3d printing ice sculptures

[Jared Kotoff] asked an interesting question on Facebook. He asked if we had ever seen 3d printing in ice before. Though we couldn’t find anything in our archives, he managed to find a project that makes 3d printed ice sculptures. To do this, they actually print two materials inside a chamber that is -8 degrees Fahrenheit. The first material is Shortening Methyl Esther (SME) that is used as a scaffold or mold. The second material is just water, but the tip is heated to 68 degrees to keep it from freezing in the nozzle. They do two passes of water for every layer of SME, and scan with a laser and perform corrections after every five layers.

Once the print is completed, the sculpture has to be scraped clean of SME and then soaked in kerosine to remove the last of it.  There are several pictures at the linked article, but sadly no video.

Comments

  1. knightvoyager says:

    degrees celsius?

  2. jow says:

    kerosine to clean it up now you can not drink out the cup i think.

  3. 0xfred says:

    Nice. Although the article doesn’t really explain why the SME is needed. You’d guess that just carefully controlling the temperature would be enough, but I suppose water in its liquid state isn’t thick enough to stay where it’s put until it freezes.

    I suppose the SME and kerosene mean you wouldn’t want to drink out of the beer mug or martini glass though.

  4. Kerosine is not particularly toxic.

    http://www.homeofpoi.com/articles/FireSafety.php

    If you drink any kerosene, you should avoid vomiting to prevent inhalation of the fumes. It is recommended that you drink two glasses of water aver ingesting kerosine, to prevent indigestion, gas, or diarrhea.

    The important thing is to avoid getting it in your lungs, not your stomach (especially the small amount left behind on these ice sculptures).

    Paraffin oil would be preferred over kerosene I think, for a less irritating residual odor.

  5. Eirinn says:

    Ice ice baby.

  6. Chris C. says:

    Neat idea.

    But what is “shortening methyl ester”? Google doesn’t find anything but the article itself, so did they make up this term? Is it really just plain old shortening?

    I have a bottle of DMSO, which has several interesting properties; one being that it freezes at only 65°F. It would be easy to keep a room below this temperature, so I always wondered if it could be used for some kind of casting or support structure.

  7. Benny Boy says:

    This looks like step one to me.

    Step two, pack the ice-formed object in sand.

    Step three (get her to open the box), pour in metal from your backyard foundry (http://hackaday.com/2012/06/12/building-a-foundry-in-your-backyard/)

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