3D in colour

Print Hi-Tech: 3D in colour

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

For July and August, I chose the most colourful news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies.

Today: the wonderful world of pop-up books; the magic of water colour printing; new ways to 3D print colourful objects; beautiful cakes created with 3D printing.

The Pop-Up World: Books in 3D

Do you like pop-up books or do you think they are primitive and boring? Just have a look at this list of the best pop-up books ever made. You’ll be amazed how inspiring they can be. Discover a fascinating paper world in extra 3D dimension!

These wonderful collectables are created by talented ‘paper engineers.’ It appears that the pop-up culture has its own biggest names, and Robert Sabuda, the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Beauty and the Beast and more, is definitely among them.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-up by Robert Sabuda celebrates the 100th anniversary of Frank Baum’s edition. The book contains a short version of the original story combined with the beautiful artwork in the style of W.W. Denslow, holographic foil on every spread, and a number of mini pop-ups.

Water Printing: The magic of colours

3D printing is rapidly developing over the past few years, but to colour complex 3D patterns both accurately and efficiently is still a problem.

Water transfer printing (or hydrographics) has been around for a decade or even more. While being able to transfer inks on a thin film to the surface of a 3D object, it suffers from the inability to accurately register colour texture to complex geometries.

Now, researchers came to offer computational hydrographic printing: a standard hydrographic technology plus 3D vision system to create a precise texture map. According to them, the cost-effective method inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures making them look somewhat vivid and real. The results are amazing!

Colours for 3D Printing: A way to go?

Getting colour into 3D printing is not easy. But this year we witnessed a number of announcements including DIY segment that could make full-coloured 3D objects a closer reality.

Stratasys announced the enterprise-grade J750 model based on proprietary Polyjet technology. The printer which is said to print with photorealistic colour accuracy can handle materials of various hardness and even transparencies.

stratasys j750 3D colour

Moreover, Stratasys and Adobe partnered to offer a solution to produce realistic colour 3D models. Stratasys Creative Colours is powered by Adobe’s 3-D colour print engine. The printing platform is called Connex3 (the same PolyJet technology) and allows three photopolymer based resins to be printed at once.

Aad van der Geest, an independent product designer, created the ‘Colorpod’, an add-on for Ultimaker to print in full colour, using the same powder and technology found in expensive binder jetting machines.

Jason Powell, a user from Instructables, came up with a DIY path to bring full-color 3D printing to Rostock Max, the popular delta 3D printer priced only $1,000. While companies like Stratasys are aiming the industrial segment of full-colour printing, Powell shows that the same result an be achieved with open source and shared ideas.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

The Ukrainian chef Dinara Kasko from Kharkov uses geometry and biomimicry to create the most colourful and appetising desserts. “I want to make something interesting and fresh, experimenting with new creative ideas,” she says.

In her interview to “So good…” magazine, she explains that she is trying to connect architecture, design, and patisserie: “A beautiful cake, as well as a beautiful building, needs preliminary design”.

First, 3D master models are designed, printed and post-processed. After that, they cast the silicone mould. Currently, Dinara Kasko starts to work with large silicone moulds producers: Silikomart decided to put some of her models into mass production. The Bubbles mould (see the photo) will be available for sale in September.

Print Hi-Tech: 3D colours

Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv

Print Hi-Tech: May & June

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: beautiful imperfection of old books; conductive silver inks for industrial inkjet printing of electronic; inkjet making inroads into additive manufacturing; Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv.

Books and Permanence: The Expired Series

The Japanese term wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics centred on of transience and imperfection. It is the sense of undeclared beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete waiting patiently to be discovered.

In 2013, Kerry Mansfield, an American photographer, created a series of photosdedicated to a strange beauty of expired library books. She shows us their damages that make each book unique discovering its history. Mansfield says she felt nostalgia for the library experience. As a result, she spent more than two years collecting former library books.

“Once they are too abused or out of date they’re written off as ‘withdrawn’, ‘removed’, ‘expired’, and taken out of circulation…. The unlucky ones get recycled back into pulp… Now they have a new life, as portraits of the unique shared experience found only in a library book,” she explains. Mansfield’s goal was to bring these damaged books back to life through photography, treating each as if it were a relic.

Print Hi-Tech: Expried Series

Electronic ink: A way to wearable electronic?

DuPont Advanced Materials launched a new PE410 electronic ink for inkjet Konica Minolta print heads. Possible applications cover a wide range of “lab to fab” processes: from rapid digital design to prototyping to full-scale manufacturing.

