These creepily beautiful pod blossoms grew out of my desire to create a flower that would open and close with mechanical actuation. I was playing with a tentacle shape that two fellow Pier 9 Artists in Residence (Andreas Bastian and Anouk Wipprecht) had been experimenting with. I created many different iterations of it to see if it would give me the kind of form and motion I was looking for, and this was one of the shapes I happened upon along the way. Even though these particular forms didn't end up being the most practical from an actuation standpoint, I fell in love with the process of printing them as a closed bud and then watching them bloom as I cleaned them.
3D printing opens up the possibility to create many forms that couldn't be created by any other human process, and it was exciting to explore some of those possibilities with the advanced printing capabilities of the Objet 3D printers at Instructables. These flowers are printed in two materials simultaneously, a soft, Tango, material and a hard, Vero, material, allowing them to have both structure and flexibility.
The version I'm describing here works better as a static decoration, but it's structure does allow it to open and close manually, and I am working on a version that will be driven by a motor. My eventual goal is to attach the actuated form of these to a garment and make them interactive and illuminated. I'll be posting more Instructables as this adventure progresses.
*Headdress Photos by Alex Garris, Modeled by Farnaz Dadashi
This experiment in 3D printing is still very much in process, and I am by no means a 3D modeling expert, so in this Instructable I am not going to give you my file, or describe in depth how I 3D modeled this form, because I probably did it wrong… But I will tell you what type of features you need to include to create your own similar form and in steps 9 and 10 I will also tell you what you how I decided to use my flowers to make a headdress.
You will need:
-A 3D modeling program and the ability to use it:
I made these flowers by 3D modeling my forms in Autodesk Fusion 360, which is an Autodesk 3D modeling program still in beta testing and thus available for free online here. This program has a lot of potential because it incorporates both solid modeling and organic, sculptural modeling, but is still a bit buggy and takes some patience. You should use whatever program you are used to, but to create this flower you will need a program with some advanced capabilities not just a simple sculpting program.
-A 3D printer that can print in two materials simultaneously (specifically a hard and a soft material) like an Objet Connex 500 printer. If you don't have direct access to a printer like this (or to a time machine to take you 10 years into the future when everyone will probably have these in their office)... you can send your file to a printing service like Fathom.
-Thin flexible metal wire (about 24-28 gauge)
*In steps 9 and 10, I will also tell you what supplies you need to make the headdress pictured in the intro.