AMS Spring 2023

We The Builders Turns to the Crowd to 3D Print an Enormous Ben Franklin Bust in 198 Pieces

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Ben Franklin was an extraordinary man. He is known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, but he also is credited with discovering that lightening bolts are made of electricity, invented bifocals and worked as a postmaster and diplomat.

George Washington bust

George Washington bust

Because he was so important, historically, to the development of the United States, Franklin has a host of institutions—libraries, parks, schools and museums— bearing his name. He’s also on American banknotes– Americans who still use cash, pay homage to his genius every time they go shopping and break out their wads of $100 dollar bills.

We the Builders, a 3D-printing collective  is also paying homage to Franklin. Monday (Aug. 4), the group announced that they will make a life size, patchwork replica of a famous bust of Ben Franklin. The group wants good 3D-printer owning ‘netizens’ to help them fabricate the bust First they will 3D scan it and make it into a digital image. Then, using netfabb, the team digitally sliced it into chunks.

To help make the bust, participants must first visit the We the Builders website and register. They will then be assigned a four-inch piece of the bust to print. Once they print the piece, they have to take a photo of the print. If it’s approved, they have to mail it to the We The People team in Baltimore, Md. Once all the pieces are in, the We the Builders team will put all the pieces together like a puzzle. The team hopes people will print all 198 pieces of Ben Franklin’s bust and send them in by Sept. 1–in time for the Silver Spring and World Maker faires.

frank-feat

We the Builders is a project that was created as part of the  ArtBytes Hackathon at the Walters Art Museum. The Ben Franklin bust is the We the Builders’ second crowdsourced 3D-printing art project. Last year, they made a replica of a Giuseppe Ceracchi’s  “Bust of George Washington.” The multicolor Washington bust made the rounds at Maker Faires all over the country such as the NY 3D Print Show, Inside 3D Printing Conference, 3D/DC, ConFabulation Symposium and 3D Printed Art Gallery at Prince George’s Community College and the US Science and Engineering Festival. If Franklin’s bust is a success like Washington’s, he’ll likely be coming to a 3D trade show or faire near you.  Are you participating in this awesome project?  Let us know by posting a picture of your 3D printed piece in the Ben Franklin bust forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below of the 3D CAD model of the Franklin bust.

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