Tattoo your 3D Prints with Velocity Painting

Just when it seems like we’ve juiced all the creative potential out of our 3D printers, a bold new feature lands on the table. Enter Velocity Painting, a concept brought to life by [Mark Wheadon] that textures our 3D prints with greyscale images.

At its core, the technique is straightforward: skin an image onto a 3D print by varying the print speed in specific locations and, thereby, varying just how much plastic oozes out of the nozzle. While the concept seems simple, the result is stunning.

Velocity Painting opens up new ways of expression on top of an existing print with all the skinning opportunities. Imagine adding a texture for realism like this rook that’s been patterned with a brick layout, or imagine an aesthetic embellishment like the flames on [Mark’s] dragon print.

The results speak for themselves, and the growing number of users are proving it. Head on over to the gallery to indulge yourself in this delightful oozing aesthetic that’s sure to turn a few heads.

[Mark Wheadon’s] hack takes the mechanics of how we print and adds another creative tuning knob. If you’re looking for other embellishments for your prints, have a look at [David Shorey’s] work on texturizing fabrics.

Living 3D Printer Filament

This is more than a printing filament hack — closer to bleeding edge bio-engineering — but we can’t help but be fascinated by the prospect of 3D printing with filament that’s alive on a cellular level.

The team from MIT led by [Xuanhe Zhao] and [Timothy Lu] have programmed bacteria cells to respond to specific compounds.  To demonstrate, they printed a temporary tattoo of a tree formed of the sturdy bacteria and a hydrogel ‘ink’ loaded with nutrients, that lights up over a few hours when adhered to skin swabbed with these specific stimuli.

So far, the team has been able to produce objects as large as several centimetres, capable of being adapted into active materials when printed and integrated as wearables, displays, sensors and more.

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Tattoos by Robotic Arm With Pinpoint Accuracy

Tattoos are an ancient art, and as with most art, is usually the domain of human expertise. The delicate touch required takes years to master, but with the capacity for perfect accuracy and precision movements, enlisting a robotic arm and some clever software to tattoo a willing canvas is one step closer thanks to the efforts of [Pierre Emm] and [Johan da Silveira].

They began by using a 3D printer modified to ‘print’ with a tattoo needle. Catching the interest of the Applied Research Lab at Autodesk, the next logical step was to use an industrial robot arm get a human under the tattooing machine — dubbed Tatoué — after scanning the limb in question and loading it into Dynamo, their parametric design environment to map the design onto the virtual limb.

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Turning The Makerbot Into A Tattoo Machine

tattoo

ENSCI les Ateliers, the famous design school in Paris, had a “Public Domain Remix” and hackathon recently, with teams splitting up to remix public domain and other free-to-use IP in projects. Most of the teams came up with similar ideas, but one team went above and beyond the call of duty; they turned a 3D printer into a tattoo machine, capable of inking a real, live human test subject.

The build began by plotting a circle with a pen onto a piece of paper. This evolved into printing a tool holder for a tattoo machine graciously provided by an amateur tattoo artist. Tests with “artificial skin” (any one care to hazard a guess at what that is?) were promising, and the team moved on to a human guinea pig.

The biggest problem the team faced is that humans aren’t flat. They tried a few tricks to tighten the skin around the area to be tattooed – metal rings, elastics, and finally the inner tube from a scooter. In the end, the team was able to tattoo a small circle on the forearm of the test subject.

It’s an extremely simple and small tattoo, and scaling this build up to a sleeve would be difficult. A better solution would be to create a point cloud of an arm before going for a much larger tattoo.

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A robotic tattoo artist

tattoo

Here’s something we thought we’d never see: a robot that turns a computer drawing into a tattoo on the user’s arm.

The basic design of the robot is a frame that moves linearly along two axes, and rotates around a third. The tattoo design is imported into a 3D modeling program, and with the help of a few motors and microcontrollers a tattoo can be robotically inked on an arm.

Since the arm isn’t a regular surface, [Luke] needed a way to calibrate his forearm-drawing robot to the weird curves and bends of his ar.  The solution to this problem is a simple calibration process where the mechanism scans along the length of [Luke]’s arm, while the ‘depth’ servo is manually adjusted. This data is imported into Rhino 3D and the robot takes the curve of the arm into account when inking the new tat.

Right now [Luke] is only inking his skin with a marker, but as far as automated tattoo machines go, it’s the best – and only – one we’ve ever seen.

Southwest Tour: Scrap Tattoo Gun

I had an idea for keeping things interesting on this long road trip through the southwest. I was going to gather a few bits from each hackerspace and build something using minimal tools while we were driving down the road.  I settled on the idea of a really simple “jailhouse” tattoo gun. I knew I could build one from parts I could source very easily and that I wouldn’t need much in terms of tools to make it happen.

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