Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Beware of the 3D Printed Gowanus Monster Lurking in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal

ST Medical Devices

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gowanus2It was just last week that Bold Machines released the design files for the Brooklyn Bridge Robot which was their latest character designed for the “Margo” feature film.  Margo was a movie which Bold Machines had announced they would be creating last September. It was quite an interesting addition to the many super awesome 3D printable character models that they had already released.

Today, Bold Machines has unveiled yet another character, perhaps the most interesting and mysterious of them all! Say hello to the Gowanus Monster!

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As legend tells it (or Bold Machines), The Gowanus Monster is a beastly robotic creature that lurks in the depths of the Gowanus Canal. Those who are brave enough to approach the canal at night may just become one of this monster’s next victims. Once these victims look the robot in its eyes, they suddenly become hypnotized into jumping into the cold waters of the canal. This monster takes on the role of an Aquatic Robotic Vehicle (ARV) in the Margo film. It is in search of an ancient underwater city which is said to be located somewhere near the famous Gowanus Canal. It has the ability to use echo location and vacuum tube technology in order to explore the dark depths of the water below.

OK, of course this is all fiction, but the plastic model of this incredibly detailed robot can by yours today, if you have access to a 3D printer. The model pictured here was printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2X and a Replicator Z18 3D printer in ABS and PLA plastic. It was designed by a man named Sean Charlesworth. Bold Machines’ General Manager, Robert Steiner had met with Charlesworth a while back when they were first planning the Margo film. Steiner particularly loved one of Charlesworth’s 3D models of a creature called the “Octopod” and asked him to create a similar creature for the film.

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“[Steiner] left the design pretty wide open, to do what I wanted, so my first version was a bright-orange, mini-sub that had a bit of a WWII feel and it had articulated arms that would reach out to grab other vehicles,” Charlesworth explained. “Rob liked it, but kept coming back to the Octopod, so I decided to make a spiritual successor – something that might be in the same fleet as the Octopod. It needed to be a smaller vehicle, so it could be sneaky and maneuverable, but we also wanted tentacles so it could grab stuff. After looking at a lot of other sea creatures I decided to pattern the sub after the cuttlefish – I personally call it The Scuttlefish.”

It wasn’t simply creating a 3D model though. Charlesworth needed to ensure that the model would be able to be 3D printed well on an FFF/FDM 3D printer. His first 3D printer that he owned could not print supports, so he got in a habit of creating models that would be printable without the need of any supports at all. This clearly paid off, as he was able to create the Gowanus Monster model in a way in which it can be 3D printed with little to no supports.

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“I’m still in the habit of designing without them since it cuts down on print time, materials used and post-processing,” Charlesworth says. “It can even be a fun puzzle.”

GW MonsterCharlesworth designed the model so that it could print easily on his MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. It was a challenge laying all of the pieces out and printing some of the movable parts such as the tentacles. In the end though, he found a way, and you too can now download and print this incredible robot on your own 3D printer as well. The rotating tentacles were created by using Thingiverse user Whpthomas’s PLA optimized snap on pins, and they create quite an awesome effect when assembled.

For those interested in downloading and printing this Gowanus Monster, you can do so on Thingiverse. We’d love to see your results in the Margo forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the Gowanus Monster below.

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