3D printed Micro Helicopter

From render to reality in a mouse click (and possibly 1000 hours of hard work)

A recent post on the Shapeways community forum by a “junior member” has some amazing photos of the process of building a micro helicopter using parts printed using Shapeways 3D printing services.

It is really exciting to see the processes that the user goes through to realize his design with a link to a page of images that documents the entire process from CAD models through balsa prototypes to the arrival and finishing of the 3D models including showing the weight and strength of individual components.

Here is where it quickly becomes evident that despite the use of “rapid prototyping” technologies, there still really is a craft behind the design and realization of a “rapid prototyped” object. Unlike Jonathan Ives with his offhand comment claiming such technologies separate the hand of the designer from their work (to paraphrase), design documentation such as this proves that the craftsmanship of design is not lost with it’s use. There is a theory (sorry cant remember whose) that it take 1000 hours of labour to develop a level of expertise at a craft, be it cooking, carpentry or CAD.

This roughly equals an apprenticeship or university degree, to become a journeyman (in old times). The word ‘journeyman’ comes from the French word journée, meaning the period of one day; this refers to their right to charge a fee for each day’s work, they would normally be employed by a master craftsman. To become a master craftsmen one must produce a masterpiece as accepted by the guild (read peers and press). So with the use of services such as Ponoko and Shapeways we can now bypass the linear system and defined hierarchy to produce masterpieces from our kitchen tables, but maybe it still takes 100 hours of hard work as documented by the Shapeways “Junior Member”..

oh, and check out the cool video of the helicopter in action.

via 3D Printing News

2 Responses to “3D printed Micro Helicopter”

  1. Jon Says:

    Very impressive work… I guess using a mix of Ponoko and Shapeway as you mention does provide almost unlimited possibilities to create one’s own toys.

    The images documenting the entire proess is astounding in its detail and scope!

    http://WoodMarvels.com – Create Unique Memories

  2. Duann Says:

    Yeah, very impressive documentations