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dWyUrWbWhen it comes to politics, 3D printing is an equal-opportunity offender. This November will mark the end (finally!) of one of the most divisive, tense, and at times utterly ridiculous election seasons the United States has ever seen, and plenty of makers, at both the hobbyist and professional levels, have been expressing their admiration and/or disdain through 3D printing. Some designs clearly express their makers’ political leanings, while others take aim at everyone in the election spotlight. 

3D printed political paraphernalia over the last year has mostly been of the amusing and silly nature, but we’ve also seen some examples of serious, professional work that has attracted international attention. When the Republican National Convention hit Cleveland in July, local company Freshmade 3D contributed the result of a project they’d been working on for weeks: a larger-than-life 3D printed Donald Trump bobblehead statue. Bobblehead Trump was unveiled just before the start of the RNC, and at the time, Freshmade 3D stated that they were currently at work on a life-sized 3D bobblehead of Hillary Clinton, to be displayed alongside Bobblehead Trump at the first presidential debate at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio on September 26.

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While the debate has since been moved from Dayton to Hempstead, New York, Bobblehead Clinton is now in fighting shape. The Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, which is backing the 3D Printed Prez project, unveiled the life-sized 3D printed bobblehead statue of Clinton last week. The statue, which is valued at $35,000, looks to be the same height as Bobblehead Trump, which is seven feet, four inches tall.

“The immediate plan is to showcase them at the Butler Institute of American Art,” said Guy Coviello, Vice President, Government Affairs at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. “Ultimately, we hope that one of the candidates will come see it to promote the technology and we hope the next president invites us to bring it to the White House, again to promote the technology.”

o5QLzz4The Butler Institute of American Art is the first museum ever devoted to American art, and its collection includes the famous Winslow Homer “Snap the Whip” and Norman Rockwell’s “Lincoln.”

The bobblehead statue of Clinton was produced with several 3D printing technologies used to fabricate either plastic or metal structures. The same approaches were used to create Trump. Bobblehead Clinton’s body was printed in two pieces and then fabricated using Freshmade3D’s proprietary, patent-pending method for large structures, while the head was printed using FDM printing. Her silver necklace and earrings were printed separately in metal.

The body printing was done by Humtown Products in Columbiana, Ohio. To create the bobblehead effect, Freshmade 3D attached array of springs inside the neck and top of the head. The whole project was a lot of work for sure, but I suspect it’ll pay off for Freshmade 3D, which is now returning to its regularly scheduled business of printing rare and custom parts for the restoration industry.

“To develop a replacement part, we work from an existing worn or broken part, an opposite side part, or from drawings. We use 3D scanners to capture complex or stylistic shapes. Reverse engineering software allows us to build geometry into the scan data. CAD modeling software helps to recreate mechanical parts and bracketry,” said Christopher Tomko, COO of Freshmade 3D.

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L to R: Freshmade 3D COO Christopher Tomko, CEO Rich Wetzel and CTO Brett Connor.

“After a part is developed, we make it in the material and finish that you specify. If you’re looking for an exact replica, we can produce a chrome-plated or cast part to match the original. If you’re looking for a custom part, we will make it in the most economical process that meets your requirements. Using state-of-the-art design tools and new additive manufacturing processes, it’s finally possible to get your part. Freshmade 3D is focusing on bringing excellent service to the restoration and custom crowd!”

Regardless of what comes next for Bobblehead Clinton and Bobblehead Trump, the project, which also involved Youngstown State University, has already accomplished its main goal, which was to draw attention to the Northeast Ohio region’s growing additive manufacturing capabilities, transforming it from the crumbling Rust Belt of yesterday to the thriving Tech Belt of tomorrow. Discuss your thoughts on this statue in the 3D Printed Hillary Bobblehead forum over at 3DPB.com.

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[Images: Freshmade 3D via Imgur]

 





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