As we now close 2012 it's time to take a look back at some of the amazing 3D printing stories, videos and prototypes that we've had the privilege and pleasure to document here on It's a 3D World. In the post below I've tried to highlight my top ten 3D printed models for the year. I've based this list loosely on the following criteria: the complexity of the model, the 'wow' factor, the response of readers and viewers and lastly, the originality of the model. So here we go:
# TEN - Fenway Park Gets 3D Printed!
Our guys over at the Boston office managed to get hold of the original plans for Fenway Park from the Boston Inspectional Services Department! They then created a fully representational scale model of this national icon - in 40 separate pieces - all 3D printed on the Objet Connex500!
# NINE - The 3D Printed Giant Wrench
Considering how popular 3D printed adjustable wrenches are I just had to include this on the list - even though as a model - the 3D printed wrench is no mean feat of 3D printing! However, the fact that we 3D printed our wrench model to a staggering 1.2 m in length on the new Objet1000 makes up for it considerably!
# EIGHT - 3D Printed Gear Cube
This 3D printed model is designed to mess with your mind. An excellent demonstration of the unique capabilities of 3D printing, the gear cube is made of a number of interlocking gears that rotate around a central core and come out of the 3D printer as an already-assembled machine!
# SEVEN - Disney's 3D Printed Light Bulbs
Custom-made optical elements have traditionally been a tough nut to crack due to the high cost and the unique precision requirements involved. Not any more: Using Objet clear transparent 3D printing material (VeroClear), Disney Research have been able to rapidly prototype some fantastic optics and light bulbs. This video below is amazing:
The 3D printed hand model below features the internal bone structure within the transparent flesh of the hand. This is the sort of modeling that is now transforming the way medical and dental surgery planning is done.
# FIVE – 3D Printed Corset by Neri Oxman
Produced by Architect and MIT Professor Neri Oxman, this 3D printed Corset was just one of 18 Prototypes of the Human Body, and was part of her exhibit entitled ‘Imaginary Beings, Mythologies of the Not Yet’ at the Centre Pompidou in Paris earlier this year. This model, created on the Objet Connex500 features a highly creative spider-wed like design. Here’s our live blog video from the same event.
# FOUR - Craziest 3D Printed Puzzle Part
This 3D printed model features various opaque 3D printed objects suspended within a clear, smooth 3D printed transparent body – yet the entire part is printed in a single step. And another reason to be amazed - the incredible fine detail resolution of the models - check out the micro-scaled skeletal hand, spring coil and Eiffel Tower in relation to the size of the lines on my fingers…
# THREE - Tiny 3D Printed Car
This truly tiny 3D printed car features opening doors and revolving wheels - and yet is tiny enough to drive over the tip of a finger. This model was originally produced by David Sun, a senior mechanical engineer over at Iris International in California who produced the model to entertain his young boy and it's simply taken off from there! The model is made possible by the incredible accuracy of the Objet 3D printer which is able to print down to 16 micron resolution - enabling designers to create really thin walls and extra-fine details. Here's the original video I made of the car back in 2011. Since then, David refined the model and sent me a 2012 version with opening doors - as seen in this photo!
# TWO - 3D Printed Ship in a Bottle
And yet another transparent/opaque combination in our top 10! This time we've created the iconic ship in a bottle - check out the incredible detail of the ship parts - including rigging, masts and crow's nests..
Painstakingly designed and 3D printed by Sean Charlesworth, this model is my number one for 2012 simply because of the incredible creativity and loving detail the artist has put into every single aspect of this Objet Connex 3D printed model. The LED's in the control rooms work, the iris contracting door opens and closes smoothly, and the vehicle shell can be closed using magnetic fasteners. This model really takes prototyping to a whole new level. Congratulations Sean!