3DPI.TV – 3D Printer Hack for 3D Printing Tattoos

The idea for 3D Printing tattoos started as part of a workshop titled Public Domain Remix, hosted by the French Ministry of Culture. The participants of the event were instructed to remix images, sounds and video found in the public domain.  One group, calling themselves Appropriate Audiences, decided to hack a 3D printer to draw tattoos of public domain images.  With some help from Le FabShop, the team took a desktop 3D printer, replaced the extruder with a pen, and created their prototype within the workshop’s allotted 8-hour time frame.

After the event, the design troupe pushed the process further, replacing the pen with an actual tattoo gun from an amateur tattoo artist. The team then had to measure the distance between the top of the arm of their participant and the build platform of the machine. After sterilizing the equipment, filling the needle with ink, they sent the drawing to print. Once the machine was initiated and ready to start printing, they paused the machine and placed their participant’s arm into the build chamber.

Though it may seem to some, at least, that Appropriate Audiences is pushing 3D printing technology a step backwards, by turning it into a 2D drawing device, they may have inspired some new ideas in the world of tattoo art and surface contour printing. By remixing the 3D printer to tattoo onto skin, they’ve demonstrated a proof of concept of how to take something like a surface contour printing machine and turn it into a computerized tattoo machine.  This may cause a threat to talented tattoo artists everywhere, but, in the future, if you get a tattoo from a robot, you’ll have no one to blame for its sloppy design but yourself!