Marco Mahler, a kinetic sculptor specializing in mobiles, and Henry Segerman, a research fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne, have released a collection of fully 3D-printed mobiles today. An extensive online search did not turn up any fully 3-D printed mobiles made by anyone else yet, making these 3-D printed mobiles apparently the first ones in the world.
The mobiles come out of the 3D-printer completely assembled as shown in the photos. According to the team, the balance points for these mobiles were calculated to 1/1000th of a millimeter (1/25360th of an inch). The models for some of the mobiles were drawn up "by hand", others were created utilizing scripts that they wrote. Some of the mobiles, like Mobile 4.2 (images below), are designed with a very small increase or decrease in thickness from one part to the next, something that is not possible to do with conventional handmade mobiles.
Utilizing scripts also allows for designs that would be very time consuming to make by hand, such as the Quaternary Tree (Level 6), which has 1365 pieces, see the images below.
Marco Mahler and Henry Segerman met via Twitter in early February 2013 when Henry Segerman was looking for suggestions for a motor for one of his 3D printed kinetic sculptures. A conversation ensued about the possibilities for making 3D printed mobiles. After about 300 emails, several conversations over Skype, hundreds of lines of code, a number of test prints and trial-and-error experiments, the result is this collection of mobiles.
All models are available on Mobiles Shapeways store in a white laser sintered nylon plastic, one of the most popular materials for 3d-printing. Some of the smaller models are also available in black and a variety of other colors. The retail prices for these mobiles start at US$10 (Mobile 1) and go to US$600 (Quaternary Tree Level 6).
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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