3-D Printer + Tattoo Gun = Terrifying DIY Madness

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I have a thing about needles, and when I say “thing,” I mean “utterly debilitating phobia.” Since I have a similar thing about robots, this one gets my vote for Most Terrifying Idea of the Week.

A trio of French maniacs -- er, I mean design students -- have modified a 3-D printer to create their own DIY robotic tattoo machine. Lead designer Pierre Emm, along with two fellow students, took apart a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3-D printer and essentially swapped out the printer’s extruder for a tattoo gun.

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That’s a real tattoo gun, mind you, borrowed from an amateur tattoo artist friend. To their credit, the students first used the machine on synthetic surfaces designed to approximate human skin. After some successful test runs, they secured a volunteer willing to stick his arm into the machine. You can see the entirely unsettling video below.

The project was initially conceived as part of a design contest, sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture, to use public domain images and media in new combinations.

The students certainly got into the spirit of things, and they stuck to their DIY ethic throughout. According to the project page on Instructables.com: “Many tricks were tried to tighten the area around the skin (a metal ring, elastics, scotch tape…) but the most effective one was a scooter’s inner tube, open on the area to be marked.”

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The students have since posted the full instructions for converting your desktop 3-D printer into a tattoo machine, including this rather alarming entry in the step-by-step directions:

  • Place the “volunteer’s” arm in the Automatic Tattoo machine and make sure that it’s perfectly centered. Start the motor, cross your fingers and… GO!

Sure thing. You first.

via ZME Science

Credit: “appropriate audiences” via Vimeo

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