3D printing technology has created a 3D-printed model of a real-life ocean, including an island in the Indian Ocean, and a solar panel in New York.
In the process, the 3D printed model of Ocean Island turned out to be more realistic than its real-world counterpart.
The ocean’s surface was 3D print-able by researchers at the University of Queensland’s School of Engineering, and the solar panel was created by researchers from the SUNY Albany Institute for Photonic Engineering.
The research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.
“It was a lot of fun to get to see it in motion,” said Dr. David Klima, a senior lecturer in the School of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
“We used a lot more photonic materials than we did with the real ocean.”
Ocean Island was created using an automated 3D scanning platform that allowed the team to print a 3-D model in a single day.
It then created a physical model of its surface using a laser, and then printed a 3d model of ocean waves using the same technique.
In addition, researchers printed a model of sea ice from sea water that was then used to create the model of Earth’s orbit.
After the ocean’s surfaces were printed, researchers placed the 3d models of ocean water, sea ice, and sea ice wave crests on top of each other to create a 3×3 grid.
This grid is then used in the model to create an ocean floor.
Ocean Island also was modeled using a model created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which was based on an earlier version of the model.
The model of oceans surface and sea-ice wave crets was built with more than 3,000 polygons.
The team also created a model for a single-mesh solar panel.
They created the model by taking a 3.5-meter (11-foot) long (1,828-pound) solar panel and 3.3 meters (11 feet) tall (1.8 million pounds) from a 3rd party supplier.
After printing a 3,700-square-meter 3D version of Ocean Islands surface, the team then combined this with the actual model to make the model that sits on top.
This resulted in a full-scale 3D solar panel model.
“I was blown away by the detail,” said lead author of the study Dr. Tetsuya Yoshida, a graduate student in the Department of Geophysics at the Institute of Geosciences.
“This is one of the best solar panels we have ever seen.”
In addition to the solar panels, the scientists also used a 3Ds scanner to create 3D models of a range of ocean features, including a wave-driven coral reef and a large underwater reef, all in the same day.
This created a composite model that was printed on a 3DP printer that produced a 3X3 grid that was used in 3D modeling.
“The 3D scan is a good technique to create large scale models,” said Klimas graduate student Dr. Michael Giesbrecht.
“A scanner is cheap, and you can get large scale scans for very little money.”