Octopus Submarine Is Something Out Of [Jules Verne]’s Imagination

Making an octopus on a Reprap or Makerbot isn’t that terribly hard. There were dozens of these octopuses at nearly every Maker Faire booth with a 3D printer. These octopuses have almost become a right of passage for new owners of 3D printers, and serves as a wonderful reference object on par with the Utah teapot and the Stanford bunny.

[Sean Charlesworth] wasn’t happy with any old octopus; no, he had to build a better octopus, and what better way to do as such then to make a steampunk and [Jules Verne]-inspired model submarine?

[Sean]’s Octopod underwater salvage vehicle was almost entirely printed on a very expensive printer. Save for a few LEDs, electronics, and armature wire, the entire model sub/octopus was printed on an Objet 500 Connex printer.

The Objet is unique among most 3D printers in that it can print objects made of several types of materials. In [Sean]’s show and tell he showed me how the tentacles were made of a hard plastic material and a bendable rubber material. [Sean] put a piece of wire through the length of each tentacle so he could pose the Octopod in just about any way imaginable.

The hull of the Octopod is an amazing amount of work. The cockpit features miniature controls, an illuminated display for a very tiny pilot, and even moving parts that include a mechanical iris in the recovery bay, a winch that works, and even doors that open and close.

[Sean] put a bunch of glamour shots of the Octopod on his web site along with a few videos of the construction process. You can check those videos alongside my interview after the break.


11 thoughts on “Octopus Submarine Is Something Out Of [Jules Verne]’s Imagination

  1. Who takes this video? Not to distract from a cool project, but super tight shots, constantly moving handheld and shitty blur doesn’t do any project justice. People please stop using your crappy iPhone as a reporting tool!

  2. Am i the only one that gets extremely bugged by the ‘dusty’ feel of those printed plastics? i keep thinking i’m breathing plastic-cancer every time i’m near them… and i wash my hand throughly after i touch any printed model

    1. (sorry, wrong click #&$%@!!! trackmouse)

      You’re not alone, Britney :) i have _exactly_ the same feeling about those plastics… Whatever people do, they will always lack of mechanical consistency because of the aggregation method. It’s not a thermoplastic, neither a thermosetting polymer, so polymerization is superficial and its molar mass far to be optimal. Hence, it has obviously consequences on its mechanical characteristics.
      Applied to ceramics, such problems disappear due to the oven session, everything is binded like a conventionnal ceramic.
      But those new additive process open us some new fields on the complexity of materials, and it will take years again to get out of these premisces and see strong products on the markets. It’s a new era for new materials, and revolution is there, processes remain secondary.

  3. Are there companies that do this for hobbiests? I’ve looked around at the Shapeway-ponokos and haven’t found it yet.

    And just because I feel like guessing, I bet that model cost more that $1,000.

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