We’ve all seen it. The dreaded warning on something really cool that comes in a box: Some assembly required. That means that you are committing to an afternoon of cursing the writers of directions, trying desperately to remember the difference between a grommet and a widget, and wondering why you have at least one piece leftover after you are done. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why ‘tab A’ won’t fit into ‘slot B’ then you should check out these kinetic sculptures that are printed fully assembled.
The sculptures are brought to you by Miracle the 3D Printing Dog who, after a dramatic near-death rescue, found himself a seat at the 3D printing table as partner to Dave Kim. Kim began his professional life by abandoning a career in architecture for one in finance, and decided to take his passion for 3D printing to the public when he opened up a Shapeways store in 2014. Given the controlling share of the company owned by Miracle, he named his company 3D Printing Dog and appointed Miracle as Chief Design Officer. Kim, serving as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, described Miracle’s history and contributions:
“Miracle was once a stray dog living on the mean streets of Philadelphia. He had been struck by a vehicle and left for dead when the local animal control team found him. His condition was so bad that he was not expected to survive. When he made an incredible recovery, he was named Miracle by his caretakers. He was eventually rescued by the local no-kill shelter, PAWS, who introduced him to his new forever home. A portion of every sale is donated to PAWS. When he’s not out chasing squirrels, he enjoys 3D CAD modeling. His skills include the following software: Solidworks, Rhino & Blender.”
Kim and Miracle’s diminutive creations are based on the mechanics of an escalator, a bicycle, and the Archimedes screw. Kim, who is more often available for direct interviews than Miracle, explained that while those three objects may seem unrelated, they have in common their purpose as conveyers of people or things. While they are relatively simple, creating them as single prints was no easy task and instilled Kim with a new appreciation for things created before there was access to powerful computerized technology.
“Designing these objects for the 3D printer reveals the brilliance behind these innovations that were created in a pre-digital world. While my pieces may be too small to be practical, they are intended to inspire creativity in others and to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing technology. Again, no assembly is required. All of the moving elements are printed in place. There is no gluing, no nailing, no welding. The 3D printer does all of the work,” said Kim.
All of the sculptures have mechanisms that are set into motion by turning a hand crank. The bicycle has two sprockets that are connected by a chain. One sprocket rotates the wheel while the other sprocket is connected to the hand crank. The wheel contains a vintage freewheel mechanism which allows the wheel to continue spinning even when the hand crank stops rotating. The escalator contains 20 “floating” steps that contain rods that are guided along hidden tracks. The hand crank is located at the top of the staircase which is connected to a hidden sprocket which moves the steps by pushing them against each other. The Archimedes’ screw contains a universal joint which transfers the rotation from the hand crank down along an angle which allows the double helix screw to lift objects as it rotates.
Kim and Miracle aren’t resting on their laurels. They are currently working on a project based on the movement of keys on a typewriter and has plans to work on a series of kinetic sculptures that use levers to create movement.
I can’t wait to see what Miracle dreams up next.