AMS Spring 2023

BEWARE: These 3D Printed Super Mario Bros. Warp Pipes Have Real Carnivorous Plants Living Inside!

6K SmarTech

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warp3I consider myself part of the “Super Mario Bros. Generation” — a generation characterized by cassette & VHS tapes, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and most importantly the birth of Nintendo mania.

I recall my father bringing home a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), along with a cartridge which featured not only Duck Hunt and World Class Track Meet, but quite possibly the most iconic video game of all time, Super Mario Bros. Those of you who grew up in the ’80s will certainly remember jumping hurdles on the Power Pad, and skeet shooting with your Nintendo Light Gun, but it’s probably Mario and Luigi jumping over and on enemies, on their way to save Princess Toadstool from the evil Bowser, that stands out the most.

One Super Mario Bros. fan, named Jason Kirk, wanted to bring some of his past back to life through the use of 3D printing technology, and in doing so, created quite the unique little set of flower pots.

“As a child of the 80s (born in 1980), there was nothing cooler than Nintendo when I was a kid,” Kirk tells 3DPrint.com. “A few decades later, I still appreciate the games of my childhood more than most modern games. I still keep old Nintendo and Super Nintendo games around, and play them as often as I have the chance. I think classic retro games are ingrained in my imagination, and still inspire me to create art to this day. “

warp4Using his design ability, in combination with his love for Super Mario Bros., Kirk set out to create the famous “Warp Pipes” from the video game series. As you may recall, from time to time, these pipes featured carnivorous Piranha plants which, if Mario or Luigi came in contact with them, would kill them on the spot. In going with this idea, Kirk elected to create his 3D printable Warp Pipes in the form of flower pots.

Coming from a background in animation, Kirk designed his unique creation using Luxology Modo 801. He went through three different design iterations before coming up with a model that he was completely happy with.

warp1

“It didn’t take more than a few hours to get a functional design that I was happy with,” Kirk tells us. “Aesthetically, I wanted the model to echo the 8-bit look of the Mario pipes, which is why it is more square than round. Functionally I had to account for the needs of the plant that would live inside the pot. This meant creating vents to allow water to soak up from the bottom, while allowing enough room for root growth.”

In going with the theme of the Warp Pipes, and because in reality Piranha plants don’t actually exist (not that we know of at least), Kirk decided to go with the next best thing, a Venus Fly Trap. The Venus Fly Trap, which is actually a type of carnivorous plant itself, also looks a lot like a Piranha plant. The only issue though, is that these plants are very high maintenance, so Kirk was sure to design his pots in a way which would be conducive to their growth and survival.

warp2

In all, he ended up 3D printing a couple different sized pots, each of which took approximately 5-6 hours total to print out on his Printrbot Simple Metal 3D printer. Each pot is printed out in 2 pieces, with the thicker top portion of the pot printed separate from the long pipe portion.

“I would have had to deal with a lot of support material if they were printed whole, explains Kirk. “By separating the top portion, I was able to print both parts sans supports. The two pieces snap together tightly so there was no need for glue or any other post processing materials. Part of what I think is great about the Venus Fly Trap Warp Pipes is that they are simultaneously an art piece and a functional print. They bring together several of my interests; 3D modeling/printing, carnivorous plants, and retro games!”

As you can see in the photos, not only are these unique and aesthetically pleasing 3D printed objects, but they are very functional as well. What do you think about Kirk’s creation? Would you have done anything different? Discuss in the 3D Printed Super Mario Warp Pipe forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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