Could the Mini-Me Make 3D-Printing Mainstream?

High Fidelity: The Guardian's Ian Tucker and his mini-me
High Fidelity: The Guardian's Ian Tucker and his mini-me

Ed. Note: “In the wake of the recent Colorado floods, members of the Boulder music community are coming together… to raise money for flood rescue and relief efforts.” Read more. Isn’t Dr. Evil’s “Mini Me” a parody of the corporate Elite’s “Strawman” conspiracy? Have you checked out images and stories at Freaking News?

The Guardian Studying a miniature reproduction of yourself is disconcerting. Whereas a sculpture or a drawing is a subjective creation of the artist this 3D printed plastic reproduction is unforgiving with its accuracy: if your nose looks weird, well that’s because it does.

Freaking News: Ice Cream Machine Gun From Dr. Evil and Mini-Me
Freaking News: Ice Cream Machine Gun From Dr. Evil and Mini-Me

This mini-me has been created by the team at iMakr, a 3D printing workshop based in Clerkenwell in London, who, in a sign of the technology’s entry into the mainstream, are opening a 3D pop-up shop and studio in the Oxford Street branch of Selfridges next month. Shoppers will be able to purchase 3D printed items created by product designers, use 3D software to print designs of their choice and purchase 3D printers for their homes, but the main draw is likely to be the opportunity to have a bust or full length 3D model printed of yourself.

IMakr’s founder Sylvain Preumont suspects that “people who are proud of themselves may order many copies”. Although he also expects proud parents to get their child’s head printed to send to an aunty overseas.

High Fidelity: The Guardian's Ian Tucker and his mini-me
High Fidelity: The Guardian’s Ian Tucker and his mini-me

You might expect the process to begin in some of kind laser-scanning booth, but lasers have a limited ability to distinguish colour, so instead the 3D image is captured with 40 digital cameras placed around the subject – since the model is printed in full colour rather than painted afterwards. The bust is hollow rather than solid and printed with a “high performance composite” material which feels more like ceramic to touch than plastic.

The imaging process relies on detecting light, so shiny or transparent clothing or accessories such as glasses can confuse the software. Similarly anything non-solid (big, flowing tresses of hair) or clothing that conceals spaces hidden from the camera – skirts or high heels – can result in strange forms and growths. Consequently women are more difficult to capture than men.

High Fidelity: "For the love of money is the root of all evil." 1 Timothy 6:10
High Fidelity: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Whether mini-models will turn out to be the “killer app” for 3D printing is a moot point. The price of printers is falling, iMakr’s cheapest model is £669, but as Preumont points out the real barrier to their uptake is our imagination: “We are good at buying but owning things isn’t the same as designing.”

For those not confident or skilled enough to create their own designs from scratch iMakr offers a number of pre-designed files that you can download to one of its 3D printers (or your own) via its My Mini Factory service. The expanding database of designs includes various lampshades and toys, an Iron Man facemask and a model of the Da Vinci catapult.

Materials scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik argues that 3D printing may not turn us all into makers but will allow manufacturers to create bespoke products.

“Modernism sold us a dream in order to make mass-production acceptable. It was basically saying ‘you don’t have to feel insignificant because everybody has the same thing’. Now you can have mass-produced manufacturing without having to produce the same object. You can have individualisation, you can have niche.” And you can’t get more individual than a resin clone of yourself. END OF ARTICLE. Read more.

Ed. Note: (October 1, 2013) “An ideal industry is defined as a device which receives value from other industries in several forms and converts them into one specific product for sales and distribution to other industries. It has several inputs and one output. What the public normally thinks of as one industry is really an industrial complex, where several industries under one roof produce one or more products. ” Read more.

Mini Me: How the American People Delegate Our Authority Via the "Strawman."
Mini Me: How the American People Delegate Our Authority Via the “Strawman.”

Hmmm….several inputs – like the bottom of the pyramid – and one output – like the top of the pyramid? Notice that the bible quote we have all heard so many times DOES NOT SAY that the LOVE OF GUNS is the root of all evil…..Read more.

“King James Version (KJV) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:1

Published on Mar 25, 2013 Cody R Wilson has figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home. Now he’s putting all the information online so that others will join him.

This is a story about the rapid evolution of a technology that has forced the American legal system to play catch up. Cody Wilson, a 25 year old University of Texas Law student, is an advocate for the open source production of firearms using 3D printing technology. This makes him a highly controversial figure on both sides of the gun control issue. MOTHERBOARD sat down with Cody in Austin, Texas to talk about the constitution, the legal system, and to watch him make and test-fire a 3D-printed gun.

