3D printed model of Coney Island's Luna Park

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Sideshow veteran/artist The Great Fredini 3D printed a sprawling 1:13 scale model of Coney Island's early 20th century Luna Park, and my friend Ronni Thomas made a short documentary about the project!

From the press release:

The project garnered worldwide attention last summer, when Kahl raised over $16,000 on Kickstarter to build a “bot farm” in support of the endeavor. A year later, he has 3D scanned hundreds, if not thousands, of Coney’s denizens and visitors who will be featured in the installation. The show will include hundreds of 3D prints comprising over 10,000 hours of print time and the installation will fill an entire gallery of the museum’s newly reopened space.

“Luna Park has a special place in history, a witness to the society being transformed by technology. These are the themes that are relevant to us today as our world undergoes the third industrial revolution,” said Kahl. “This piece is also about a deep love of Coney Island as the cultural melting pot and showcase for presenting cutting-edge technology as entertainment.”

Design as parameterization: brute-forcing the manufacturing/ design problem-space

Here's something exciting: Autodesk's new computer-aided design software lets the designer specify the parameters of a solid (its volume, dimensions, physical strength, even the tools to be used in its manufacture and the amount of waste permissible in the process) and the software iterates through millions of potential designs that fit. The designer's job becomes tweaking the parameters and choosing from among the brute-forced problem-space of her object, rather than designing it from scratch.

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Japanese man arrested for 3D printing and firing guns


Japanese police arrested a 27 year old man called Yoshitomo Imura, alleging that he 3D printed several guns and posted videos to Youtube of himself firing it. They say they seized five guns from Imura's home in Kawasaki City. The videos showed that two of these guns were capable of firing rounds -- what sort isn't specified -- through a stack of ten sheets of plywood, and this caused Japanese police to class them as lethal weapons. A Japanese press account has Imura admitting to printing the guns, but insisting that he "didn't know they were illegal."

As I wrote a year ago when 3D printed guns first appeared on the scene, the regulatory questions raised by them are much more significant than the narrow issue of gun control. But there's a real danger that judges, lawmakers and regulators will be distracted by the inflammatory issue of firearms when considering the wider question of trying to regulate computers.

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Unboxing a Makie doll

I just spent ten delightful minutes watching this vlog in which Pixie Blossom unboxes her new, custom, 3D printed Makie doll. She ordered one of the last, limited run of green-skinned dolls, and specified that it be only lightly decorated so that she could give it a total makeover. The result, presented with contagious glee in the final act, is a great testament to her creativity and the idea of giving people toys that are intended to be remade by their owners.

The video was a hit in our household because my wife, Alice Taylor, is the CEO and founder of Makielab, where the Makie dolls come from.

3D printer that lays down conductive traces as it goes

Rabbit Proto is a print-head for the Reprap open 3D printer design that can deposit conductive traces alongside of structural plastic elements, effectively embedding printed circuits directly into the structure of its output. In the video above, a Rabbit Proto prints both the chassis and the the wiring for a game-controller in a single process. A properly designed 3D model could use snap-fit electronic components that directly connected to the internal traces for quick finishing.

The Rabbit Proto is open source hardware and comes from a collective of Stanford engineering grad students. If you don't want to build your own, they'll sell you one, in various states of ready-to-go-ness, at prices ranging from $350 to $2500 (the top price includes a printer, too)>

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3-D printed portable wheelchair ramps

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Thingiverse user Nanonan 3D-printed small wheelchair ramps to carry in his bag as he rolls around Berlin. Simple and effective! Download the files here.

3D printed tumors improve surgical outcomes

A team at Kobe university is improving tumor removal by 3D printing cancerous organs with their tumors, modelled on CT scans. The team use the models to visualize and plan their surgeries.

