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Image: BlenderNation.com

Over 250 years ago a turning point began to take hold on the planet. The Industrial Revolution brought an entirely new way of life to a large portion of individuals on Earth. Particularly in Europe, the standard of living, average income, and technological advancements all rose swiftly.

Although the Industrial Revolution is said to have taken place approximately between 1760 and 1830, much of the technology which was responsible for this 70-year period of change was invented prior to the actual revolution. For instance, the first commercially useful steam engine ever produced was built by a man named Thomas Savery in 1698. Savery patented the technology in London, and used it to power a one horsepower water pump.

Thomas Savery steam engine, 1698

Thomas Savery steam engine, 1698

Without a doubt, the steam engine was a powerful tool and a spark to the rise of progress and social change within that era. Here we are, over 315 years after the first viable steam engine was created, on the brink of what may be the beginning stages of a third industrial revolution, and a 3D design contest has combined the past with the present.

BlenderNation, a blog dedicated to covering everything pertaining to the open source 3D content creation suite, Blender, launched a weekly contest last week called ‘The Industrial Revolution’. The contest called for designers within the Blender community to use their skills in designing some sort of mechanical device, industrial factory, or something reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. It was a pretty broad contest, allowing designers to let their imaginations run wild.

ste1After many incredible designs were submitted, the winner was finally chosen. Blendernation user ‘Joas’ took the prize with a steam powered 3D printer. Joas descibes his design as follows:

“This is a miniature model of a steam powered 3D printer, the very first 3D device that was ever made! The somewhat strange looking machine was capable of producing thousands of toy models per day. A monkey head, named Suzanne, was the showpiece and it was loved by children all over the world. Some people believe that this wonderful machine served as the main source of inspiration for Blender, an excellent and very popular 3D creation suite that is developed in our age.”

The machine, which merges the first Industrial Revolution with that of what may end up being the third, uses steam to somehow spit out 3D printed trinkets. Of course this machine has no mechanical blueprint, and would never work, but the idea and the design was interesting enough for me to at least think it was worth a story.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this interesting design in the Steam Powered 3D printer forum thread on 3DPB.com





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