Those heavenly nightlit skies display the gateway to a universe that was here billions of years before our human race started to evolve, and gazing up in fascination simply never gets old. With the naked eye, we are limited to outlining the famous constellations we all begin memorizing in elementary school as well as infinite specks of light when it’s clear. That’s not enough for many of us though who may have received the gift of a telescope as a child or purchased a more complex one as an adult and embarked on amateur astronomy–where great numbers keep company. And lately, many of them are discovering that with 3D printing, much can be added to the world of the telescope.
Materialise and Stratasys are helping with these ambitious celestial endeavors, now partnering up to create a demo which shows how the telescope can be customized in quite the stylish manner. It’s really pretty amazing that most telescopes are still only available for purchase in the most dull of matte colors, usually presented to consumers with a choice of a neutral gray or black and maybe a bit of brass mixed in for flash.
Combining their efforts to dress up the 3D printed telescope, the two companies paired Materialise’s design enhancement software 3-maticSTL with Stratasys’ powerful Objet printers to make a cool demo that they think may be worth the consideration of many others. Showing off what 3-maticSTL can offer with both modification and simplification as well as texturing, the 3D printed telescope is a design proffered up here in a variety of textures such as:
“To create a varied consistency, Boolean operations were applied between several STL files, each containing a different texture,” states the Materialise team.
Not always using sharkskin simply as an aesthetic value, the imitation of nature has been deliberate in a past endeavor of Materialise’s as they used it in construction of another project where they helped to fabricate the world’s first 3D printed race car. Here however, the sharkskin functions purely for looks. Materialise and Stratasys applied the sharkskin black in gradients, stating that with that process the color fades across the surface.
The team worked methodically in designing attractive textures and then uploaded the design into data preparation software Magics, which is a powerful tool also created by Materialise, and meant to offer the ability to correct, enhance, and prepare 3D files for maximum quality and effect in 3D printing. Materialise then handed over the project to Stratasys for 3D printing the lens and mount on an Objet 500, famous for its multi-material capabilities and PolyJet inkjet technology— put to good use with the choice of VeroYellow, VeroWhite, and VeroBlack.
The design for this telescope actually 3D printed in one piece, sporting fully functional legs, requiring only assembly of the legs and mount.
We’ve followed stories on a number of 3D printed telescopes from extremely affordable designs made by researchers in the UK to NASA replicas available for downloading, but this is the first we’ve seen with such complex texture and color adorning one. Is this a design you would be interesting in 3D printing? Have you 3D printed any components related to astronomy? Discuss in the 3D Printed Telescope forum thread over at 3DPB.com.