Lend me your Ear

The blueprint above and our result below

Last night I visited our State of the Art library here in Dun Laoghaire. Yes it was happening there and then. An Intro to 3D printing.

I abandoned the laptop and joined the group, availing of a state of the art stool with wheels that allowed me to slip in at the back. Old and young, about ten of us. the explanatory video showed us examples of stuff you can make. from key fobs to plastic bottles to body parts such as ears and even kidneys. My brain was bursting. -surely this is a hook to hang other innovations on. The teacher begged for questions as we were a recalcitrant bunch. I tried to hold back, not to hog the floor. How do you make an ear? The frame is made using 3D printing then filled with cell material! If all goes well, it will grow on to the head, as good as the real thing.

There are three steps in three D printing. Sketch, Construct and amend, the teacher explained. Extrude, tweak, Fillet, Chamfer. I took the mouse in my left hand and led the experiment. None of us were young but the experience of each came through. Chamfering made sense to a guy who always made things out of wood, changing text was another person’s forte. I was grabbed by the possibilities and the smooth technology, turning the shape before my eyes, so I could see any plane, The old experiences grafted onto the new technology, much like the ear was grafted on to the body.

We then watched as our creations took form and like children at a pottery class, took home the finished product.

Lion made of PLA – Polymer with lactic acid.

This Lion was printed using 3D technology. His hair was blow dried and partially melted!


  1. Wish I had been there…like something I would have enjoyed.

    3D printing will make a huge impact in Construction

    Already I have seen simple buildings constructed by 3D (not printers) but concrete pouring machines.

    but the best use example I have come across to date relates to a large industrial installation where everything had been installed and commissioned as per the drawings but there is a particular large control value and the maintenance crew have discovered that the wheel to open it although according to specification would be easier to operate if the control wheel could be replaced with one of a large diameter.

    Now the industrial plant is in some remote location – the construction is complete and the expense never mind the logistics to get a new value wheel/handle would be challenging. Whereas a simple 3D printer linked to a welding machine will have the job done in minutes at a fraction of the cost.

    That reminds me I think last year they used a 3D printer to make something on the ISS – can’t get more remote than the International Space Station

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its really amazing stuff. The teacher was saying that they were hoping to use it on Mars to build a station using the local raw materials of sand and hoping to find a binding material like water on the planet.You would certainly have enjoyed the talk.


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