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Printing 3-D Replicas of Human Beings with a Home Brew Printer (Video)

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the honey-i-shrunk-the-gamers dept.

Hardware 41

When I bumped into Abram Thau at Metrix Createspace in Seattle's Capitol Hill, he showed me a few printed figurines, including a Storm Trooper (of the Star Wars variety), and I thought at first that he had printed them as duplicates of similar-sized commercial products. Not so: It turns out these are made-from-life, specifically from cos-players who have stood on Abram's human-suitable turntable (powered by a chicken rotisserie motor hooked to a 3-D printed pulley) while he scanned them in. Thau's apartment is practically shouting distance from Metrix, but that pulley was made on a large Deltabot filament printer in the corner of his living room. (A living room usefully cluttered with tools, bottles of resin, projectors in various states of repair, and more printed objects.) More interesting still, Thau's figurines are produced with a home-built resin printer. Resin is messier to work with than the filament feedstock of RepRap/Makerbot style printers (and the resin itself has a slight odor), but it allows different results. Overhanging pieces are possible without requiring elaborate support pieces built into the mesh, and the resulting product can be noticeably smoother than typical filament printing, though all 3-D printing techniques are getting better. Thau didn't buy one of the commercially available resin printers, though (like FormLabs's), but instead decided to build his own out of scavenged and off-the-shelf components. Budget concerns and improvisation rule the day (Thau is also a grad student, studying to be a middle school teacher): That means there's a book holding up the projector which is vital to curing the resin, and the printer's case is recycled from a previous one. The results look as good as the affordable commercial ones I've seen, and he's excited to teach others to make their own. Third-party resin makers and a robust market in used projectors mean that other hobbyists can follow his lead and turn their friends into figurines. (Alternate video link)

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Misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070019)

I was hoping the replicas would be life-size.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070103)

They will be. They WILL be...


Re:Misleading headline (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#47070127)

"Mr. President, are you feeling okay today? You look all waxy and resinous."

Life size (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about 8 months ago | (#47070309)

That would explain the stationary backbenchers on cable...

Could it be.... (3, Interesting)

Thomas Miconi (85282) | about 8 months ago | (#47070085)

.... that somebody finally found a commercially viable application of 3D printing?...

How many people would be ready to pay for a decent-quality figurine of themselves? Especially so at a special event involving costumes.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070095)

Low-cost, custom Realdolls is the future of resin 3D-printing.

Re:Could it be.... (3, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#47070135)

Fuck man! I'd pay a goodly amount of money for one I could plant at staff meetings. Perhaps it could come with an audio board that would sporadically spout out phrases like "Way to go, team!" and "I will reprioritize to make sure your issue is at the top of the list."

Re:Could it be.... (1)

crakbone (860662) | about 8 months ago | (#47070425)

I would add in " Why don't we use Fed-Ex?"

Re:Could it be.... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#47070197)

.... that somebody finally found a commercially viable application of 3D printing?...

No. There are already plenty of commercially viable applications and have been for years. Those who think otherwise lack both the imagination and the ability to use google to search for ways 3D printing is alreasy used.

Re: Could it be.... (1)

samkass (174571) | about 8 months ago | (#47070295)

A dozen years ago when I was at Align Technology, the room full of these things churning out InvisAlign molds were, I think, the most the 3d printer is working printers at any facility in the world. I haven't been there in awhile but as far as I know they're still made that way.

Re: Could it be.... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#47070497)

I wouldn't have thought of that, but yeah makes perfect sense. They're great for short runs or for making moulds to make things out of another material. Much easier, cheaper and quicker than CNCing.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 8 months ago | (#47070209)

.... that somebody finally found a commercially viable application of 3D printing?...

How many people would be ready to pay for a decent-quality figurine of themselves? Especially so at a special event involving costumes.

