While there is no shortage of innovation across the 3D printing industry, and many within it thrive on the concept, there remains a sense of admiration with the work continually produced. The Shapeways community is just one (of many) places to find evidence of this, and one specific example was shared with one of its latest prints courtesy of Jonny Poole of innerbreedFX. The animatronic bee introduces incredible detail to the nature-inspired 3D print. As a final product, the bee was 3D printed using the selective laser sintering (SLS) process for a sturdy articulated bee.
The bee model is quite large and takes advantage of the nylon material used to print it. By using nylon plastic, Poole could design an accurate bee model with proper limb, joint, body, and wing (printed with ultra-fine frosted detail plastic) attachment and movement. It is no surprise that such an intricate and accurate print would manifest from innerbreedFX considering their specialty in animatronic prints. Their site, linked above, offers a variety of animatronic prints spawned from various springs of inspiration.
The animatronic bee provides an interesting twist is scale with 3D printing. Most prints tend to be scaled down when dealing with replicas. When it came time to form a functional animatronic bee, the designer enlarged the model. At the larger scale, the detail in elements from exoskeleton movement and connection to the veins of wings enjoys a microscopic view without the microscope. Too often technology produces objects for the sake of technology thereby invoking the soulless connotation heavily associated with technological innovation. Yet with the animatronic bee, the inspiration is nature, pure and simple and honey-sweet.