[3DPrintedLife aka Andrew DeGonge] saw that advert for gatorade that shows some slick stop-motion animation using a so-called ‘liquid printer’ and wondered how they built the machine and got it to work so well. The answer, it would seem, involves a lot of hard work and experimentation.
Conceptually it’s not hard to grasp. A water reservoir sits at the top, which gravity-feeds into a a series of electromechanical valves below, which feed into nozzles. From there, the timing of the valve and water pressure dictate the droplet size. The droplets fall under the influence of gravity, to be collected at the bottom. From that point it’s a ‘simple’ matter of timing droplets with respect to a lighting strobe or camera shutter and hey-presto! instant animation.
As will become evident from the video, it’s just not as easy as that. After an initial wobble when [Andrew] realised that cheap “air-only” solenoids actually are for air-only when they rusted up, he took a slight detour to design and 3D print his own valve body. Using a resin printer to produce fine detailed prints, enabled the production of small internal passages including an ‘air spring’ which is just a small chamber of air. After a lot of testing, proved to be a step in the right direction. Whether this could have been achieved with an FDM printer, is open to speculation, but we suspect the superior fine detail capabilities of modern resin printers are a big help here.
In a nice twist, [Andrew] ripped open and dissolved a fluorescent marker pen, and used that in place of plain water, so when illuminated with suitably triggered UV LED strips, discernable animation was achieved ..
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