Well, that was the subject of an episode of the Big Bang Theory, but to be honest, I think what's going to sell 3D printers is the ability to print sex toys that people are to embarrassed to buy at the store.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 8 months ago | (#47070323)

Buying toys online is just so embarrassing.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#47070245)

there's plenty of companies making 3d prints for money successfully.

however, it's a pretty competitive field right now. but if you're buying the service, that's good...

the headline sucks big time though - they're not replicas - they're miniatures. "interview with some guy who did a homebrew resin printer of the projector variety" would have been a better headline. hell, it probably would have gotten more views as well due to not sounding like bullshit(I thought for a minute that someone had built a home brewed supersized a3 mcor full color printer or something, but no. and yes there's several varieties of home resin printers, some use projectors and some user lasers, some just guide the laser beam and just moving it around on a xy gantry is pretty effective and proven method as well).

Re:Could it be.... (3, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 8 months ago | (#47070393)

Seriously. I can think of more than a handful of Larpers who would kill to have one of these set up before or after an event so we can have figures made of ourselves in costume. Maybe offer a 1-inch figure for DnD!

Re: Could it be.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070407)

Rule 34....

Re: Could it be.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47073401)

Was thinking the same thing.

Re: Could it be.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47084809)

A lot more people then you would think. After seeing the sample produce in hand and the scan of my daughter in her Echigo costume, wished I would've worn a costume worthy of getting one of my own. Definitely getting one next year.

umm, forcing ads now? (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#47070129)

Thanks a lot slashbought.

Useless fucken story.

Re:umm, forcing ads now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070217)

Looks like slashdot editors are modding again.

How low can they go?

History Repeats (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 8 months ago | (#47070165)

The poet Perce Besse Shelly played around with reanimation or making the dead come to life. Animal parts were normally used for people playing around with making the dead come to life but Shelly was wealthier than most poets and could probably get a freshly dead human corpse to apply the shock that made them twitch. His wife Mary Shelly who created the Frankenstein novel probably was using images she had seen first hand in experiments done by Shelly. The chances are that Perce Shelly was the real and authentic Dr. Frankenstein. So after a couple of centuries we now only make life like copies of our friends instead of trying to bring them back from the dead. By the way, in some public demonstrations corpses actually sat up when a shock was applied. Imagine people who had no real understanding of electricity or anatomy beholding a corpse sitting up suddenly.

Re:History Repeats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47072635)

Imagine people who had no real understanding of electricity or anatomy beholding a corpse sitting up suddenly.

Most people usually get visibly disturbed if something they thought was a corpse sat up suddenly. Context can enhance/moderate the response.

Seattle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070183)

In Seattle, the 3D printer prints you!

Big Bang Theory (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 8 months ago | (#47070215)

They basically did this on The Big Bang Theory. The 3D printing of themselves part, not the make-your-own-better-resin-printer-out-of-scrap part. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.... [pinimg.com]

So hipster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070219)

Haha, we did this at the makerspace I go to a couple months ago.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47070341)

...you have to go to grad school to become a middle school teacher in the US these days. Yet the US has abysmal test scores. What gives?

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47073107)

undoing moderation

there are many other hobby dlp projects out there (2)

bitflusher (853768) | about 8 months ago | (#47070499)

I have been looking into this type of 3d printers and there are many others. Most not as reproducable as the standard reprap fdm printers. This is why i am currently designing the reprap petri that will be reproducable when the design is done. Right now it is in early prototype phase and does not work.

Re:there are many other hobby dlp projects out the (2)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 8 months ago | (#47070797)

I just read your stuff here: http://forums.reprap.org/read.... [reprap.org]
Very cool! I'm looking forward to following your project. One thing I don't like about these is the cost of the DLP, it seems that whatever your save on the platform you have to spend on the DLP...

Photographically "developing" each layer (2)

Grey Geezer (2699315) | about 8 months ago | (#47070501)

instead of using a filament deposition strategy is brilliant! I was not aware of this method of 3D printing. I'm trying to figure out if you can easily port your 3D CAD models to this printer too.

