During his recent visit to Israel, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave Israeli President Shimon Peres a special token of friendship that symbolizes the two countries’ scientific research collaboration. The diplomatic gift was a 3D printed sculpture that represents the tiny particles common to the brain research being conducted at the University of Nottingham and the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. Teams from each university will work closely together on treatments for Parkinson’s disease.
The 3D printed sculpture, which shows black “nano-particles” suspended in clear plastic, was designed by the British artist Daniel Hilldrup and 3D printed on an Objet Connex Multi-material 3D Printer by UK service bureau IPF. Deceptively simple on the surface, there are actually a dozen different “varieties” of nano-particles in the piece! To create a piece this complex, Hilldrup worked with 3D printing expert Gary Miller at IPF in Essex. Twelve different gradients of black material were produced, all in a single build along with the transparent material housing them.
This kind of sophisticated multi-material 3D printing is a hallmark of Stratasys’ Objet Connex multi-material 3D Printers.
Miller explained the unique twist made possible by the Objet Connex: “Like a ship in a bottle, producing a material inside another is just not possible using traditional manufacturing methods. In fact, no other 3D printing technology can print this combination of materials with a clear transparent material and the black. The results were amazing, especially given the fact the whole piece was produced overnight.”
Hilldrup, who created multi-material 3D printed sculptures using an Objet500 Connex 3D Printer for his 2012 “Fragments in Time” series, is a fan of the creative possibilities that emerge thanks to this technology. “For a long time in 3D printing, we were limited by the use of only one material at a time when producing a model. Objet Connex multi-material 3D printing changed everything – it frees you up conceptually to manufacture things that you previously could not visualize. It’s really satisfying when you design something and, when it’s actually produced, it mirrors the initial vision.”
Wishing the United Kingdom and Israel many exciting, productive years of scientific collaboration!