April 17, 2014

Double Circle is a series of on-line animated short movies set, which takes place in the "Smart City" of Kawasaki, Japan. In collaboration with the city of Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japanese electronics corporation Toshiba created the series that features citizens who transform into heroes symbolizing different forms of renewable energy. Notably, Toshiba used 3D printing to create figurines of the anime's main characters.

Double Circle encompasses two concepts: infinitely-evolving energy; and a comfortable city realized with the information and communication technology (ICT) of the smart community business. Each film in the series will see citizens of Kawasaki transformed into heroes who battle and overcome the enemy; the evolving smart community and renewable energy versus a world where time stand still / a world where is without color.

Designs by Gatchaman Crowds' KINAKO, figurines of the anime's main characters, which represent various forms of smart power, were brought to life via 3D printing. Each of the nine figurines stands about 15 cm tall (6 inches) and made of full color plaster.

The characters are first designed in 3D modeling software, which are then converted into a data format that is used for 3D printer. The 3D printer uses gypsum powder, which is a white mineral that's also used to create plaster. Inside the 3D printer, a thin profile image of each character is printed onto plaster powder with full coloring ink. The printer uses an inkjet cartridge to deposit liquid binder, essentially glue, onto the surface binding the powder layers together. This process is repeated multiple times as layers are added according to the data.

After the formation is complete, figurines are removed from the plaster powder. Next, any extra plaster powder is carefully removed by airbrushing. Non-stick glue is poured on as a coating to increase durability and to bring out the colors. After the surface dries, it is polished to remove any roughness on the surface. At last, a wax is lightly applied and melted in the oven. When the surface dries again, the figurine is complete.

Toshiba uploaded a video on YouTube to demonstrate the 3D printing process, see below.

The figurines are on display at the Toshiba Science Museum in Kawasaki.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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jd90 wrote at 4/19/2014 3:52:36 PM:

wonderereerer, no. Read the fourth paragraph. This is much like an inkjet printer with a Z axis.

jd90 wrote at 4/18/2014 6:21:22 AM:

OK, the build process described sounds like one of the 3D Systems machines. Given characters personify an industry, I don't see how this is popular, but then, Hetalia seems popular too. This one might be a bit pushy on its message though.

wondererereerer wrote at 4/17/2014 11:50:50 PM:

so... the color is painted/applied after printing?

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