Re:Photographically "developing" each layer (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#47072651)

they use the same .STL files as other(fdm, sls) printers.

if you can get a well formed .obj, .stl or any other 3d mesh format then you can push it into the sw for these.

it's a pretty old method too.but 3rd party resins appeared on the market last year.

geez, now look what ya did (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#47070603)

rubber GF is getting nervous now

Hello Megan Fox Realdoll (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 8 months ago | (#47070703)

Like everything else, this technology will be driven by porn.

Middle School Teacher? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#47070711)

I suspect a mind like his is going to inspire a lot of young minds. It's also pretty obvious that he could choose from any of a number of lucrative career paths. A truly noble and heroic human. Too bad we can't print life sized fully working copies of him. Every middle school should have at least one.

The future is so close! (1)

berchca (414155) | about 8 months ago | (#47070843)

Almost there:

Cynical ex-teacher says (1)

werepants (1912634) | about 8 months ago | (#47070925)

I give this guy a 25% chance of lasting as a teacher. He's very technically capable, he's in grad school so he likely has significant student loan debt, and he doesn't appear to be exceedingly extroverted. Unfortunately most teaching positions don't require technical capability or involve technical challenges, they don't pay anywhere near what you need to cover those loan bills, and the key to success is the ability to redirect and manipulate unruly teenagers (and their hovering parents), which can be especially challenging for someone who isn't already socially adept.

I really hope he's successful, because folks like him could do a lot to inspire some of the brightest minds. I just think the teaching profession (in the US, anyway) isn't set up to be very rewarding for someone like him. I had the same ambitions, but the cold realities of our education system drove me away.

So I guess... (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | about 8 months ago | (#47070979)

Real Doll wouldn't give this guy a bulk discount, so he decided to home-brew?

So he coppied others work..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47071993)

So his exact turntable setup has been on thingiverse for a very long time, only difference is his camera is handheld. The setup most of us that print custom figurines use is automated entirely. 3d Resin printer... this one was yanked off of one of the various reprap or other 3d printing forums... there are multiple models of each kind of 3d printer, again nothing new.... Im confused as to how someone stealing others ideas and work by claiming them as his own is news for nerds since the nerds seem a bit slow on the uptake on 3D printing.

Nerds (1)

tsa (15680) | about 8 months ago | (#47073079)

Interesting subject, but I wonder why a bunch of nerd can fail so badly in making a simple video. The lighting and sound are terrible!

Re:Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47075305)

You haven't watched many of these videos have you?

Slashdot TV videos in the past have had audio panned to one side per mic and not corrected in post, horrible volume jumps between mics, etc. In general I'm conditioned to expect a painful experience from /.tv productions. This was one of the better produced ones.

There are a bunch of things that I think could use some major work. The inane/simplistic interview questions still continue and drive me up the wall. I don't want to complain too much on this point because I know that there are a lot of people who read /. that aren't in on the "maker" community side, but this (stereolithography) tech has had at least one successful kickstarter project in Oct/2012 (formlabs, which I'm just realizing was mentioned in the video [kickstarter.com] ). It's nice to see it coming to a more DIY community, but I would hope the /. community could do enough outside research to understand the basics without them being drawn down to a 3rd grade level.

Timothy isn't too bad as a host (beyond the simplification), but Robin annoys me from time to time because he gets off topic too easily and opinionizes during an interview (and all his interviews are recorded on an old(?) webcam, blech!). I understand that these guys are doing their best as nerds-become-editor, but my heart of hearts tells me that things would advance by gobs if they put in some (relatively) minor funding in hiring a journalism/media major who can help them get this s#!+ right . Especially given the broader site ads I've been seeing.

(standard disclaimers: nobody reads the TFA; I don't wanna hafta google/bing; Use adblock/ghostery/voodo magic; you're an AC troll GTFO; #ImGoingToBeModdedDownForThis; allman rules 1tbs drools)

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