3D print-on-demand website Shapeways is now offering official reproductions of kinetic artist Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests. Remarkably, they arrive into being fully functional with no assembly required. I first read about the collaboration last month on Boing Boing. The idea that these complex creatures are “born” from a block of powdered plastic was so fascinating that I put my order in for a “Animaris Geneticus Parvus #7” immediately. It took about ten days to complete the order and when the featherweight box arrived I was ready with my camera. I posted some photos to Flickr and shared them with my friends on Twitter. Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen saw my tweet and was kind enough to clarify how the project came about and process of making these fantastic objects:
Jansen approached us to ask whether we could help in the manufacturing and sales of his Strandbeest. We worked with him and his team as we do with all customers. They can upload the models themselves and the Shapeways upload tools automatically give feedback whether or not it can be printed. The ultimate test is always the 3D print itself which we made before announcing it to everyone. In this case it was a little more elaborate since it was quite a complex model.
Our White Strong and Flexible material is indeed powder based and using a laser it is selectively sintered (Selective Laser Sintering = SLS). It is the most versatile of our materials and it allows for the most freedom in design. I am excited about the whole market accelerating and the fact that this new way of production becomes more and more accessible to a general audience. In the end Shapeways wants to enable anyone to make whatever they want.
More information about the 3D printed Strandbeests can be found at the Shapeways blog.
photo by Josh Ellingson