Why car makers still produce life size clay models

A clay model in progress 

A fascinating look behind the scenes of automotive design by Michael Wayland (Associated Press), and the return of making models out of clay after a flirtation with technology.

Twenty-five years ago, as milling and computer-aided design programs transformed the design process, it seemed clay modelers would be all but extinct. Bean counters saw the new technologies as a way to shorten the design process and cut costs. Modeling But carmakers found they were turning out lackluster vehicles due to a lack of hands-on interaction and being unable to effectively evaluate styling.

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The latest advance in 3D printing: replacement teeth

Imagine teeth that remain white and pristine over time, without all the accumulation of bacteria that cause dental problems. While the thought of having a 3D-printed tooth inside your mouth might not sound so great, is it really any worse than dealing with the constant toothache from a decaying tooth?

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Watch 3D printers weave a mesh dress around Brienne of Tarth

It looks like the opening to a film by the Wachowskis, but this is just the latest fashion show from Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, a pioneer in the world of 3D printing. Van Herpen has been using the technology to create designs for years, but her most recent show — Quaquaversal — turns the 3D printers themselves into performers. While models stalk the catwalk wearing van Herpen’s latest, three ancient-looking 3D printing arms weave a net-like garment around the prone figure of actress Gwendoline Christie, best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones (best seen from the nine minute mark in the video above).

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26 exclusive photos of Chanel’s new 3D printed couture collection

Fashion Week has a way of making collections seem to blend together — look after look, trend after trend. Sometimes live streaming shows just isn’t enough. The meticulous stitching, beading, and draping that goes into some pieces, especially couture, rarely get the attention it deserves. In the midst of fashion month, Chanel gave us the opportunity to slow down and take it all in at its showroom in New York City with a close-up look at the brand’s Fall 2015 couture collection.

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Low-cost robot hand wins Dyson prize

A prototype 3D-printed robotic hand that can be made faster and more cheaply than current alternatives is this year’s UK winner of the James Dyson Award. The Bristol-raised creator of the Open Bionics project says he can 3D-scan an amputee and build them a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days. It typically takes weeks or months to obtain existing products. Joel Gibbard says he aims to start selling the prosthetics next year. “We have a device at the lower-end of the pricing scale and the upper end of functionality,” he told the BBC. “At the same time it is very lightweight and it can be customised for each person. “The hand is basically a skeleton with a ‘skin’ on top. So, we can do different things to the skin – we can put patterns on it, we can change the styling and design. There’s quite a lot of flexibility there.” The 25-year-old inventor intends to charge customers £2,000 for the device, including the cost of a fitting. Although prosthetic arms fitted with hooks typically can be bought for similar prices, ones with controllable fingers are usually sold for between £20,000 and £60,000.

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Mutilated toucan gets 3D-printed beak

In a ground-breaking project, a Brazilian toucan which lost the upper part of its beak while being trafficked has been fitted with a prosthesis made with a 3D printer. The female bird, named Tieta, was rescued from a wildlife animal fair in Rio de Janeiro. It is not clear whether she lost the upper part of her beak after being mistreated by animal smugglers or in a fight with a bigger toucan she was locked up with inside a small box. The project was co-ordinated by wildlife management group Instituto Vida Livre and involved three Brazilian universities.

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Microsoft is turning the iPhone’s camera into a 3D scanner

Microsoft wants the camera on the back of your phone to do more than take 2D photos. A new project from Microsoft’s research lab is turning the average smartphone’s rear camera into a 3D scanner — one that can automatically create 3D models that are supposed to be good enough for printing. In a demo video, researchers use an iPhone 5S to scan objects just by moving the phone around them. The phone tracks the object that’s being captured and then builds up a model as the camera captures it from different angles.

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This new 3D printed glass looks just like pouring honey

Humans have been making glass in various forms for thousands of years, from glassblowing techniques developed by the Roman empire to the industrial methods of the 1950s, floating molten glass on huge baths of melted tin. One particularly ancient process though, in which molten glass is coiled around a solid core, has been revived with the help of modern technology. MIT’s Mediated Matter Group has unveiled a new way to 3D print glass, removing the need for a solid core but coiling the material in molten strands just like our ancestors did thousands of years ago.

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Are we ready to 3D print our own clothes?

Imagine going on holiday with an empty suitcase, checking out the vibe of the hotel bar on arrival, then printing out the perfect dress to match it in your room. Such a delicious possibility could be on offer – one day – thanks to 3D printing. In fact, the work of one fashion student, Danit Peleg, suggests it could be edging nearer.

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How Pixar Solves Problems From The Inside Out

Inside Out is the story of a young girl named Riley who moves to San Francisco from the midwest with her parents. To some extent, the story is about how she adjusts and how her relationship to her family changes along with their locale. But, in parallel, there is an internal story being told about her emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. Emotions which influence how Riley feels, acts and reacts to events in her life — as reflected by some very clever construct building that I won’t spoil here. This dual story led to some sticky issues when it came to representing and differentiating them in ways that contributed to the story. I spent some time at Pixar recently, watching just under an hour of Inside Out and talking to some of the creative people behind the movie. Though there were dozens of anecdotes, a couple of them stood out to me as unique examples of Pixar’s ability to solve technical and creative problems through tool building.

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