The manufacturer underlines that the new ink will enable digital printing for electronic components and circuits with extremely fine lines, including OLED panels, solar cells, antennae and touch panels. Other possible niches are smart packaging applications and even smart clothing.

According to the research company IDTechEx, the market for conductive inks and pastes will reach 3 billion $US in 2025. Therefore, is one of the most dynamic segments within the printed electronics industry. Integrated into plastic featuring, electronic inks could probably eliminate the need for bulkier and heavier conventional switches and wires saving space and weight.

Print Hi-Tech: DuPont conductive ink

AM + Inkjet = quick and efficient process?

After making inroads into industrial printing, inkjet may finally enter the additive manufacturing market. Israel’s Xjet introduced the ‘Nano Particle Jetting” technology that builds solid metal parts without any laser beam like in selective laser sintering (SLS) or electron beam.

The system applies metal in liquid form from standard inkjet nozzles. According to the innovators, the process is both quick and precise. The liquid metal 3D printer uses a cartridge with metal dust that loads into the machine much like with a document printer. Later the printed objects go into a conventional sintering oven to produce the final part.

Avi Cohen, markets development manager for XJet, says that the final metal parts are fully dense and have no thermal distortions or residual stress associated with powder bed metal printing processes. The building process is up to five times quicker that of laser-based additive manufacturing systems with a layer thickness of under 2 microns. At RAPID 2016 in May, the massive machine was finally introduced to public.

Bonus: Made In Ukraine

Founded in 1994, Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv (Ukrainian: Forum vydavtsiv u Lvovi) is an international book fair and the largest book-related event in Ukraine reaching its 23d edition. In 2016, the Publishers’ Forum and the 11th International Literary Festival, one of major European literary festivals, will take place on September 12–18.

Publishers, translators, entrepreneurs, journalists, printers and readers will come to Lviv, a major cultural centre for centuries. The aim is to promote reading as a means of contributing to the growth of cultural, intellectual and professional potential of the community, to meet with local and foreign authors and discuss their projects and plans.

Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv

LaMetric gadget

Print Hi-Tech: March & April

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: the most beautiful book in the world; so long, plastic? a biodegradable algae bottle; Disney files for game-changing 3D printing patents; Red Dot Product Design Award 2016 goes to Ukraine.

A beautiful bookstore story

In March, the most beautiful book in the world was announced in Leipzig, Germany. The annual book design competition has been held since 1963. The international competition welcomes books, which were singled out by expert panels in their countries of origin.

This year judges examined about 600 books from 32 countries: Order: Fangyuan Story published by Guangxi Art won the top prize. Written by Lu Chonghua and designed by Li Jin, it tells the story of a 33-year-old private bookstore.

After graduating from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Lu Chonghua managed a bookstore belonging to his family. On every book order, Lu drew portraits reflecting his feelings. Four years later, he decided to make a book of those memorable portraits, and his best friend, Li Jin, agreed to design the book.

the most beautiful book in the world 2016

the most beautiful book in the world

A really biodegradable bottle

Plastic water bottles became an integral part of our “throw-away” culture. According to onegreenplanet.org, 40 billion plastic bottles end up in our landfills every year. Along with other forms of plastic that totals to 8.8 million tonnes entering the ocean.

“I read that 50 percent of plastic is used once and then thrown away so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Ari Jónsson, a product design student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, says. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”

Ari Jónsson created a water bottle that’s made out of algae, a material that, unlike plastic, doesn’t leave a near-permanent problem behind after it’s been used. His bottle needs to contain liquid to keep its shape and as soon as it’s empty it will start to decompose. So far, the biodegradable bottle is only a conceptual piece. Jónsson admits that the biggest issue with algae as a packaging material is that it tears easily. Let’s just hope that major manufacturers will take inspiration from this invention.

A really biodegradable bottle

Disney to reinvent 3D printing?

Disney files for a series of patents that could totally change 3D printing industry. The most significant part is a system that offers a new approach to the printing process.

Instead of slowly printing layer by layer, the stereolithography-based system blasts a volumetric image into a print chamber filled with liquid polymer. The light creates a mirror image in the polymer, which reacts to the light and cures effectively. The newly formed object can be picked out of the chamber as the rest of the polymer remains uncured.

The replicator is designed to work with plastics and is meant for mass production of Disney merchandise. Actually, it can be turned into a reliable method for other materials, and then it will be a quantum leap for the whole industry.

Disney 3D printing patent

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

LaMetric gadget created by Smart Atoms startup based in Ukrainian Lviv was awarded the Red Dot Product Design Award 2016.

