Dec 15, 2014 | By Alec
The Polish 3D printer producer MonkeyFab have recently unveiled something truly remarkable at the 3D Print Show in Warsaw, Poland: a giant replica of Poland's national emblem, the White Eagle. We've already known for some time that MonkeyFab doesn't shy away from printing projects of national importance to the Polish population, having unveiled a 3D printed copy of the Mały Powstaniec statue ('The Little Insurgent') a few months ago, a statue that commerorates the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
Their latest project, however, takes things to an absolutely different level. Not only is their 3D White Eagle a massive five foot tall (1.5 meters), it has also simply been made with a FDM 3D printer. As they revealed on centrumdruku3d.pl, this project has been ongoing since early September.
3D printing enthusiasts from the Polish 3D Printing center had learned about Ukrainian plans to 3D print that nation's coat of arms, and thought 'why should we fall behind our eastern neighbors? Can't we outdo them somehow?' A brainstorming session and a quick call to the MonkeyFab guys – who are always in for a cool project – later, it had been resolved to outdo the Ukrainian effort (1.20 meters) by more than a foot.
But, as the MonkeyFab guys revealed, the project also aims to commemorate Poland's independence, an important notion that strongly influences Polish identity. 'This year we celebrated the 96 anniversary of its independence after 123 years of partitions.' But it is obviously, as the team was quick to admit, also a great opportunity to show what Polish-made 3D printers are already capable of.
As you might have guessed, printing something of that size on a regular 3D printer is nigh to impossible. After all, their standard printing area is 20 x 20 x 20 cm, while the emblem plans called for a 150 x 150 cm object. All in all, the project was divided into four crucial stages:
1. Real 3D scanning of the national emblem.
2. Generating workable and 3D printable models.
3. 3D printing all the composite elements.
The model itself has been based on a 30 cm tall brass replica of the White eagle, but this resulted in a giant, unprintable grid of approximately 90 million triangles. The team were therefore forced to turn to the Polish 3D rendering specialists of CGWisdom, who used Houdini Sidefx software to create the distinctive and printable polygonal shape. As Peter, one of the owners of MonkeyFab explained, this design exactly captured the modern and exceptional character they were aiming to achieve.
This file was subsequently cut into 91 different pieces, all of which were approximately 20 by 20 centimeters and therefore easy to print on the company's signature PRIME 3D printers. As you can imagine, generating 91 different STL files that line up perfectly can be a challenge, and took them approximately a week to complete!
For printing itself, they relied on eight of their PRIME 3D printers that were running non-stop to all these components (each piece took anywhere from five to ten hours to complete). Throughout that process, the MonkeyFab team sacrified 11 kilos of white PLA and 1 roll of gold-colored PLA to complete their giant eagle emblem. The finished pieces were subsequently assembled and attached to a plywood structure, just in time for the convention.
But the results are clearly worth it. Just by the look of it, who would think this emblem wasn't printed as one solid piece?
Fortunately for its creators, the White Eagle proved to be a big hit at the convention as well, and perfectly reflects the state of the 3D printing hobby and industry in Poland. As the MonkeyFab team said themselves, 'White Eagle project is spectacular and we will do our best to soon hear about the world! Is there a better idea to promote the native 3D printing industry, than 3D printers printed national emblem?'
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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