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UK Designer is Back with a New 3D Printed Animatronic Bird

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Some 3D printing projects definitely grab my interest more than others. While it is always fascinating to see the ways that the technology is changing the landscape of manufacturing and industry, there are also many smaller projects that exemplify the creativity of today’s makers. We’ve seen other work by Jonny Poole of the UK’s InnerbreedFX—previously in the form of an animatronic owl meant to lure raptors so they could be captured briefly for research. Poole came through for the researchers with a 3D printed tawny owl capable of intricate movement.

It turns out that Poole really likes creating 3D printed birds, and he has been doing so over the past few years.

“I have been building animatronic birds for a number of years now and the main reason I have chosen birds as my forte is predominantly down to the exquisite movements birds have and it was something I wanted to try and replicate,” Poole told 3DPrint.com.

In seeking to give a new project more character, Poole decided to build a 3D printed macaw.

“They are visually powerfully striking and with the natural ability to perform tasks as well as talk, the macaw is perfect for this. Also they have a skull of which is capable of cranial kinesis, allowing the skull to perform sounds that we perceive as speech.”

Formally called the Animatronic Entertainment Macaw, this robotic bird is meant not only for research purposes but also pure entertainment. Now on Indiegogo, the bird can be backed at moderate expense, up to £75 (close to $100 USD) if you would like all the .stl files and more. If, however, you would like to wait for the entire bird to be printed and shipped turnkey, you will be expected to make a donation of £4,080 (around $5,420). You will then be the first person to receive the animatronic macaw, which will be useful in science as well as other fun venues.

The robot offers the following features:

  • Full eyelid control
  • Beak control with 2 axis movements
  • Full head control
  • The ability to walk on its perch
  • Talking with synchronized movements
  • Realfeel fabrication

Work has already begun on the prototype, and Poole has made numerous refinements to the design. Printer settings are as follows:

Machine: CEL Robox
Material: ABS
Bed Temp: 110ºC
Nozzle Temp: 230ºC
Nozzle: 0.3mm
InFill: 30%
Res:  0.1 mm/100 micron (µm)
Speed: 1.0
Total build time: (depending on platform size and space taken up) = +-50 hours

“Normally before I start designing birds I turn to nature to see how biology has worked out the movements. However, with the macaw I noticed that the movements are somewhat joyous and forced rather than natural and fluent. This led me to design and build a mechanical structure that was able to perceive these movements and capture the characteristics of this breed of bird,” Poole told 3DPrint.com.

“One of those characteristics is that they walk up and down along their perch. I wanted to incorporate this into my design as it’s not something that has been seen before. So I set about researching ways I could make a walking mech to allow this to happen. That is when I came up with the walking mechanism called Hoekens Linkage.”

Poole created the prototype in ABS working from his CEL Robox 3D printer. He states that he is looking forward to using sturdier materials once he has more funding for the project. Check it out here.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts below.

[Images provided to 3DPrint.com by Jonny Poole]

 

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