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Hundreds of CrowdSourcing 3D Printing Enthusiasts See Ben Franklinstein to Completion

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Benjamin Franklin said himself that, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” And that is applicable even to the fun “things,” as WeTheBuilders has recently unveiled their second crowdsourced 3D printed sculpture, “Ben Franklinstein,” at the Silver Spring and World Maker Faire on September 14. In this project, launched in August by WeTheBuilders, “netizens” and “makers” spent the last month or so bustling about, each creating their own four-inch patchwork piece of the Ben Franklinstein, 3D printed bust replica. The original is a contemporary piece at the office of Direct Dimensions in Owings Mills, MD.

As we reported at the beginning of August, WeTheBuilders, a 3-D printing collective founded by Todd Blatt (also of Tinkerine Studios) began an interactive project by calling on 3D printing enthusiasts to each take “part” by owning one piece to construct. With 198 pieces, each maker who registered on the WeTheBuilders site sent in a photo for approval, after which the actual 3D-printed piece was mailed  to Baltimore, where Ben Franklinstein was glued together and assembled at the Baltimore Node Hackerspace.

Ben on display.

Ben on display.

Their deadline was September 1, in order to have the 3D Ben ready for the Silver Spring and World Maker Faires this month. Coming up, you can see Ben Franklinstein on display this weekend, September 20-21, at the World Maker Faire in NYC, dubbed “The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth.” The project took about a month with scanning, slicing, and assembling.

Blatt has explained his thoughts on crowdsourcing, in that there are lots of smaller printing jobs going on, and to print this many pieces and put them all together would have taken a lot more time without multiple sources, helping to compress the time period in which they were able to complete the project. The  precursor to Franklinstein was George Crowdsourcington, completed earlier this year, and composed of 110 pieces. Over the past year, George Crowdsourcington has made visits all over the country, attending conferences, events, and festivals. The original piece of artwork, by Giuseppe Ceracchi, is at the Walters Art Museum.

198 separately 3D printed pieces comprised Ben Franklinstein

198 separately 3D printed pieces comprised Ben Franklinstein

There is no question Benjamin Franklin would be proud of his American progeny, expressing such enthusiasm for innovation, using replicating machines to design and print whatever the heart desires.  Benjamin Franklin has lent his face, in posterity, to many different causes and items, but I do think Ben Franklestein, his futuristic 3D twin, would have given him cause to chuckle.

Tinkerine Studios sponsored the Ben Franklinstein project by reimbursing shipping costs for makers who participated through 3D printing the pieces and mailing in their parts. The 3D scanning was performed by Direct Dimensionss of Owings Mills, MD.

Did you take part in this 198 piece project?  If so, let’s hear from you in the 3D printed Ben Franklinstein forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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