3D printing has many important applications – it is helping to revolutionize the medical field, to innovate manufacturing, and to teach kids real world problem solving and technology through the use of STEAM education. But let’s not forget about another aspect of 3D printing – having fun! I am a proud, self-professed nerd, and the many different ways 3D printing is making the cool, nerdy things I love bigger and better is dizzying. I mention Star Trek a lot, because so many of the things I get to write about seem like they’re right out of an episode! But I’m also a big fan of the Star Wars franchise, as evidenced by the Yoda Christmas ornament, stuffed Darth Vader, and Lego Stormtrooper I have on my desk (I swear I’m not with the Empire). I watched the original trilogy with my dad when I was a teenager, and last December I was excited beyond belief to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at an 11 PM showing the day it came out…and again two weeks later.
There is a veritable smorgasbord of 3D printed Star Wars paraphernalia available out there: this 3D printed kids’ Speeder Bike Rocker, a really cool Star Wars destroyer PC case with 3D printed details, and of course, the 3D printed Death Star we told you about last week, created for a late promotional campaign for Rogue One, the franchise’s standalone prequel. But what’s better than one 3D printed Death Star? Two 3D printed Death Stars, of course! The one I’m talking about today is massive – ErectorBot, Inc. is printing one in Madrid that will stand 2 meters tall! They started the print on December 4, and are about halfway to the top now. This project is truly amazing – they’re 3D printing the Death Star with texture and detail, and no support material, within a two-week time frame!
The company manufactures some of the world’s largest 3D printers. The ErectorBot itself is a large scale, 3D printing full service gantry bot – the EB1 is the largest of the series. There are over 69 ErectorBots in use, and over 36 standard sizes to choose from, ranging all the way from 4′ x 3′ x 3′ up to 60′ x 40′ x 40′. They have been building full scale prototypes for years, including bicycles, super cars, simulators, and windmills, and developed the ErectorBot out of necessity. Some of the benefits of the ErectorBot include:
- Fast prints: ErectorBot Large Scale 3D printers can use larger diameter nozzles, allowing for much faster prints
- Precise design: the added weight of a steadily growing model is not a concern, as the table stays put while the gantry does all the work
- Open for developers: their open source electronics system can be run with any preferred software
- Customizable features: as individual customers’ needs become evident, ErectorBot agents work to understand the situation and present a list of options
The particular ErectorBot being used to to 3D print the 2-meter Death Star at the Puerta de Alcalá monument in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid was a special order. It’s 8′ x 7′ x 7′, which is currently the largest ErectorBot model in Europe. It is being featured in conjunction with www.deathstarmission.com, in time for the December 15 premiere of the Rogue One movie. Once you get to the site, you have to choose between the Light Side or the Dark Side of the Force, and the site will give you a link to share on your Twitter account.
Leonard Dodd, CEO of ErectorBot, says this project is “a testament to an international collaborative effort” between themselves, Peanuts & Monkeys, Global Supply, StreetBox, and obviously Disney/Lucas Films. All of the groups put in a monumental effort, to together bring the 3D printed Death Star to the public “in a manner that has taken Madrid by storm.” This will truly be something to behold once the 3D printing is finished in two days! To the team working on this massive 3D print, and to all of my other Star Wars fans: may the Force be with you. Discuss in the Death Star Madrid forum at 3DPB.com.