Jun 18, 2017 | By David

When it comes to LGBT issues and ideas of gender fluidity, 3D printing technology has traditionally had, at best, a neutral stance. As useful as additive manufacturing processes can be for various industries, they’re definitely not the first thing you think of as agents of social progress. However, a politically motivated project recently posted on Instructables by a hobbyist could be about to change all that, hopefully for the better. It’s a 3D printed bathroom sign, that switches back and forth between the male ‘Gentlemen’ symbol and the female ‘Ladies’ symbol every 15 seconds.

Instructables user Robb Godshaw is a former art student from Carnegie Mellon. His ingenious 3D printing idea was inspired by the heated debate that arose in the U.S last year over gendered bathroom use. Legislation was proposed that would prevent trans people from using the bathrooms they wanted to use, which was met with serious resistance from many camps. A lot of the more progressively-inclined institutions around the country responded by systematically de-gendering their toilet facilities.

Robb wanted to use his 3D printing expertise to acknowledge this political situation and contribute towards the safety of people of all genders. The sign he made highlights the absurdities of traditional signs, which fail to recognize more than 2 genders, insist that men wear pants and ladies wear dresses, and seem to think disposal of bodily waste is somehow related to all this. As he says in his Instructables introduction, ‘A future without gendered bathrooms is a future where all people wait the same amount to time for the bathroom. it is a future where no one is afraid to pee because of who they are. and thankfully, It is a future we seem to be heading towards.’’

The design of Robb’s gender-hopping bathroom sign uses a simple crank mechanism, driving the left arm. The smooth harmonic motion of this opening arm displays the pants and dress shapes for an equal amount of time. He put the designs for the mechanism together in Fusion 360 after struggling with other software applications, which weren’t ideally suited to the half-graphic design, half-mechanical engineering project.

After creating the CAD file, Robb just needed something that would be able to provide the necessary rotary motion to power the sign, so he decided to take a motor from the turntable of an old microwave. Quite literally a motor of social change, this 220V AC model was perfect for the job, although he says that a solar powered option would be preferable as it would negate the need for any complicated wiring.

Once he sent the CAD files to be 3D printed from his FDM machine, which took about 8 hours, everything was ready to be assembled. A metal pin was added and the circuit board soldered, and his simple yet aesthetically pleasing bathroom sign was ready to oscillate its way to a brighter, more inclusive future. Anyone interested in emulating Robb’s project should take a look at the Instructables page, where a detailed step-by-step guide is provided with helpful tips. While the archaic gender binary imposed by society as a result of ignorance, fear, and prejudice will probably not be entirely destroyed by this 3D printed bathroom sign, it’s absolutely a step in the right direction, both for trans rights and for the DIY 3D printing world.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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LOL wrote at 6/28/2017 8:06:14 PM:

Let keep this website about 3D print related stuff only. But since you went there. "gender binary imposed by society" HA, try biology you idiot. Go look at your DNA, your either born male or female unless your one of the very very few who are born with both sex organs (AKA genetic defect) How many genders does the animal kingdom have? it's not 25+, its only 2...GET IT TWO..... Male and Female. I haven't heard of any dogs who are born male wanting to get changed over to female. What a farce! Just another way the homo's are trying to validate their poor choices in life. They feel bad about their life choice, so they try and get the rest of the world to validate it by pushing their deviant behaviors on everybody else by saying that it's all "Normal" Why is the rest of the world trying to pander to this small cult? Less that 5% of population are gay...per LGBT own words.

GarbageArticle wrote at 6/23/2017 9:21:55 PM:

Together we can normalize and politicize a serious mental illness! So progressive!

Anonymous wrote at 6/23/2017 6:46:27 PM:

"While the archaic gender binary imposed by society as a result of ignorance, fear, and prejudice will probably not be entirely destroyed by this 3D printed bathroom sign, it’s absolutely a step in the right direction, both for trans rights and for the DIY 3D printing world." I fail to see how the 'archaic gender binary' somehow reduces or limits the DIY 3D printing world? Are there printers out there targeted to only boys? Is the color pink on a printer too feminine for all those macho alligator wrestling folks? Please stick to technology discussions and leave the SJW/political rants to many of the other websites that cater to that type of stuff.

Joe Dun wrote at 6/21/2017 8:03:51 PM:

3D printing has been used before to help people with body dysphoria. I have made mascot costumes for a few schools. I was surprised when I found that there were those who wear such costumes socially, and briefly corresponded with a guy, who felt he was really a wolf. Since 3D printing has been used for mascot costumes for a while, I am sure some have used it to help them dig deeper into their delusions. The gender identity situation is one where the LGBT community is seeking to force people to submit to their will. Which is especially bad when it comes to places like locker rooms and showers. I am sorry to see that 3ders.org has chosen to approve of these things.

-Robb Godshaw wrote at 6/21/2017 3:28:57 PM:

Hi All! I did the layout for printing in Rhino, which I love dearly. However it is horrible for mechanical things, and I did all design in Fusion360. Richard, I think you will look back on your stance in 20 years and find yourself on the wrong side of history. Gender isn't fixed at conception, and neither is sex. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_assignment Sexology is science, and you are simply regurgitating outdated cultural norms using scientific language.

Richard wrote at 6/19/2017 8:16:12 PM:

This is so sad. People pump their bodies full of harmful chemicals, mutilate their bodies, all to try to trump biology, a biology that is fixed at conception. Then in regret, commit suicide at far higher rates than society at large. Instead of pandering to this destructive pattern, should we not rather try to help such people accept their biology in order to live long and healthy lives?

Anonymous wrote at 6/19/2017 4:09:37 PM:

I'm so glad that this is a vital 3D printing technology issue.

Micky Mouse wrote at 6/18/2017 10:39:23 PM:

This is so dumb -_-

TRUTH wrote at 6/18/2017 9:58:46 PM:

take about shit print quality. that second to last picture is lol worthy

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