Trend Watch: Creative 3D Printing in Poland
#technology & innovation
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3D Printing in Poland, Batman mask from ZORTRAX, photo: promotional materials / zortrax.pl, zortrax_batman_maskjpg.jpg
Nowadays you can fabricate almost anything with a 3D-printer, from an artificial heart to wearable clothes. As more and more avenues are explored, we take a look at five examples of how Poles are using this amazing technology to make some highly creative stuff.
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Artificial heart from ZORTRAX, photo: promotional materials / zortrax.pl
Although structures such as ears have been created from living human tissue using 3D printers (spooky, but yes…), this is not one of them. This artificial organ is a replica of the human heart made from non-living materials like silicon and rubber, having been designed for medical research by scientists from the Silesian University of Technology and Warsaw’s Military University of Technology.
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Copies of this lifelike model are being used to develop innovative measurement methods involving augmented reality and artificial neural networks which would otherwise be overwhelmingly difficult. Printed on a Polish 3D printer known as the Zortrax M200, the heart model is not only extremely precise but also cost-effective.
Not long ago, the diverse artist Jan Simon had an exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. Heavily interested in the DIY movement, he called the show Home Manufacturing, and he proceeded to set up a makeshift lab where for two weeks he experimented with 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
The focus of his project revolved around self-reproduction and its socioeconomic implications, most powerfully illustrated by him displaying a 3D printer fabricating parts for another 3D printer using an open-source blueprint. Commenting on the exhibition, Simon told the newspaper Życie Warszawy (Warsaw Life) that additive manufacturing ‘blurs the line between manufacturer and user’.
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A curious new take on the wristwatch, the Jelwek Watch is a wooden timepiece made using additive printing. It’s made almost entirely from wood dust and polilactyde, weighs only 45 grams, and catches the eye with its unique naturalistic style. It’s designed by Jelwek, a company based in the city of Rzeszów offering comprehensive 3D printing services, with ties to the local University of Technology.
Each specimen is custom-made to suit a given client’s wrist and can be delivered in a matter of days, coming equipped with a high-quality Japanese mechanism fitted by an experienced watchmaker. These impressive pieces sell extremely well with foreign clients, especially Italian ones.
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In 2019, Poland launched its first commercial satellite in space. Named Światowid after an old Slavic god, the small device (a so-called nanosatellite), still in orbit today, is used to study the Earth’s magnetic and gravitational fields as well as things like weather changes. Its exterior chassis is 3D-printed from a special material that’s lighter yet more robust than aluminium.
Curiously, Światowid was created by SatRevolution, a firm based in Wrocław founded by people with experience in… mobile gaming development. Although this may sound like a joke, the company definitely isn’t one: by 2018, they had planned how the device would get to space and to use mobile phone electronics in the two further nanosatellites which accompanied Światowid into the upper reaches.
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What better way to get the little ones interested in 3D printing than to show them it can be used to make toys? The folks at Warsaw-based additive manufacturing company MonkeyFab surely asked themselves that question before they created Little Builders. This set of models for 3D printing lets you fabricate parts that can be assembled into three different toy trucks.
The parts were specially designed so that their assembly is simple enough for kids to attempt themselves, with end results which are really nifty. But Little Builders isn’t the only creative venture from MonkeyFab – they’ve also designed remote control replicas of the Goliath, a WWII demolition vehicle, and they came up with the Prime 3D, a printer you can assemble yourself.
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art & technology
Written by Marek Kępa, Oct 2016