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3D Print Your World -- and your classroom!


 A few weeks ago my wife took my two grandchildren to a paper-cutting artist who snipped out near-perfect likenesses of both their profiles in a matter of a minute with nothing more than paper and scissors. As I am incapable of doing the same with a pen and paper- - much less scissors -- in any amount of time, I was greatly impressed. This led me to look online for more examples of paper-cut art; of which, it appears, there are more than a few.  One of the most impressive examples that I found of this art form was a project by artist Rogan Brown.

Aptly titled "Outbreak," these paper-cut figures are painstakingly-detailed reproductions of microscopic pathogens and human body cells. While it took the artist cutting out my grand-children's profiles less than two minutes, artist Rogan Brown worked on OutBreak for four long months. As I have even less patience than graphic talent, I was impressed yet again and wished I could behold them in all their 3D splendor; but having even less money than either talent or patience, it was impossible to imagine how that could ever happen -- I Mean, what would you have to pay an artist to possess such an intensely time-consuming creation? No, online pictures were the only way work of this nature could ever be enjoyed by the average individual.

Unless ... it suddenly occurred to me, unless the artist committed his creation to a 3D template allowing multiple reproductions in full three-dimensional splendor at very little expense.  He could print them out himself and sell them to schools (what great educational tools these microbes are!) and individuals for a reasonable cost or, if money is no object, upload them to THINGIVERSE.com and let the world enjoy them for free. This sort of manufacturing is no longer prohibitively expensive. Services exist online that can scan and print objects in 3D for a reasonable fee, and it is even possible to take a Makerbot 3D replicator and printer home for less than three grand, allowing printing and scanning of 3D objects in comfortable perpetuity. How long will it be before quick-template artists and their 3D printers ply their trade at county fairs, alongside the old fashioned paper cutters and caricature artists?

  • Jul 8, 2014 10:30:00 AM

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