Different varieties of filament lead, obviously, to different capabilities for 3D printed creations. While some people still associate 3D printing with choppy, layered looking plastic creations that proclaim “prototype” more than “finished product,” materials like colorFabb‘s bronzeFill have really been tipping the balance to show us all just what the capabilities are.
Steve Cox, the Education Ambassador CREATE Education at Ultimaker, is one of those stepping up to the plate to showcase just how far we can go.
“Those who know me,” said Cox, “will testify that my philosophy is that while I believe 3D printing is a great technology it’s one for which we need to keep finding new applications, and one where we need to keep pushing at the boundaries.”
To that boundary-pushing end, Cox was more than willing to step up to the plate for a special commission from Fuel3D. Cox was able to show off his results this week at CES, where the final commissioned piece was presented.
The commission in question? An ambitious life-sized bronze bust of Fuel3D’s CEO, Stuart Mead. The team at colorFabb noted that the completed bust is “one of the biggest (if not the biggest) bronzeFill projects we’ve encountered.”
The large model wasn’t just large — it was a pretty massive undertaking, requiring about 92 hours of printing for 16 separate pieces that would come together in the statue. So massive was this creation that it garnered its own cool code name: Project Bigbronze. The project required a collaborative effort on the part of tech-savvy designers to scan Mead’s head, design the bust, break it into printable pieces, and finally assemble and polish the statue, as well as different platforms of technology to bring it all into being.
Since the bust was meant to be an exact likeness of Mead, the process started out with a 3D scan, taken by Andrew Smith and Stephen Atkinson using Fuel3D’s scanning technology. The duo also created the mesh. Next up, the scanned design needed to be ready for printing: Audodesk 123D Meshmixer split the model into pieces, while Cura was used to slice it.
It was at this stage in the process that Cox came back into the picture to bring the design to life. He printed the separate pieces in just under 92 hours — a little under four days’ worth of total print time — using an Ultimaker 2. The finished 3D printed bust weighs in at an impressive 2338 grams. That’s more than five pounds of statue, which Cox had to assemble before going into post-processing and polishing. Once polished up, the bronzeFill-created piece took on the look of a finely crafted classic bronze bust.
“In total there was almost 2.7 kgs of bronzeFill used in this model, so my 10% colorFabb discount through 3D Hubs really did come in very handy!” said Cox, noting the benefit of the partnership between colorFabb and 3D Hubs.
Projects like this one can certainly inspire other makers to create bigger, more ambitious projects — and discount partnerships definitely help to make such projects far more feasible. When using pounds of filament for one print, certainly a discount comes in handy. Have you ever made anything this ambitious? Tell us about your biggest projects with specialty filaments, and your thoughts on this bust of Fuel3D’s CEO in the Project Bigbronze forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Check out some more details below.