A multifunctional LED display, LaMetric displays time and useful info including social networks notifications, e-mails, weather forecasts by synchronising with applications like Google Calendar, CrossFit, Apple Store, IFTTT etc. Nazar Bilous, CEO of Smart Atoms, said that the startup intends to increase sales of La Metric Time online and to access premium off-line networks.

LaMetric isn’t the first Ukrainian project with the Red Dot Award. Last year, the prize was awarded to Catherine Sokolova from Kharkiv and her portable AeroTwist speakers, a joint project with Jarre Technologies.

LaMetric gadget created by Ukrainian Smart Atoms

Pop-up paper books

Print Hi-Tech: December

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: subtle pop-up worlds of Katsumi Komagata; VR experience out of a pizza box; 3D printed latte; DROTR Calls&Chat app with automatic translation support.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Katsumi Komagata, a book artist from Japan, started as a graphic designer developing packaging. Now he is best known for his innovative pop-up books. He has won numerous honours, including the Prize for Creativity (Paris), a New Art Prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, an International Children’s Book Award (Switzerland).

In 2008, Komagata released Little Tree, an existential story tracing the life-cycle of a single tree told in Japanese, French, and English. A beautiful allegory, it ends with a seed that spurs a new cycle of life, sending it all back to the beginning.

Simple as they are, the pop-up paper books by Katsumi Komagata are colorful and full of life. He has also created picture books for children with disabilities, including tactile and sign-language books.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Virtual hi-tech… with cardboard

When Google announced a DIY virtual reality kit made of cardboard last summer, people asked if it was a joke. Offered as part of Google’s annual giveaway, the device was a low-cost crowdsourced toolkit anyone could build to run basic VR experiences.

Actually, it’s a housing for a smartphone made from cardboard. You also get a lens kit, magnets, velcros, a rubber band, and an easily programmable sticker tag for automatic launch of the mobile app. A low-key yet completely usable headset is good enough for a revelatory VR experience. You can even cut your own cardboard housing out of a pizza box.

Advertisers are paying close attention to the prospects for Google Cardboard. In November 2015, The New York Times made a step into virtual reality with Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer. The Times used a promotion to deliver 1.2 million kits to home-delivery subscribers for watching “The Displaced,” its first film in a virtual-reality series telling about three refugee children growing up in Lebanon, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Google Cardboard for NYT

Taking latte art to a whole new level

Innovations in 3D technologies are going to change our lives in a number of ways. But waiting for your life to change, you can still enjoy your coffee! Would you like it 3D printed?

In just seconds, the Ripple Maker transfers any image or text from a digital library on the coffee foam. A small (21 х 27 х 50 cm) Wi-Fi connected device supports customized designs as well which makes it an innovative promotion tool. Moreover, the device remembers birthdays and anniversaries.

“We are excited to unveil the Ripple Maker and proud to announce Lufthansa as our first global brand,” said Yossi Meshulam, CEO of Steam CC, parent of Ripples. “Our mission is to add meaning, depth and joy to the coffee experience, cup by cup.  And this aligns so beautifully with Lufthansa’s commitment to ‘Nonstop You’.”

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

DROTR Calls&Chat is a new VoIP technology service announced a couple of years ago as Droid Translator. The app was developed by Ukrainian software engineer Oleksandr Konovalov. Unlike Skype and Viber, it can automatically translate voice and text messages into 30 languages.

The new service includes a built-in video call with interpretation, a voice call with interpretation and a chat with translation. According to Konovalov, live interpretation of each phrase in Skype may take up to 45 seconds. As of today, the service is available for Android devices. The iOS version is currently being tested by Apple.

The basic application is free to download. The full version supports conversation recording and stores transcripts into a separate file.

Print Hi-Tech: November 2015

Print Hi-Tech: November

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: Amazon goes brick-and-mortar; amazing paper sculptures born in Canada; Local Motors makes its first 3D printed car; nursery rhymes and kid songs created in Ukraine for English-speaking audience.

Amazon: combining online and physical worlds

After twenty years of selling books online, Amazon opened a ‘traditional’ shopping centre  in Seattle’s University Village, with printed books on real shelves. Jennifer Cast, Vice President of Amazon Books, stated that the store is meant to be an extension of their website, and a place where customers can try out their Kindles and Fire Tablets. It could be the beginning of a whole new era in online business – big data as a supplement to human insight, not a substitute for it, writes the Forbes magazine.

It is clear that Amazon relies heavily on its data. But what else is the company planning? According to the Seattle Times, Amazon says the store won’t be stocked solely on data. “It’s data with heart,” said Jennifer Cast. “We’re taking the data we have and we’re creating physical places with it.”

