Sep 2, 2017 | By Tess

A Japanese programmer who goes by the Twitter handle “nue” has created a 3D printed dish that reveals a stunning image when soy sauce is poured into it.

When it comes to merchandising, it takes a lot to impress us, especially when franchises such as Star Wars pull out all the stops for their products. Sometimes, however, it’s not the official merchandise that is the most exciting, but what fans create themselves with 3D design and printing—this 3D printed Hodor doorstop for instance. Recently, we were blown away by another piece of unofficial 3D printed merchandise created by Japanese Twitter user “nue”: a 3D printed soy sauce dish that reveals an anime character when soy sauce is poured in.

It’s the type of thing you really have to see to believe, and we can imagine that it took the maker a long time to design and perfect. As you can see in the photo, when filled, the 3D printed dish reveals a stunningly clear image of an anime character, specifically Darjeeling from the anime series Girls und Panzer. The series, for those unfamiliar with recent anime, centered on a girl’s high school tank warfare competition (intriguing, right?).

To make the dish, nue first had to digitally design an image of Darjeeling and then carefully applied different depths to the 3D model. Essentially, the different colors that appear when soy sauce is poured into the dish occur from varying depths of the condiment—the deeper the section, the darker the color. And while the concept seems relatively simple, we can imagine figuring out how deep to print certain grooves for a high contrast was quite a challenging and specific task.

For instance, looking at the outline of the hair, as well as the highlights on the hair and eyes, it is clear that nue was not prepared to sacrifice any detail for the Girls und Panzer soy sauce dish. Based off the photo, it truly looks like a sepia render of the anime character’s face, and not like something you could dip a piece of sushi into.

If you’re inspired by nue’s work, you can always take a look at the maker’s 3D models and design diagrams for the 3D printed dish. We can only imagine how long it will take for other makers to step up to the challenge and create condiment receptacles that reveal their own favorite characters or even hidden messages. Just imagine sitting down to a lunch, pouring sauce in your dish only to find Jon Snow looking back at you!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Jon S wrote at 9/3/2017 12:25:24 AM:

This is a very nice technique. It's essentially the inverse of a lithophane, which when back-illuminated shows a picture, with thicker areas appearing darker. Seeing as the online lithophane generators (I use - no affiliation) allow the image to be inverted, it should be easy to generate these soy sauce trays with already-available tools. The thought occurs to me that a nice adaptation could be pouring in casting resin with dye added.

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