Tom Van den Bon #3dprint365 3D Print Header Image 4

Local maker has created a new 3D print for every day of 2017

On New Year’s Eve 2017, maker Tom Van den Bon was 3D printing while slightly intoxicated and had one of those great ideas you can only have on a buzz: he would 3D print something new for every single day of the forthcoming year.

Unlike most New Year’s resolutions that evaporate once most of us sober up, Van den Bon decided to stick with it.

“I thought this would be a good idea to print models I would never print normally. My printers have mostly been used for prototyping projects and the odd gadget here and there. My goals were to learn from different designs so that I can apply it to my own design and to spark some inspiration for future projects,” says Van den Bon, “You never realise how smartly something was designed until you print and assemble it.”

As one of the founders of the makerspace BinarySpace he saw first hand that many people don’t fully grasp what a 3D printer can do until they have one of the prints in their hands, and this was further impetus to continue.

The 3D print that started it all on 1st January.

While the project started off easily enough, time problems soon arose when the Christmas holidays finished and Van den Bon had to return to work. But he soldiered on and he’s not missed a single day so far. There have been some failed prints along the way (see the mangled corpse of Mickey Mouse in the gallery below) but printing isn’t the only issue. Documenting the process and taking pictures also added to the time worries, so some snaps are simpler cellphone pictures instead of artsy shoots.

The favourite prints so far include the functioning Toyota engine which was “very interesting and educational” and the life size LEGO flowers that may become a full garden at a later stage.

The articulated pangolin below and famous hairy lion are also standouts.

Then another problem struck in the amount of filament needed to continue. Around a kilogram of the stuff was being used every week and creating new prints was becoming a huge financial drain.

Luckily, local companies Cadhouse, SiGNL and 3D Printing SA came forward, along with a few private individuals, to sponsor filament to keep the project going. It also provided the opportunity to experiment with different kinds of materials.

With around a quarter of the year over now there are many prints to be made before 2017 ends. Van den Bon also adds that there are a lot of great things planned for that time and he’s even open to suggestions and collaborations. You can follow his daily updates of the project on TwitterInstagram or Facebook and with the hashtag #3dprint365.

Excluding today (25th April), there are 114 prints and you can find each of them in the gallery below. It’s also in chronological order, so you can see the trends in filament use as well as progress on larger projects such as the engine.



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