By guest author Bridget O’Neal, 3D Print
Michelangelo’s David is one of the most well-known renaissance sculptures, created in the very early 1500s from a choice piece of marble. The original, currently on display at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, stands just a little over 14 feet high and is a masterpiece of a representation from the fable of David and Goliath. The piece was considered so ‘perfect’ upon completion that city council members (including other artists like da Vinci and Botticelli) met for a strategic discussion regarding the best location for such a work, finally settling on the Piazza della Signoria in the centre of Florence, Italy.
Now, David has been re-created in miniature via 3D printing, and while one can imagine Michelangelo may have turned his nose up at many an imitator throughout the decades, we are pretty sure he would be fascinated with what a 3D printer can do for artists today, allowing them to use a wide array of materials and create on whim, enjoying completely self-sustained production in the studio. And while artistic expression offers great value to the world, the team at Cytosurge took time out from more scientific and complex endeavors to walk on the creative side, imagining how such a truly epic piece of work came about in comparison to their own efforts:
“During the creative period of Michelangelo (lived 1475-1564) it must have been a huge effort to craft the David sculpture from a solid marble block. The creation and handling of the heavy and bulky work of art must have required some well thought-through handling processes,” states the Cytosurge team in their press release.
“The work presented here required much less effort in terms of handling because the new ‘David’ is tiny in size. However, the engineering behind might have required a similar amount of effort as 500 years ago for the original full-scale David.”
This micro-scale sculpture, created in copper, demonstrates the metal 3D printing capabilities of the FluidFM µ3Dprinter, and allows us to envision how helpful such technology will be in other applications requiring objects manufactured at the nano- or micro-meter. At 700 µm (0.0007 m), the Cytosurge version of the statue of David is the largest item created on the FluidFM µ3Dprinter so far.
“Our deep understanding of the printing process has led to a new way of processing the 3D computer model of the statue and then converting it into machine code. That’s what makes the new David statue so extraordinary,” says Dr Giorgio Ercolano, R&D Process Engineer 3D printing at Cytosurge AG. “This object has been sliced from an open-source CAD file and afterwards was sent directly to the printer. This slicing method enables an entirely new way to print designs with the FluidFM µ3Dprinter.”
Cytosurge AG, founded in 2009, is headquartered in Switzerland. Their FluidFM μ3Dprinter, in development over the last two years, is a standalone 3D metal printing system relying on a miniature pipette with a narrow opening to perform local electrodeposition of metals. The FluidFM joins the Cytosurge lineup of products including their portfolio of FluidFM probes, the FluidFM Bot and its add-on technology, along with solutions provided through other partners too.
While all some artists need is a pencil or a paintbrush, others employ many different tools and mediums to express themselves. 3D printing presents the opportunity for full-on production, whether users are working with 3D printing pens and alternative materials, designing fashion, or creating massive art installations to impress international eventgoers.