3D-printed broccoli

On Caltrain this weekend I shared my wifi with a guy traveling with a huge metal suitcase. As I turned to talk with him he saw my Noisebridge tshirt and said he was from Hacklab.to in Toronto and was going to be at Noisebridge this Wednesday (today!) As we chatted about hackerspaces he started pulling things out of a little black laptop bag. Twisty mathy-looking things but nicer quality than any 3D printed object I’d seen come out of a Makerbot. Some of them he’d sanded and puttied, some were sanded and then he’d made molds of them and casted the objects in what looked like lucite, and all the mathy things had equations penciled on them. “And this is the world’s first open source 3-D printed vacuum cleaner!” Chris said as he reached into the magic bag…. It was basically a tube with a socket for a tiny cheap motor and a place to put a filter. My son was staring with his mouth open at the array of stuff in my lap. “And this is broccoli!”

Yes… 3D printed broccoli. Chris had CAT scanned a piece of broccoli and then printed it. Awesome! I realized from that, I have a CD somewhere with a CAT scan of my brain, and with the right file conversions I could potentially print my brain!

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Chris had a telescope lens he had printed and a paper which I skimmed there on the train about the process & pitfalls of making good quality lenses with a printer.

Come to his talk tonight at Replicator Wednesday, at Noisebridge, 6pm.

Chris will talk a bit about 3D printing and types of printers in general, the software ecosystem around 3D printing, his experience making *lenses* with printers, and his project implicitCAD written in Haskell… (there is some documentation of implicitCAD here at github.

Anyway, it was a truly great random encounter. I love when this sort of thing happens! It turns out Chris is also a finalist for the Thiel Foundation 20 under 20 fellowship — I hope he gets selected!

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One Response to 3D-printed broccoli

  1. Chris Olah says:

    It was super cool meeting you on the train too! What a small world!

    I should be clear, I didn’t actually CAT scan the broccoli, I just helped the scan become a 3D object. :) Also, I got to be there when a Romanesco broccoli got scanned!

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