Octogenarian Craftsman Takes Up 3D Design for Holiday Gift of 3D Printed Miniature Furniture Set

sculpteo logoThe story of Jérôme Morin and his creativity is important, delivering impact in multiple ways. This is a gentleman who understands the significance of posterity, of keepsakes, and of holding his family close and dear, presenting them with delightful gifts that are meant to be kept forever.

He is a deeply thoughtful artist and maker whose work encompasses intricate detail, personalization, and significance for those on the very privileged receiving end. What is also significant is his age. At 80, Morin is blazing past the stereotypes that say those outside of the new high-tech generations can’t or won’t pick up some mad new digital skill sets. While I cannot say this is the case with most of the older generations in my family who dismiss the latest technology with a wave of the hand and say “leave that stuff to the younger people,” it’s safe to say we are all duly inspired to see a multi-talented artist and individual of any age who is a role model for everyone — from small children to your great-grandmother.

2014-miniatures-fauteuil-salonFor almost three decades, Morin has been gifting his family with impressive treats that put his design talent on full display. With a passion for design and also for miniatures, Morin is able to make, finish, and build gifts that he can give to younger generations that they can pass on as well. My daughter has a dollhouse that was my mother’s, then my sister’s, then my niece’s, and now belongs to her. It’s filled with amazing pieces of miniature furniture, from a porcelain bathtub and toilet, to handcrafted bunk beds with actual little bedspreads. Not only does my little one have hours of imaginary delight with the dollhouse, but the gift imbues special warmth and a sense of comfort because it is a family heirloom. The pieces end up scattered all around our real house, and we all take special care to put them back where they belong.

Also taking special care not to disappoint, Morin decided this year to gift his grandson with an entire living room — his own. Yes, in miniature. And this time — with 3D printing. Morin already had the basic skills necessary for 3D design, so he knew the general direction he wanted to go in, and what new technology he thought would work, but he needed advice.

“I’m not too bad at using architecture, animation or AutoCAD softwares. But I knew I had to perfectly master 3D modelling skills to get the result I was hoping for, which would take a really long time,” said Morin.

IMG_7891He turned to Sculpteo for a true collaboration in crafting his grandson’s gift. It’s no surprise that someone with such a creative spirit would have a living area decorated with many fine details. To replicate them in miniature was a challenge indeed, but obviously that’s what Morin thrives on with his projects.

“My main concern when I make my miniatures is about fineness and details,” he said. “I had to choose between laser cutting and 3D Printing.”

Because finishing is so important in the making of miniatures, Morin was drawn to the services provided by Sculpteo on numerous levels, especially as he was able to work with one of their designers in turning his concept into exactly the reality he envisioned with 3D printing.

Through pictures and brainstorming, Morin and the designers were able to create the 3D files. The ideas were translated into reality at Sculpteo, where they used polyamid material with SLS – and due to the precision of each round of layering with the nylon powder, both the designers and production crew were able to assist Morin in achieving the delicate details required for each miniature piece of furniture, from basic shapes to parts like narrow chair legs. At Sculpteo, they used the following 3D printers to achieve their goals with the printing of the miniatures:

  • EOS Formiga P100
  • P110
  • P395
  • P730

That’s just an example of Sculpteo doing their job – and doing it well, as a full-service 3D printing marketplace. Whether you are designing and need help with 3D printing, or if you are selling, it’s a world unto itself where you can certainly while away the hours learning, conceptualizing, and even making a living from the hobby or small business you are passionate about. Sculpteo offers educational videos, advice, workshops, and apps.

piano

“Sculpteo gave me the ideal solution in order to create my miniaturized furniture,” said Morin.

Morin’s gift for his grandson puts a whole new spin on the idea of making your own gift —and while there is a whole world of caring people out there putting genuine thought and effort into their gifts for loved ones, I think it’s safe to say that there are grandchildren few and far between with a grandfather who went to quite these lengths all on his own to give such a magnificent gift – which transcends the holiday, and should last a lifetime and beyond, as it is handed down and enjoyed by future appreciative generations.

Have you had experience creating miniatures with 3D printing? Why did you choose 3D printing, if so? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Miniature Living Room forum over at 3DPB.com.

Holiday Fish Care: Helios Labs Creates 3D Printed Automated Feeder

logoThe folks at Helios Labs must have been reading my mind all the way from Thailand, as I perused the holiday aisles searching for a big gift with some wow factor — a challenge that grows monumentally each year. As the idea for purchasing an aquarium began to spring forth, so did all the questions and concerns surrounding being a new fish owner. What about filtering and maintenance? Will it smell? How complicated is this? And the biggie: who would take care of this fish if we went to visit with the grandparents for a few days?

You simply can’t pack up the fish bowl or aquarium and go; at least, I don’t want to (now there’s a vision). And I don’t want to bother a neighbor or a relative and use up all my favors simply to have someone drop everything or drive across town twice a day to sprinkle a few golden fish flakes for an animal they have no emotional attachment to, and leave. With all that in mind, the fish idea came and went in about thirty seconds.

The automatic pet feeder for your hamster, cat, dog, and more has been in existence for a long time (I’m envisioning the recycled two-liter bottle turned upside down into a plastic device), but what about the fish? How could the most simple of pets be the most difficult to sustain when you have a business trip planned or want to jaunt off on a week-long camping trip to the Keys?

3d printed fish feederNeed is always a great motivator, and the feeding of fish apparently occurs to many others during the holidays as well. The design team at Helios Labs, based in Bangkok, was in need of making sure their fish were fed over the holidays and they had a very short time to come up with an automated feeding system for their aquaponics project. Turning to the 3D printer for their first utilitarian design, Helios Labs was able to come up with a small but effective 3D printed prototype that could feed their fish in their aquaponics system for up to one month.

To feed the fish at established times during the day, the Helios team employed Arduino software and a modified 9g micro servo, which you can find the details on here. With the servo controlling the desired levels of food to be distributed, they established feeding times in the early afternoon and later in the evening. The team was able to quiet and ‘detach’ the servo in between feeding times as they noted the modified servo “would remain continuously powered and jittering in between feeding time” due to ‘creep.’ Using Arduino software was the quickest way to accomplish their needs for feeding time and having the servo go quiet in the down time.

Designed in Sketchup8, and standing at 140 mm tall, the fish-feeding prototype was 3D printed with supports, at build dimensions of 2 mm or more, for durability and to prevent fragile walls and breakage. The auger and servo required modifications, and will probably be further modified also as Helios Labs continues perfecting their fish feeder and aquaponics system. They will release current files for the fish feeder on request. If you are interested, click here to contact Helios Labs.

fish feeder 2Due to need, the team went from having only used 3D printing to make prototypes of key chains to using it out of necessity for their automated feeding system, quite successfully. They are still perfecting the prototype and we look forward to reporting on further progress regarding their work with 3D design, printing, and aquaponics. This also means revisiting the idea for purchasing that home aquarium.

Headquartered in Thailand, Helios labs specializes in graphics, interior design, and product design. They also produce a news publication, BIT Magazine, where they offer information regarding synthetic biology, technology, and other relevant news regarding their interest in open source and DIY design.

Have you 3D printed any automated devices like this using 3D printing and Arduino software? Would you purchase the 3D printed fish feeding device? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Automated Feeder forum over at 3DPB.com.

Concept to Prototype

fish feeder 4