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Natural 3D Printing

Ponoko posted of a wonderful story about Sydney-based lighting company SandFlora's experience designing a beautiful lamp. The interesting part was the inspiration: nature. In fact, this line of lamp was inspired by the intricate Waratah flower, native to Australia. 
The lamp was of course 3D printed and looks amazing. 
Our interest, as was Ponoko's, is in the inspiration: nature. While we may find many 3D designs, it seems most of them derive their origin from man-made items such as buildings, parts, jewelry or popular icons. Why isn't there large numbers of beautiful nature models available? 
Could it be that natural objects are harder to design? Probably - it's a lot harder to model a delicate leaf than a hockey puck. Perhaps advances in 3D scanning and 3D modelling software may lead to new explorations in natural 3D design. 
We think that nature has much to provide us design-wise. There are countless beautiful shapes in existence, evolved over millennia that can inspire new 3D models. 
Via Ponoko

The Economist on 3D Printing

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