Sunday, June 13, 2021

Beis Hamikdash Models as seen on Inside Artscroll

In the last post I linked to an interview I did on Inside Artscroll. During the interview I showed two of the 3D printed models that I designed to teach about the Beis Hamikdash. One of the models was made of sandstone and the other was made of steel. Read on for a description of how these models are printed.

Although I have my own 3D printer (Lulzbot Mini), it can only print in extruded plastic. To produce models in materials like sandstone and steel I use a professional printing company called Shapeways. They have some very advanced machinery that can produce some very impressive prints in a number of materials. In the case of sandstone and steel, both materials are printed using the same method called Binder Jetting. Here is how the process works (courtesy of hubs.com):

I. First, a recoating blade spreads a thin layer of powder [or sand] over the build platform.

II. Then, a carriage with inkjet nozzles (which are similar to the nozzles used in desktop 2D printers) passes over the bed, selectively depositing droplets of a binding agent (glue) that bond the powder particles together. In full-color Binder Jetting, the colored ink is also deposited during this step. The size of each drop is approximately 80 μm in diameter, so good resolution can be achieved.

III. When the layer is complete, the build platform moves downwards and the blade re-coats the surface. The process then repeats until the whole part is complete.

IV. After printing, the part is encapsulated in the powder and is left to cure and gain strength. Then the part is removed from the powder bin and the unbound, excess powder is cleaned via pressurized air.

Depending on the material, a post-processing step is usually required. For example, metal Binder Jetting parts need to be sintered (or otherwise heat treated) or infiltrated with a low-melting-temperature metal (typically bronze). Full-color prototypes are also infiltrated with acrylic and coated to improve the vibrancy of colors. Sand casting cores and molds are typically ready to use after 3D printing.

To see more of the models I print through Shapeways feel free to check out my shop.

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