Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Tesseract Design’s 3D Printed Mini-Headphones For Pets: When Guinea Pigs Need to Rock!

ST Medical Devices

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tesseractOregon’s Tesseract Design is one of those companies that is obviously confident in their abilities both to encourage and foster tackling challenging projects with their clients, and then go right to the drawing board — or rather digital designing board — to create and ‘make,’ thanks to the technology of 3D printing solidly behind them.

With the options offered by 3D design and 3D printing techniques, the Tesseract Design team has been allowed to push forth in more advanced endeavors where they examine design and manufacturing projects from different angles. While encouraging their clients to let their imaginations to run wild, the team at Tesseract Design still may have been surprised when they were asked to work on a recent project outfitting small animals with headphones.

And if a dog wearing 3D printed headphones doesn’t get your attention, then a guinea pig will do the trick for sure. As part of a shoot for a television commercial being made by a local company for the Oregon Lottery, the folks at Tesseract Design were enlisted to make miniature headphones at first just for the dog and then a guinea pig as well.

Scaling headphonesAll Tesseract had to go on for the project was a set of human-sized headphones that were to be worn by an adult human in the commercial. Through removing the headphone ‘cans,’ they were able to scan them and redesign them in 3D, modeling the strap in 3D Studio Max and scaling the size down for the animals.

They separated the headphones digitally into upper and lower parts which required two different types of finish. They chose to work with ABS plastic, as this was an area where the designers had some experience in using color, while avoiding uneven results. By using their acetone vapor finishing technique to melt and smooth out the finish, they were able to produce the required glossy finish for the upper part of the cans. The lower parts of the cans were produced with a black matte.

Initially, without the animals sitting in front of them ready for a fitting, the designers could only guess at the sizes for the 3D printed headphones. While it would have been more convenient to have the animals fitted directly, this project and process are a perfect example of how prototyping with 3D design and 3D printing is so much less arduous a procedure, in that the designs can just be tweaked digitally — and so they were, as the dog’s headphones were a perfect fit, but Little Binky’s design required some refining for the specially shaped guinea pig head. They simply made them a bit larger than the original design and went to town 3D printing a new pair of headphones that fit just right.

Little Binky, getting ready to be fitted for a more snug pair of 3D printed headphones.

Little Binky, getting ready to be fitted for a more snug pair of 3D printed headphones.

While my kids have tricked out their own guinea pigs in a multitude of different outfits, including using a walking leash that was very unsuccessful (leading to everyone chasing a renegade rodent through the Florida underbrush), and even a pink dress, headphones haven’t been on the list so far; this may, however, be just what the doctor ordered for a guinea pig forced to endure life in a house full of busy humans.

We hope to get a gander at the commercial produced by Tesseract Design, and look forward to following their projects in the future. Have you 3D printed any accessories like this for your own pets? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Mini-Headphones forum over at 3DPB.com.

dog

Tessa the dog with custom-made headphones

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