Dec 12, 2015 | By Andre

When it comes to things you can print on your ownt or have printed through an external service provider, there tend to be items that every 3D printing enthusiast has seen or 3D printed themselves. Some quick examples that come to mind include Emmett’s Heart Gears, Yoda, and even MorenaP’s Treefrog.

But when you want to go the extra mile by blowing people away with what is truly possible with 3D printing, I’ve never seen anything come close to the Animaris Geneticu Bellus offering on Shapeways. Designed in collaboration with Dutch artist Theo Jansen (I recommend taking a few minutes to research his work), it truly is a movable feast for your eyes as it swaggers around in miniature form with the slightest touch.

It seems Bo Jansen and Tim van Bentum, the duo that helped miniaturize Theo Jansen’s aforementioned design are at it again with a new creation that might once again dazzle the inquisitive mind. Solar System is just as the title suggests, but also so very much more at the same time. As seen in the video below, it is a model of our Solar System that spins our planets around at varying speeds by a slight turn of the hand. It is likely to impress both children and adults alike and even provides a morsel of education along the way.

From a technical standpoint, the designers had their work cut out for them while once again attempting to create something that arrives out of the printer fully assembled and ready to go. In the end, it's the years of design experience between the duo that contribute to why it only took three prototypes to get things right and ready for the Shapeways marketplace.

Some considerations during the design process included knowing how printing with the nylon based SLS machines works. They wrote in a recent Shapeways blog post that “when designing multi-body mechanisms for 3D printing it is key to think about the removal of the excess material”. They subsequently had to make sure the design remained very open so the powdered support residue could easily be removed without damaging the print but also from clogging up the interplanetary gear mechanism.

At the end of the day, the motivation behind their Solar System “was to create an appealing decorative object, which functions both as a conversation starter, and/or as an educational tool" but also, as they put it, “mind blowing idea of our place in the universe tangible when you can literally hold our solar system in your hands."

Beyond the above, to me, this new release is another reminder of how 3D print savvy designers can create wonderfully complex things providing they understand both the capabilities and limits of what the technology has on offer. It’s a beautiful creation and I’m sure it’ll be keeping more than a few of the massive EOS printers Shapeways has on hand busy for this busy December rush.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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