Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Man Creates the Drooloop: Totally customizable 3D air printed flowers

ST Medical Devices

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Each and every day, new creative designs pop up on MakerBot’s website, Thingiverse. They range from 3D printer parts, to full ‘Iron Man’ body suits. However, one man by the name of Mark G. Peeters decided to create something totally unique and completely customizable.

Peeters created the Dooloop Flowers, which have already garnered him a lot of attention among designers on Thingiverse.

Peeters works doing tech support in a Pre K – 12+ public school by day, but is a 3D designer by night.

“I have always felt immense joy from doing art that is loud, showy and public, in addition to doing the quiet and private art of solving mathematical proofs or programming a computer,” Peeters explained to 3DPrint.com.

There are a lot of different 3D printable flower designs circulating around the internet, but none as unique, creative or customizable as Peeters’ Drooloops. The name Drooloops comes from the fact that the flowers consist of a droop and a loop. Using the openSCAD file that is available on the thingiverse page, anyone can completely customize their own flowers.

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You might wonder how Peeters ever came up with an idea to create these flowers.

“I was compelled to play with drooloops by a couple of desires mixing in my mind,” explained Peeters. “The oldest and longest running desire was to recreate some of the beautiful glass art I saw as a child. The glass blowers would be at street festivals and art fairs. They used a technique of melting rods of glass with a hand held gas torch and creating amazing objects from looping the glass over and over again. They would make all kinds of things like horses, teddy bears, eiffel towers, and ships, some just trinket sizes and some sized for mantelpieces. I have tried to replicate this with my hot glue gun with pretty sad results. The second desire was just to use the printer in new ways and see what can be done with it. Then I saw the strings that you sometimes get and watched how precise the printer can be. It was then that I began to hope that the printer could do what I could not do with my hands and the hot glue. I dreamed that by deliberately making the printer print in air I could make something that had a nice blend of organic shapeliness and mechanical precision and control. So I started goofing around with openSCAD to make models which would make drooloops. My first thought was to make fish scales, but after some testing I could see I was being drawn to a flower shape.”

As seen in the video below, where Peeters talks about how to turn your 3D printer’s fan off and on for different flower effects, you can see that the flower petals are actually printed in the air, rather than on a print bed. This is what gives them such a unique look.

The Drooloop flowers can be printed on any at home fused filament fabrication 3d printer (the most common 3D printers out there), and make great gifts for anyone.

So how easy is it to customize these flowers?

“Customizing these flowers is very easy,” explained Peeters. “If you don’t want to sign up for a Thingiverse account, then you just need the free program openSCAD installed on your machine. Then just download the super flower drooloops file. If you have a thingiverse account you can use the web interface that is provided by the [on-site] customizer. To make a unique flower all you need to do is start changing the values for radius, lengths and heights and see the results. I have given some notes about the ranges that seem to work well, so at the beginning just read those.

As with any customizer tool, there is a balance between a simple interface that only allows for slight variations, and a more robust interface that allows for many many variations. I usually go for the “more inputs and more variation” end of the spectrum. So for this model the possibilities seem countless to me.”

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Really there are unlimited number of flowers that can be made with Peeters Drooloops. You can change just about every aspect of the flowers to make them look exactly how you would like. They can also be printed on any scale. They could be as small as a fingernail or as big as your 3D printer will allow. Drooloops also print out extremely fast since the flower petals use so little material. Already several designers have posted their custom Drooloops on Thingiverse for the world to see.

What do you think about these flowers? Have you printed any out yourself? Discuss at 3DPrintBoard.

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