Okay, it’s not a real car, and I don’t even know if it is truly the smallest toy car in the world. But it’s super tiny, and it’s super cool.
It was created by David Sun, who is the senior mechanical engineer at medical diagnostic instrument maker Iris International, and uses an Objet Eden350 3D printer to create custom medical parts. While with his two-year old son one weekend, he thought he’d design a small toy car with functioning wheels and print it for him. After designing it in Solidworks, he thought why not make it even smaller! He then used the Objet Studio program to scale the model up and down.
He printed several sizes of the car, complete with the four interior seats and functioning wheels. The smallest on is just 1cm long! Then he filmed a video of the cars and sent it in to Objet, where it ended up on their “It’s a 3D World” blog.
So what’s the big deal (small deal?) about this? The ease at which small items like this — parts or complete “things” — can be designed and printed. In medical applications, where we’re going to see 3D printers do some amazing things, most devices have to be very small. I’m not talking at the nano level, that’s another story altogether. I’m talking about tiny macroscopic objects that will go into your body or into small medical devices used for surgery, diagnostic and other procedures.
In particular, Iris International uses their Objet 3D printer to build many of the key components of their medical diagnostic machines, cutting the development process and enabling more effective optimization of their instruments. And these instruments will, in turn, shorten the analysis process for health professionals.