Feb. 13, 2015 | By Rich

Valentine's Day is almost here. Get cozy on Saturday and stream some classic love stories. Guys at GoEngineer and Tandem Motion Picture Studios decided to celebrate sweet love by putting together an interesting animated short film and it's not your typical Hollywood romance featuring your favorite movie stars. This love story, named "SHeLvEd", is a short film featuring a lonely 3D printed robot named Gary, who is desperately seeking love during the late hours of an FDM/FFF 3D print shop. Will Gary find what he's looking for? Watch the short clip below to find out.

Although the duration of the film is just under 5 minutes, the amount of time put into producing it should be noted. GoEngineer CEO, Brad Hansen, along with Tandem Studios President Nathan Smith and GoEngingeer engineers Tyler Reid and Kevin Lynk faced the dilemmas of every screenwriter, such as coming up with a storyline and who the protagonist would be. After a session of brainstorming potential storylines and characters, they finally decided on our new favorite 3D printed robot, Gary. The team soon realized that using 3D printed characters as a means to produce a stop-motion film would prove to be a daunting task.

Armed with an arsenal of Stratasys 3D printers and SOLIDWORKS expert Kevin Lynk, Gary's robot parts could be designed, tested and modified all in just a few hours, one of the major benefits of 3D printing. Since this film was produced using stop-motion, Gary's parts needed to be capable of making his movements look natural while also being durable enough to support the weight of his body. In total, Gary has 33 different joints that can withstand thousands of movements, which required countless tightening and loosening cycles.

Fortunately for the team, some parts only needed to be designed or modified one time. However, parts including Gary's thigh required multiple revisions in order to perfect a design that can perform efficiently and capable of supporting the weight of the body. Although the thigh proved to be a challenging part to design, it still only took a week to perfect. The ability to go from concept to a final part in only a few hours or days is a major benefit in 3D printing, but an even greater benefit is the freedom to design complex parts that would never be able to be produced using traditional manufacturing methods. This allowed the team to dive deep into their creative minds and develop complex parts all the way down to Gary's hairpiece.

The level of detail included in the parts is seriously incredible. This can be observed (spoiler alert) during the scene where Gary fires his bazooka. Using a SOLIDWORKS Flex feature, Tyler Reid was able to create two versions of the gun - an intact version and one that shows the 'destroyed' bazooka after it's been discharged. Another example of extreme detail is demonstrated on the 2" grappling hook that was fired from the bazooka. Even though it wasn't shown on camera, the grappling hook has working gears with clearance as little as 0.007", which required the part to be printed on an Objet 30Pro.

Once the design stage was completed, a lot of thought was put into the orientation of the parts for the printing process. For example, Gary's palms were originally printed so they would be more aesthetically appealing, but it was soon realized that the snap-fit feature caused the plastic to crack. In order to solve this problem, the orientation had to be altered to allow for greater durability of the part. The reason this happens is because when printing with FDM/FFF, vertical walls are more appealing and parts are strongest parallel to the layers.

When watching the film, it's difficult to realize that Gary and his female counterparts stand almost 16" tall. Because some of the parts were relatively large, they needed to be printed on a Fortus 400mc or a uPrint SE Plus, but the majority of the parts were printed using a Fortus 250mc. In total, it took about a month of part-time work to complete the design and fabrication process, while it took about 3200 stills and 700 hours of filming and editing to complete the final version, which definitely makes you appreciate the amount of time, effort and talent put into the production of "SHeLvEd." I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't the last time that we see Gary on camera!



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Skip wrote at 2/15/2015 8:07:14 PM:


Phil wrote at 2/14/2015 12:15:22 AM:

Are the STL files for gary publicly available?

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