3D poppy print blooming great for RSA

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Masterton Fab Lab directors Kirsten Browne and John Hart with their 3D poppies. PHOTOS/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Masterton Fab Lab directors Kirsten Browne and John Hart with their 3D poppies. PHOTOS/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Masterton Fab Lab directors will be commemorating Poppy Day in true hi-tech fashion today.

Yesterday the RSA launched a 3D printable poppy for its annual Poppy Appeal in its centenary year.

The 3D printable poppy was developed by Wellington Makerspace and is available via the RSA website by donating to the poppy appeal.

People who donate will be sent a digital blueprint of the 3D poppy to download which can then be printed using any 3D printer.

Kirsten Browne and John Hart, who have started up in Masterton the biggest Fab Lab in Australasia, were excited to hear about the new development.

"I think this is really cool," Mr Hart said.

"It's nice that the RSA is keeping current and moving with the times and technology and finding new ways to appeal to people."

The pair promptly donated online to the appeal to receive their blueprint, and made poppies using their 3D printer and locally made biodegradable filament.

"The machine feeds the filament through the hot extruder which squirts the plastic out like a glue gun and builds the shape up layer by layer," Mr Hart said.

"The beauty of rapid prototyping is you can design something and if it doesn't work you can try it again."

After Mr Hart and Ms Browne had tweaked the design slightly to add a 3D printed clip on to the poppies' back, they gifted one to Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson to wear during the appeal.

RSA chief executive David Moger said the organisation was offering "another world first from New Zealand" with the 3D printable poppy.

"The Poppy Appeal is New Zealand's longest running street appeal, but the world is being changed by technology and the streets aren't what they were 100 years ago.

"The RSA is getting ahead of the technology wave with this initiative," Mr Moger said.

Lee Bennett is the owner and founder of Makerspace, one of New Zealand's leading digital manufacturing and fabrication technology providers.

He said the poppy project had been an interesting one.

"When the RSA approached us, we were delighted to get involved with bringing the latest technology into this very traditional area.

"This sort of thinking isn't something I expected from the RSA but we wanted to support their initiative in this exciting new space."

Masterton Fab Lab is being set up in the Wairarapa Times-Age building on Chapel St and offers open access digital fabrication technology for public use.

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