Check out our podcast with Cody here: http://bit.ly/VICE-Podcast-Cody-Wilson

Produced By Erin Lee Carr, Edited by Chris O’Coin, Read more on MOTHERBOARD here: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/clic…

To find out more about what the ATF says about 3D-printed guns, read this: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-…

Music Credits:
“Darkness IV,” “Nights” — Matt Scholey
“Metronome” — Machew
“Stillpoint” — Orphx (Richard Oddie and Christina Sealey)
“Lost Again” — Orphx
“Apparition” — Orphx
“The Leaves Had a Voice” — The Supercomputer Six Thousand
“Spaces 3” — Jon Cooper
“Extreme Prejudice” — Andromeda Dreaming
“Dreaming in the Face of Disaster” — Deadhorse
“Hearts of Glass” — Brightspark!

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Click, Print, Gun:

The Inside Story of the 3D-Printed Gun Movement

Motherboard Being a 3D-printing novice, I was once somewhat skeptical of the promise behind what’s being billed as a truly game-changing technology. I saw Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis on the cover of Wired in late September, and while the novelty of the process incited wonder in my inner 10-year-old, I didn’t think much about it after the fact.

Enter Cody R. Wilson. Wilson is a 25-year-old University of Texas law student working to build semiautomatic weapons using 3D printers. His name first came up in conversation with a colleague after Wilson posted an Indiegogo pitch video demonstrating his intended use for a newly-acquired Stratasys 3D printer, which Stratasys subsequently repossessed.

I was intrigued. Wilson seemed to be an articulate and tech-savvy mouthpiece for a movement that a large portion of the country would deem dangerous and off-limits. To find out more about his fight against gun control, we flew down to his home base of Austin, Texas, where we first met Wilson at his apartment. I wasn’t sure what to make of him. He checked his phone every 10 seconds. He had a hard time making eye contact. Every other sentence ended with “Do you know what I mean?” He spoke on topics ranging from progress in the 3D-printed gun movement to American politics to the inherent revolutionary nature of bitcoins.

  • For more on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm’s stance on 3D-printed guns, check out this piece by Motherboard’s Adam Clark Estes. 

Soon enough Wilson showed us the CAD file on his computer for his lower receiver. Over us, a five-foot American flag hung as a self-described ironic statement. He’s a knowledgeable guy, and spoke at length about the development of Defense Distributed’s lower receiver, telling me that failure was a part of the scientific process. As he said, every time one of his designs fails, it offers more insight into what designs work.

Social niceties aside, we were there to watch Wilson build some guns. To be clear, Defense Distributed doesn’t print entire guns–at least not yet. Instead, Wilson’s team focuses on printing AR-15 lower receivers, which house most of the operating parts of that firearm.

It is also the part of the gun that’s considered a gun by the government. Other parts like barrels and stocks, especially those for the highly-modular AR-15 platform, can be purchased online, and often with no age restriction or background check needed.

Wilson is also focused on 3D printing 30-round magazine clips in anticipation of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapon ban bill, which would limit magazine size. To Wilson, the work is partly an effort to expose what he considers the futility of gun regulation. “[Magazines] prove the point much better than the lower receiver that you can’t ban a box and a spring,” he said.

Printing a lower receiver takes seven hours, but there is something particularly ominous about seeing the ARS plastic begin to take shape as the lower receiver is born.

Whatever your thoughts on gun control, it’s impossible to deny that the 3D-printed gun movement is something that doesn’t fit into the current legal framework. It’s either exciting or scary–or perhaps both–and that polarity is something Wilson recognizes, and which he knows how to bend to his advantage. It all made for a rather confusing week in Texas, during which we were often alone with just Wilson, who appears to have few distractions outside of his work with Defense Distributed. He’s created his own world in this mission, where friends or law school grades take a backseat to the message.

It’s impossible to know where that mission will end, but just as it’s clear that 3D printing is set to boom, it’s clear that Wilson and company have changed the boundaries of what that boom will bring.

Update 3/27: It’s come to our attention that some of the archival footage of the Sandy Hook shooting was mislabeled by our distributor, and is in fact aerial footage of a different school. While we don’t feel it affects the content of the piece, Motherboard apologizes for the error, and we’re currently changing the footage in the video.

Read more.