If you’re a fan of tattoos, then you’ll probably think it requires the precise work of a tattoo artist. I mean: tattooing is considered art, and art needs to be created by an artist, isn’t it? Well, French students will surely disagree with you on that, as they have built the first automatic tattoo machine from a 3D printer.
The French students, Pierre Emm, Piotr Widelka and Johan Da Silveira, joined a cultural challenge, which was organized by Paris design school ENSCI les Ateliers. It was their goal to show that a machine is perfectly capable of accurately tattooing a person. The team had found a volunteer to get the first-ever tattoo by a 3D printer on his forearm and they were given eight hours to build the machine. During those hours, they managed to hack a MakerBot 3D printer and they successfully set up their own digital program for the tattooing process. The printer used a normal pen to perform the tattooing.
After the challenge was over the designers didn’t want to stop, as they really wanted the machine to make a real tattoo. They chose for a circle as a tattoo, because for human hands this is the hardest figure to tattoo in skin. However, for the 3D printer it wasn’t a difficulty to perform, as the students only had to press the ‘print’ button. The results can be seen in a little video. As you can see the volunteer now has a perfectly drawn circle on his arm, which is of course the first tattoo ever made by a 3D printer. That’s quite a story to tell your friends in the pub, isn’t it?
We are very much proponents of the content behind the sentence ‘don’t try this at home’. But if you do want to try out something like this, then you’ll find it good to know we’re also journalists. The students have published the instructions for this tattooing 3D printer online at Instructables. On this page they also further explain how they managed to get their machine to make a real tattoo. But hey, don’t blame us in case you end up with an oval or star-like figure: you’re warned. On the other hand: it can never be worse than a tattooed hashtag next to your eye.
Image credits: Instructables/ Pierre Emm, Piotr Widelka and Johan Da Silveira.