog. If you want to know how much your 3D model would cost as a professional 3D print in copper or in 100 other materials and finishes, simply upload your 3D file here for instant pricing.

Exploring 3D Printing in Furniture Design: Jon Christie’s State-of-the-Art Furniture

Meet Jon Christie, a former DJ who discovered a passion for Scandinavian furniture, design, and 3D printing. In his latest project, John explored 3D printing in furniture design and has been enhancing chairs and tables with smartly modeled 3D printed parts. Jon’s state of the art furniture is both exciting and elegant in equal measures. His table and chair designs blend traditional craftsmanship, modernist design, and state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. “When I took my first trip to Denmark with my wife I couldn’t believe the furniture I was seeing in people’s houses,” Jon told us. “This didn’t look like any furniture I had ever seen before and I had never seen people take such pride in it either. I instantly fell in love with these beautiful, elegant, timeless designs. “I came back and learned everything I could about the wonders I had seen and developed a real passion for furniture and lighting, especially mid-20th century or Modernist design. Before I returned to academia I made my living from it but it got to the point four years ago when I felt I had to give it a go as a designer. The furniture I admire most has a high degree of craftsmanship, features beautiful natural materials and has proved to be timeless. My final year at university has been about creating furniture to be proud of. My project has looked at how 3D printed parts can be used to assist the maker by removing expensive, wasteful and time-consuming elements from the construction process. I didn’t know anything about 3D printing but through a lot of trial, error, sweat, and tears I like to think I’ve become something of an expert and have now mastered the substitution of tricky woodworked parts with 3D printed joints. This means fewer complicated wooden components will be needed for the construction process in both large and small-scale manufacturing. The 3D modeling software I used to design the chairs and table was SketchUp but I switched to Rhinoceros recently. I made the rest of the furniture using traditional crafts skills. Every single component has a function and that’s where the design brings the traditional skills and technology together. It is important to me that 3D printing isn’t seen as a replacement for these traditional skills but another tool for the maker to use to complement them. 3D printing is a subject I have been interested in since my first year in college six years ago, when I discovered how quick and easy it was to draw a 3D object and then have it made. My first 3D printed project was a small bottle opener called Sleeping Bull, printed in stainless steel… and after your first print you’re hooked. For me, 3D printing makes it possible to design furniture with much greater freedom to create complicated geometry or sculptural forms, prototype quickly or manufacture to a high standard. If these were traditional chairs they would need to be put together and sent in a large box to the customer. With the 3D printed joints, furniture can be sent disassembled for quick assembly at its destination. The process allows for cheaper distribution, mass customization, less waste, quicker production times and a host of other benefits. The chair and table can be tailored at minimal cost to the customer’s dimensions, their choice of color and hardwood. I chose natural white Polyamide to make my prototypes as it gives a good contrast against the walnut I was using to highlight the connections for my degree show. I didn’t post-process the Polyamide in any way after I received the parts from i.materialise, as it has a wonderful granular surface which people can’t stop touching.” You can see more of Jon’s work and get in touch with him via his personal website. Interested in getting a high-quality 3D print yourself? Simply upload your 3D file here, choose from our large selection of 3D printing materials, and let us take care of printing your object on our professional 3D printers.

Top 10 3D Printed Halloween Ideas

Are you looking for ways to bring 3D printing into your Halloween celebrations? Then look no further. In this article, we will show you the top 10 3D printed Halloween ideas – all the way from terrifying zombie figurines to spooky jewelry. 1. Skull Whistle Pendant by Michael Mueller “This tiny whistle is damned loud! It’s so noisy, you might be able to wake up the deceased. Therefore, beware of using it near cemeteries on spooky nights!” You can get your own 3D printed copy of this gold-plated brass ring right here on Michael’s i.materialise shop. 2. Zombie by Milos Tutus Milos Tutus is one of the best designers when it comes to scary figurines. Just check out his detailed zombie 3D print in Gray Resin that he designed entirely in ZBrush. 3. Halloween Pumpkin by Pforms You can use this 3D printed pumpkin as a small lantern with a LED candle. And of course, it comes in our orange-dyed Polyamide (nylon plastic). 4. 3D-Rex by Octavio Asensio The 3D-REX is a 3D printed Tyrannosaurus Rex skull for your desk. The design is also proof that complex geometric mesh can easily be created with the help of 3D printing. You can get your own copy of this design in gold-plated brass here. 5. Brainz the Techno Zombie by Matt Bagshaw Of course, we couldn’t possibly compile a list like this without featuring a design by Matt Bagshaw: “This is Brainz, He’s got a laptop optimized for Zombie internet shopping and a very open mind. Brainz removed the top of his own head to make space for his massive intellect!” You can get your copy of this design here. 6. Mammoth Skull Ring by Universe Becoming This terrifying skull was created by sculptural artist James William Kincaid and printed with us in Antique Sterling Silver. He spent a great deal of time sculpting this to be as actuate as possible anatomically. This ring gets people’s attention because it’s huge and commanding: “Out of all of the jewelry sculptures that I’ve created thus far I love wearing this one the most!” 7. Stylized Skull by Marius Ivaskevicius This little skull by designer Marius Ivaskevicius makes a perfect bead for a bracelet or pendant. It was 3D printed in Sterling Silver and can be purchased right here on the i.materialise shop. 8. Ram Skull by Scott Camazine Now this is another cool design: Scott Camazine took a real CT scan of a ram skull and transformed it into this stunning 3D print with our Gray Resin material. 9. Alien by Milos Tutus Yet another bad-ass 3D print from Milos Tutus! Take a look at his scary-looking alien overlord that we printed in Multicolor. 10. Goat Skull Another jewelry designer perfect for Halloween is this Goat Skull by Noah Hähnel. This spooky piece is a beautiful tribute to nature and the rural world. Read more about this young designer on the interview we recently made him. The Halloween-Piguin by i.materialise Last but not least our very own mascot, the Piguin, made it on this list. He decided to put a pumping over his head to perfectly fit into any Halloween party.