Some of you may already have gained this painful experience: You have designed a sculpture with lots of love and hard work and then after 3D printing the disillusionment kicks in – the object falls to ground when you try to position it. For exactly this problem Disney Research has a solution for you. An algorithm calculates where metal balls need to be placed to balance your 3D printed sculpture.
To show that the algorithm works Disney Research has printed a teddy bear in 6 different positions and all the teddy bears have metal balls inside them to ensure they don’t fall down. The metals balls where placed inside the objects during the 3D printing process.
A modified version of the algorithm can also be used to modify objects for under water usage. For example a 3D printed dolphin can be balanced to ensure he “swims” in the right position. Without this technique such an object would take several tries to ensure it is printed the right way.
In the Future Disney wants to continue working on the new technique to also be able to fill sculptures with sand instead of metal balls. That would allow even more flexible filling of the objects and would be cheaper and easier to handle than metal balls. Disney Research is very active and has several other projects for example they work on an interactive system that helps to build robots.