Ten sinteringly great 3D print articles of 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – 3D Printing

To celebrate the new year, we’re running a best of the blog 2011 for each category 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing, art, hardwear, materials etc. 2011 was an impressive year for 3D printing. It was a real challenge selecting only 10 from all the amazing articles. I think you’ll agree this snapshot of ten (in no particular order) showcase the exciting possibilities with the technology…

1. Solar Laser Sintering in the Sahara

This generated an enormous amount of buzz on the interwebs and is probably my favourite 3D printer so far. If the future is destined for a Mad Max-esque distopia this is what I’ll be taking to my desert island!

2. 3D printed Stradivarius violin

Replicating instruments! Who knew that 3D prints could sound so good, this was also featured in The Economist magazine who are big fans of additive manufacturing.

3. Challenging the Uncanny by 3D printing prosthetics

Bespoke Innovations fabricates prosthetic fairings to the shape and form of an amptee’s sound leg, but their designs resemble anything but human limbs!

A hybrid human/machine aesthetic is the theme in much of their work. Many are so striking that customers often receive comments in the street about how cool their new leg fairings look.

4. 3D printed wind-powered walking creatures

The wind powered “Animaris Ordis Parvus” miniatures of Theo Jansen’s “Strandbeests” are incredibly intricate mechanical creatures. Jansen even considers them a new form of life. I just think they’re pretty damn cool.

5. Hear the mammoth roar

This audible glimpse into the prehistoric through 3D printing is as close to Jurassic Park as is possible! This piece is called the Mammoth Imperator installation by Marguerite Humeau who uses digital manufacturing technology to recreate the vocal tracts of exctinct creatures.

6. One coffee cup per day

I admit to being a fan of design agency cunicode’s work and I think this was a pretty interesting project. Demonstrating the iterative powers of 3D printing, cunicode created a new ceramic cup every day for a month – each within the space of 24 hours!

7. 3D printed Mario Karts

Gamers around the world were ecstatic when Michael Curry brought Mario Kart gaming nostalgia to life with his Turtle Shell Racers. Want one yourself? All the 3D .stl files are available on Thingiverse, including full assembly instructions and a parts list for the electronics, motor and other RC components needed to get those wheels turning.

8. Digitally fabricated zoetropes

Why stop at 3D when you can replicate 4D? Zoetropes are an excellent way to demonstrate the principles of animation. The above zoetrope was printed on a makerbot by artist Sam Ellis.

9. Chocolate Printer

Who needs Santa when you can print infinite chocolate anythings? Moving Brands created a chocolate 3D printed advent calendar with their Frostruder equipped RepRap. Very cool.

10. 3d print wins Red Dot design award

The articulating Bloom lamp by Patrick Jouin earlier this year won the prestigious Red Dot design award. Not the first 3d print product to win such a design award, but I believe this is evidence that 3d printing has gained acceptance and respect as an manufacturing process in it’s own right by the international design community.


David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly article on personal fabrication for Ponoko. Follow him on Twitter!

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