Burgos, the capital of the state of Castile, is a historic city of about 200,000 in the northern part of Spain, home to a Cathedral that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as to a number of medieval buildings which give the city a charming character that continues to draw discerning visitors. It is not a place bent on looking only to the past, however, and in fact has been quite certain in its efforts to embrace not only the present but to anticipate the future. In 2010, the Museum of Human Evolution opened in Burgos, in 2013 the city was selected as the Spanish Gastronomy Capital, no small feat given its small size, and for the past four years, it has hosted one of the most active gatherings for fans and businesspeople in the arena of 3D printing: the 3D Printer Party.
This year’s gathering, which took place May 4-6, was hosted on the campus of the University of Burgos as a part of a larger Week of Science event, but it wound up stealing the show. In addition to being a major 3D printing event in Spain, it is also the site of a new world record for the number of 3D printers working simultaneously at a single event with 161 machines creating a frenzy of fabrication.This concerted effort displaced the previous record holders, both in the United States, from Airwolf3D and LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas with 159 concurrent machines printing each.
With this debut, Burgos made its mark on the Spanish 3D printing scene as the three previous 3D Printer Party events had taken place in León. This was no coup d’etat on the part of Burgos, however, as the event was intentionally moved to Burgos by its Leonese creators José Ángel Castaño, Victoria Marcos Maldonado, and Beatriz Melón of the National Association for Education and Development of Technology [Asociación Nacional de Educación y Fomento de la Tecnología (ANEFT)]. In addition to support from León and that provided by the University, the event was made possible by support from the Burgos-based company Abadía Tecnológica, the filament company 3D FFF World, and a number of other technology companies at a both local and national scale.In addition to breaking the world record, the event showcased the wide variety of 3D printing applications that are being explored everywhere the technology is available, from robotics to medicine to simply making the world that much more enjoyable, with many of the objects on display having been produced prior to the event as the culmination of hundreds of human-hours of effort.
One participant, Guillermo Quiroga from KiroLab 3D, showcased a 3D printed Antikythera mechanism, which is basically an ancient analog computer developed in Greece that was used to predict astronomical positions and other celestial events as well as keep a calendar for the ancient Olympic Games.
Quiroga described the reasons behind his decision to recreate the ancient device using cutting edge technology:
“Only the National Archaeological Museum of Athens has a recreation of an Antikythera mechanism, made with metals and methacrylate, but the creation of this extremely complex design with 3D printing democratizes the possibility for studying the world’s first computer. This machine calculated and predicted astronomical positions and eclipses up to 19 years in advance…as well as the exact dates for six ancient Greek games…Once [the 3D print] was completed, the files for printing have been released freely so that anyone in the world with access to a 3D printer can create their own.”
Galicia-based MakerGal3D also led an ambitious project to 3D print a 4.8-meter-long sword, designed and sliced into 170 pieces and then 3D printed by 40 makers in 300 printing hours. 15kg of PLA later, the pieces were assembled to shape up into a massive replica of El Cid’s sword.
— MakerGal3D (@MakerGal3D) May 6, 2018
Other displays included chemo boxes printed with the aesthetics of superheroes; architectural models; and functional robots. And while there may not have been quite as many balloons or ping pong related events as there are at some parties, it’s clear from the photos that this was a 3D printing party not to have missed and certainly not one that should be overlooked.
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