The Tour de France, a bike race which has been an annual event in Europe for 111 years, traditionally is raced in the country of France, with treks outside the country for a few legs of the race. Living in North Yorkshire, one of the northernmost parts of England, you certainly wouldn’t expect to see the tour riding through your home city too often. One self taught artist named Niki Firmin, living in Ripon, North Yorkshire, found that the tour de France this year would pass through her small town. She wanted to commemorate this rare occasion with something special, something which hadn’t been done before. Being that she had been working for a while with a 3D printing pen called the 3Doodler, producing projects for students to integrate the use of the pen into their curriculum, she decided to use the pen for her commemorative piece. What she created is simply spectacular. Utilizing the capabilities of the 3Doodler pen to their full extent, she created something which will forever represent the Tour de France’s trip through her home town. The piece, which is almost entirely 3D printed with the 3Doodler is called ‘Le Tour De Yorkshire Carousel’.
To start, Firmin first drew out the two tire like features which would make up the rotational axes of the carousel. She then traced the drawling twice with the 3Doodler, forming the two pieces. She then did the same thing, creating six plastic cyclists, which she would later ‘solder’ to the wheel, connecting them. For the carousel to have full movement, she used a motor housing which she took out of an old printer. From there she took pieces of styrofoam and shaped them as the bases of each scene that she would build for the inside of the carousel. She had to cover the styrofoam with masking tape since the heat from the 3Doodler pen would melt it with direct contact.
“My first scene was Aysgarth Falls,” explained Firmin to 3DPrint.com. “Using the side of the scenery I had cut some steps in, I first went about producing the falls of water. This was achieved by blobbing the [3D]doodle at the top of the step to anchor the plastic to it. Then by pulling it to the bottom of each step and blobbing again to secure it, the water fall effect was created. This process was repeated using ‘clearly blue’ instead of the ‘white’ color used the first time. I also put the blue and the white on the base below each fall to create a pool effect.”
After Aysgarth Falls, she created three additional scenes, one with rolling hills, sheep, and dry stone walls, which depicted Yorkshire Dales, one with a myriad of bushes and trees, depicting Dent Head Viaduct. Last but not least, she created one depicting the Fountains’ Abbey. Once all of these scenes were complete, it was time for Firmin to put it all together. She cut out a round piece of cardboard which she used to attach the bottom wheel to the turntable she had created, with the old printer motor. She then attached the six cyclists, each of the four scenes, and finally the top wheel. The entire piece is 10 inches in diameter, and 6 inches tall. Firmin used approximately 30 strands of PLA plastic, and estimated that the number of hours she spent on this project would have made up several entire working days. Let us know what you think about this amazing piece of art, created using the 3Doodler pen, in the Tour de France 3D printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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