June 19, 2014

The world is overwhelmed with automatic and electric devices. More attention needs to be paid to the programming equipment to keep the production fast, flexible and extremely reliable. But one Dutch designer, named Daniël de Bruin, wanted to do something different.

"I worked with 3D printers for quite a long time now, but there was one thing bothering me." De Bruin said. " The products that came out of the printer didn't feel mine anymore. They are a product of this new technology. They machine does all the work for me. So I decided to make my own printer to claim back the feeling of making."

De Bruin is a Product design student at the University of the arts Utrecht, Netherlands. His background of model making and architecture helps him achieve his first creation: an analog 3D printer that does not utilize electrical source and computer software. "I love the technology and wanted to stay close to that as possible but without any external forces like electricity or programming." said De Bruin.

De Bruin started with making the main components like the pressing and driver mechanism. From there he figured out how to make the printing platform.

His 3D printer is turned on when the user lifts a 15 kilograms weight. The weight takes around 10 minutes to reach the end, that means every 10 minutes the user must lift the machine to keep the process going. De Bruin explained: "The weight allows me to be still connected with the process. because there is no external force involved like electricity it's still me that's making the print. By physically building and powering the machine the products that come out of it are the result of all the energy that has gone into it."

The rack

The shape of the print is controlled by an aluminium wire. The printing platform is connected to an aluminium wire, so when the platform rotates downwards, the different shapes of the wire changes the motion of the platform and causes the radius of the circle to change.

This wire can easily be formed into any desired shape to print out different sized round objects. "It's amazing how much you can do with just one rotating axis." De Bruin said.

It took him 9 months to create this 3D printer in his spare time. "The most difficult part was to keep the wall thickness the same when the radius becomes bigger." De Bruin said. Since the extrusion rate remains the same, all he needed to do was just to change the speed of platform. De Bruin added two plates, one driven plate and one following plate, on the guiding mechanism and connected them with a small wheel. See a time-lapse of the machine making a print below. The motion of following plate changes the speed of driven plate and causes the platform to spin faster or slower.

De Bruin's 3D printer is equipped with a 2mm nozzle and works with clay, but it also allows you to experiment with various pastes without the need to be heated. The mechanical parts and materials cost him only €150 totally, but De Bruin said the device is not for sale and also not in the near future. The limitation is in shapes, he said, "It's not yet capable of creating shapes other than round ones."

At the moment he is still busy with improving this printer. "I'm graduating next year and maybe I'm going to make a updated version of this one." he said.

De Bruin's analog 3D printer is displayed at EXbunker in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Wilhelminapark 24a, 3581NE, Utrecht) until the end of June.

Check out the nice vases made on de Bruin's 3D printer:

Posted in 3D Printers

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Mmike wrote at 6/20/2014 6:14:08 PM:

I get the back to basics thing but...WTF? If Danny wanted to go all Luddite on us why didn't he just try a potters wheel?

michaelc wrote at 6/20/2014 7:48:26 AM:

I think if you made the controlling wire have smaller more frequent bumps (so they would do a complete cycle in less than 1 revolution) those would affect the roundness the shape. I dont see any reason they could not be used to make triangular or square or oval cross sections. The calculation would be tricky, and varying the speed of rotation would cause alignment problems, but that is all part of the fun.

Hans Fouche wrote at 6/19/2014 8:26:10 AM:

This, is very, very good! Who needs Arduinos? or PC's, or electricity? Congratulation's! (I'm a Mechanical Engineer!)

Dean wrote at 6/19/2014 6:39:30 AM:

What a truly beautiful machine and video!!!--- More amazing than most of the 3D machine or Kickstarter videos I've watched in the last year! I see a definite “Steampunk” quality, whether intended or not. It is worth watching in High Def. on Vimeo if you get a chance! I fear that in just a few years, the once common marriage of pure mechanical elegance and art will be even harder to find.

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