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Tired of boring birth cards? Use 3D printing!

Roman Plaghki, a product developer at Materialise, had one hell of an idea to surprise his sister with the most original birthcards ever: a card with the face of her baby in 3D.

What do you do when your pregnant sister asks you to design a birthcard for her future baby? Roman Plaghki wanted to use all his skills so started thinking about combining 3D printing with regular printing. “After some hard thinking work I finally came up with an idea. I asked my sister to send me an ultrasound where you could see the face of the baby when it was 5 to 6 months old. I uploaded the design up in Mimics and after some designing I finally got the face right to send it to the printer.”


He printed 5 faces in polyamide to use it as a mold for his birth cards. “I put the faces under a thin sheet of polystyrene in the (kitchen) oven and used the technique of vacuum forming to create the 3D design.  After hours of work I finally got 120 faces for the birth cards.”

We must say: it looks gr

Meet the Designer: Josh Azevedo

Meet Josh Azevedo, a man who’s driven by love and decided to use 3D printing to translate his deepest feelings for his wife to be, Heather. We met Josh last year when he came to use with the idea of 3D printing a lovely set of gnomes in multicolor. Ever since that moment, we kept on seeing more of his lovely work come to life through our printers. Today we would like to share Josh’s story with our community and highlight his magnificent 3D printed work that (we can safely say this) comes from deep down in his heart.

Here’s what Josh has to say…

Tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Josh Azevedo?

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. After high school in 1996 I attended Clackamas Community College for some general education courses. On my own, I played with some 3d programs, just cause it looked cool and so I fell in love with 3d modeling. After a short break from the community college, I enrolled in the Art Institute of Portland were I graduated with a Bachelor of Sc

Meet the Designer: Ulrich Schwanitz

Today I’d like to introduce you to our beloved friend and designer Ulrich Schwanitz. A man that continued a vision of his son through 3D printing and managed to bring adorable stainless steel characters to life in the name of love. He also just started an interesting funding campaign on Indiegogo (see video below) where you too can play a part in the realization of 3D printed love.

So for this lovely occasion we thought it would be interesting for our readers to get to know Dr. Ulrich Schwanitz a bit more ans the ideas and thoughts behind his latest project, The Scrappies. Here’s his story…

Tell us a bit about yourself… Who is Ulrich Schwanitz?
I am everything but a typical designer. I grew up as a scientist in the 1970’s and 80’s, and I still remember the times when computers were controlled by punch cards, typewriters and without undo buttons. I have worked in the IT departments of multinational manufacturing companies in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. During that

Meet the Designer: Josh Henry

Not too long ago, we received an order at i.materialise to 3D print some pretty big transparent pieces. Our curiosity kicked in and we decided to contact the designer to find out what these transparent parts were for. To our surprise, Josh revealed to us that it was for his magnificent Ula Miami Concept Car that he was developing at the University of Cincinnati. As soon as knew that, we didn’t hesitate a second and contacted him for an interview.

Here’s what our friend Josh had to say…

Tell us a bit about yourself… Who is Josh Henry?

I am currently a Junior at The University of Cincinnati, in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  Car design has been a passion of mine and is what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. Car design for me is really about creating a product with emotion. Creating a life, or a character if you will. Thinking about the interaction between a person and a vehicle and that emotional attachment that one has with the vehicle. These are things that fas

Skynet is Here: 3D Printing Robots

I have this little hobby, and I call it Skynet search. I basically look around the internets for signs of an emerging Skynet. What? Have I ever said anything negative about your hobbies? Gardening? Or collecting stamps? Can your hobby save humanity? Well today is a big day in Skynet search because I’ve just heard about RoboEarth. RoboEarth allows robots to build on and learn from the experiences of other robots. The project aims to be a internet for robots. Currently every robotics project has to ”teach” their robot to navigate in the real world. By collecting and centralizing information on objects, navigation and recognizing objects Robo Earth does this for everyone. Potentially each robot connected to the network will instantly be as capable of navigating our world as the network is. This also frees up a lot of robotics researchers time so they can concentrate on making the robots better. 

Scientists and researchers from the Technical University of Eindhoven, Philips & the univ

The Cutest 3D Printed Robot Ever

Robots are mostly portrayed as evil cold calculating creatures. Cylons, HAL, ASH have a cute deficit. Even Commander Data misses a certain degree of warmth. As you may know we’re doing a lot of work with customizing robots using 3D printing. We love the idea of “pimp your robot” and think that there is a lot of potential there.

But, in Japan people are always light years ahead. Our Business Development guy in Japan Hiro shot a video of an extremely customized robot at Dekinnoka!7. She, wears a skirt, has glasses, is a competitor in robot wrestling and has had us all in stitches laughing all morning. Introducing, the world’s cutest robot… wanmi be sure to watch the video, we think its hilarious. She comes on stage at around 55 seconds.

dancing & wrestling robot Wit Laser augmented by 3D printing

Appearing at the Dekinnoka! 7 Robot Pro — Wrestling Competition is Wit Laser. Wit Laser is a combat robot, specifically a humanoid wrestling robot decked out using 3D printing. The robot”s head and torso body parts are made with Selective Laser Sintered polyamide parts. I for one salute our attractive robot overlords(and would like to point out that the Skynet & Cyberdyne Systems T shirts I own are not taunts). You can see Wit Laser below showing off some awesome break dance moves that will hopefully help his wrestling.  It seems like our man in Japan Hiro is successfully continuing his journey to introducing the Japanese robot world to 3D printing.

3D Printing Functional Robots

How futuristic do you need us to be, really? For months Hiro (our business development guy in Japan) has been working on an area that is very important to us here at i.materialise: using 3D printing to customize robots.
We think that in the coming years two technologies that are ripe for democratization are robots and 3D printing. To combine both of them into one service is irresistible to us. Because of this Hiro has been doing extensive research on what people that have robots at home need.
A few months ago robotics enthusiast news source Robots Dreams already posted a review of some of the parts we had made back then. Check it out below.

This gives you insight into one of the consumer robot areas that we are exploring. Our initial baby steps back then consisted of creating, together with a customer, some customized faceplates and other robot parts using SLS. This let the customer create a custom unique version of his Kondo robot. Last year I went on vacation to Japan an