Some of that data include reviews from the millions of Amazon customers. Below each book on the shelf is a card with either a review or a rating from the site. The company also has offered a corporate favorites section that will be updated. In November, the section included a few of Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ favorite titles. Some of them are “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, and “Traps” by his wife, MacKenzie Bezos.

Amazon goes brick-and-mortar

Paper Sculptures from Calvin Nicholls

Canadian paper sculpture artist Calvin Nicholls creates awesome low relief reproductions. An extremely detailed piece can take from a few weeks up to two years depending on scale and complexity.

For those who would like to try and make their own pictures capturing all of the shapes and shadows, the artist gives a number of recommendations. Cuts are made with scalpels and x-acto knives on a plastic cutting mat or cutting board. Small scissors can work if you go slow and cut in very smooth motions. Use a very small amount of glue on a toothpick. Attach the pieces starting at the tip of the tail and work up – just like shingles on a roof.

Have fun developing your own style. Maybe you could even make your own snow-white greeting card — just in time for Christmas!

Paper Sculptures from Calvin Nicholls

3D Printed Cars Made a Reality

American Local Motors founded by Jay Rogers and best known for its $100,000 off-road Rally Fighter crowdsourced vehicle announced one more innovation. Its new LM3D Swim road-ready vehicle is 3D printed and crafted using a design sourced from the creative community.

According to Jay Rogers, they hope that cars may really become “safe, smart, and sustainable.” To turn an aesthetic crowdsourced concept model into a functional automobile, Local Motors’ product development team relied on the so-called synchronous design based on Siemens’ Solid Edge software.

The LM3D will likely be shipped in 2017 as both a highway-ready model and as a low-speed electric vehicle. The announced price tag is $53k for a car. Partnering with IBM and other tech companies, Local Motors is going to implement new technology with every new car off the line. Jay Rogers is sure that this will make the cars smarter and safer.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Recently, an animation studio from Ukrainian Lviv created a new 3D animation project for English speakers. After one and a half months, Dave and Ava YouTube channel with animated nursery rhymes and baby songs has got more than 15 million views in North America.

The smartphone app will be ready to download soon. The team is working hard to make their animations available on iOS and Android devices, so you can enjoy Dave and Ava Nursery Rhymes offline.

The 100% Ukrainian project, from ideas to music to 3D animators and actors, is funded by local investors.

Olivier Poujol portraits

Print Hi-Tech: August

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: the world’s oldest multicolored printed book; collages and portraits created from packaging tape; a completely 3D printed fashion collection; 3D Print Conference returns to Kyiv.

The Oldest Multicolored Printed Book

The world’s oldest multicolor book printed in China is now digitized and available at Cambridge University Library’s site. The 17th century manual presenting examples of calligraphy and painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu) is so fragile that it was previously forbidden to be opened.

Created in 1633, the book is the earliest known example of polychrome xylography, when several printing blocks are applied in succession with different inks to achieve the appearance of a hand-painted watercolor.

The manual contains eight categories showcasing birds, plumbs, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings and miscellany.

The Oldest Multicolored Printed Book

Image courtesy: Cambridge University Library

Portraits from Packaging Tapes

Olivier Poujol, a French artist living in Marocco since 2011, uses packaging tape to create stunning collages and portraits.

When Olivier arrived to Morocco, he was struck by its beauty, culture… and piles of cardboard boxes with packing adhesives. Soon he discovered that Moroccans reuse almost everything. So, Olivier began turning these waste items into true works of art creating his collages from several layers of scotch in a table.

“Tones, colors, shapes and emotions I create from such simple material like the packing tape, never stop to surprise me,” Olivier says.

Portraits from Packaging Tapes

3D Printing Clothes at Home

Digital сouture takes fashion in new directions. After the acceptance of sublimation printers, designers are slowly adopting 3D printing, usually for accessories or clothes parts.

Israeli fashion student Danit Peleg created a completely 3D printed fashion collection using desktop 3D printers installed at her home. When she first embarked on her 3D printing project, she knew absolutely nothing about the technology.

The collection was designed over a nine month period, with 3D printers running for about 2,000 hours. The results of this project are presented in the clip below.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

On September 10, 3D Print Conference returned to Kyiv for the second time. For now, it’s the largest Ukrainian event covering 3D printing and 3D scanning technologies.

The conference featured a full day of workshops and presentations plus an exhibition where manufacturers, distributors, and 3D printing service providers demonstrated their technologies and solutions. Session topics explored latest technologies, trends, and business applications, as well as the best strategies and tip for users of 3D printers.

A detailed post on the conference and presentations can be found here.

3D Print Conference Kyiv

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Photos by: 3dprintconf.com.ua