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Successful implant of 3D printed skull

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Utrecht neurosurgeons 3D-printed a large section of a skull and implanted it in a 22-year-old woman with a bone disorder. According to the University Medical Centre Utrecht, this is the first time such a large implant has been successful without rejection, so far anyway. After three months, the patient is back at work and, according to the surgeon, "it is almost impossible to see that she's ever had surgery." (Wired.co.uk, thanks Wes Allen!)

3D-printed filigree brain cuff

Josh Harker's beautiful and bizarre "21st Century Self-Portrait" [via JWZ] defies easy explanation, so I'll just let him do it!

Based on a 3D scan of his face & CT scan of his skull, coupled with his filigree aesthetic the piece allows both forms to be viewed simultaneously juxtaposing the newfound reaches of our vision, discovery & technology against our vulnerability, privacy & humanity. The disembodied head suggests our increasing digital disconnect from the physical world & reexamination of reality. Exhibit debut at 3D Printshow New York, February 12th-15th.

Kickstarting an Arduino-based Enigma machine

ST Geotronics have exanded their Instructables project for building your own Arduino-based Enigma and turned it into a Kickstarter. $40 gets you some boards you can kit-bash with; $125 gets you the full kit; $300 gets you the whole thing, beautifully made and fully assembled.

The Open Enigma Project (Thanks, Tina!)

Putin your butt


Reddditor Amzfx created a Putin butt-plug by way of commentary on Russia's invasion of Crimea, and he's selling them on Shapeways for €20.22. The print medium seems a little too porous for safe sex play, and the nose looks like a likely candidate for painful snagging. Amznfx has more political 3d prints in his repertoire.

Check out my 3d printed Putin Butt plug (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

HOWTO make glowing, 3D printed cyberpunk spikes

Phil and Limor from Adafruit write, "Make your own flexible, spiky, glowing accessory using NeoPixel strip diffused by NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing filament! Magnets let you attach the spikes to anything in your wardrobe. The soft flexible enclosure holds GEMMA, the tiny microcontroller that animates the LEDs, and a rechargeable lipoly battery."

Cyberpunk Spikes (Thanks, Pt and Limor!)

Librarybox beta goes 2.0: self-powered Wifi file-server that fits in your pocket


Jason writes with an update to the amazing, kickstarted Librarybox project: "The LibraryBox Project, as a part of its ongoing efforts to bring information to areas without communication infrastructures, announced the release of the v2.0 public beta today. Boing Boing was kind enough to post about the very successful Kickstarter from July and this is the next stage of the project arising from that funding.

"LibraryBox is an open source digital distribution device, designed to route around both censorship and poor infrastructure by creating a hyperlocal digital file distribution point for use by libraries, educators, or anyone who wants to share files quickly and easily. The v2.0 release makes building your own LibraryBox easier than ever, while increasing the customizability and flexibility of the interface."

LibraryBox v2.0: Portable Private Digital Distribution (Thanks, Jason!)

Openknit: a Reprap-inspired open source knitting machine

The Openknit project is a Reprap-inspired, open source hardware knitting machine that can produce an adult-sized garment from yarn and a digital file in about an hour. The project includes plans for the machine, free/open software for designing clothes, and a promise to deliver STL files so you can print out the parts on your 3D printer.

Knitting, crochet, and other textile arts are, of course, a longstanding form of 3D printing -- using machines to deposit, align and interlock a feedstock to form 3D objects.

The Openknit garments are rather beautiful, as you can see from the Flickr set. If you're interested in understanding the underlying system, here's a good explanatory animation. It shows a high degree of ingenuity and skill on the part of the designers.

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3D printed, slinkoid skull-sculpture

Ryan sez, "This is the spiral skull that I created in Zbrush and got printed in strong, flexible nylon. It's being featuring at the 3D Printshow in NYC which wraps up Saturday." It's called "Mortal Coil" (clever!) and it's €66.59 and up on Shapeways. If this sort of thing excites and amuses you as much as it does me, don't miss the fan-folded paper slinkoid sculptures of Li Hongbo.