May 5, 2015 | By Simon

Thanks to the seemingly limitless possibilities that additive manufacturing has allowed allowed for us to create, it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to find out that a group of talented 3D designers have created a realistic coral garden piece-for-piece using nothing but a 3D printer to fabricate it - yet this is exactly what Dubai-based Paradigm 3D recently did with their arsenal of 3D printers.

The project - which was commissioned by electronics giant Sony - was initially conceived of by Sony’s creative team.  The 3D printed coral would be a large part of the company’s three-day underwater pop-up shop that would help show off the underwater capabilities of the new Sony Xperia range of products.

In order to ensure that their products would remain in an ideal position during the duration of the three-day event, Sony turned to Paradigm 3D to help create durable displays for the underwater store - which was located near The World Islands in Dubai.      

To create the corals, the Paradigm 3D team started with a collection of reference images that they could use to create their own unique forms that would support and hold the electronic devices while still looking like elements from a natural landscape.  They were then 3D modeled using the digital sculpting tool Z Brush.    

Once it was determined that the designs would both hold the Xperia products as well as appear to be natural coral, they were then fabricated using fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing using Stratasys-brand 3D printers.  Because of the ability to create water-soluble support materials, it was easy for the team to create highly-complex organic designs that appeared nearly identical to the same coral seen in natural coral gardens.

“With (our) in-house Stratasys F􏰆ortus 3D production 3D printers, we (were able to) print the coral in robust A􏰉BS plastic to provide a fitted surround for the latest Sony waterproof products,” said Paradigm 3D in their official case study.   

“(We were) able to suggest some simple design changes to optimize the data for 3D printing and reduce the time needed for production, thereby keeping to the strict requirements (of the coral) in order for it to meet the deadline for the opening of the underwater shop and optimizing the aesthetic effects.”

Over the course of a week, the Paradigm 3D design and engineering team worked around the clock to create eight medium coral pieces and one large “centerpiece” coral design using their Stratasys Fortus 400 and Fortus 900 3D production 3D printers.  The designs were printed in ABS plastic.  Once the final designs were printed, all that was needed to finalize the designs was to remove the support material by placing the models in water.  

Once the shop was completed, those with scuba gear were able to dive into the underwater shop and sample the products for themselves in a unique, once-in-a-lifetime retail experience.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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