Box fish mass production: DLP printer video

The 3d DLP printer Leo and I built for the University of Groningen is being put to good and frequent use. Dennis, the technician using the printer was so kind to send me a short video he made during the print process. You can also see some of the model manipulation using Monkeyprint

The printer is mostly used for printing fish body models for flow tunnel testing — in this case box fish. The Ocean Ecosystems group of the University of Groningen currently has a research focus on box fish including drag coefficients and dynamic stabilisation features. Box fish have been claimed to have extraordinarily low drag coefficients — a myth put into existence by car manufacturer Daimler which exploited this theory quite extensively for marketing purposes — and also body shape features that cause self stabilizing effects when exposed to a flow. Both notions are somewhat contrary to the behaviour and ecosystem of box fish who are slow but dexterous and agile swimmers manoeuvring through the complex topologies of coral reefs. For this, low drag is not really needed and self stabilizing would be quite negative as it would prevent quick changes of direction or speed.

Fortunately, box fish can easily be mimicked by 3d printed models as they have a stiff and strong carapace which encloses the body: there’s no undulatory motion as propulsion and steering is exclusively carried out by the fins. Check out some of the models of different sizes and species below!

  • Photograph showing a couple of 3d box fish models printed on a DLP printer
    The last DLP printer I worked on is now printing models of different species of box fish for flow tunnel testing at the University of Groningen.

Thanks to Dennis of the University of Groningen for providing the video and images!

In the mean time, I have been quite busy with the my new DLP printer’s electronics, so you can expect a new post on this within the next couple of days!

See you, and make sure to stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Box fish mass production: DLP printer video”

  1. Hello, my name is Paul Michel I’m from Brazil, congratulations for their work would help my printer are doing here and I have some ideas to help firmeware would like to test here please send me email, thanks

    1. Hi Paul Michel,
      thanks a lot for your comment 🙂
      I will post the link to the firmware and some instructions soon (it is on my github already).
      If you need help, please do not hesitate to ask here so I can adjust future posts to meet your needs. This way, you contribute to making monkeyprint more usable 🙂

      1. Thank you Paul , I’m having trouble running monkeyprint error:
        Traceback (most recent call last) :
        File ” C: \ Users \ NOT- VAIO \ Desktop \ monkeyprint – gtkRedesign \ ” , line 25 , in
        import monkeyprintGui
        File ” C: \ Users \ NOT- VAIO \ Desktop \ monkeyprint – gtkRedesign \ ” , line 27 , in
        import monkeyprintModelViewer
        File ” C: \ Users \ NOT- VAIO \ Desktop \ monkeyprint – gtkRedesign \ ” , line 25 , in
        import gtkGLExtVTKRenderWindowInteractor
        File ” C: \ Users \ NOT- VAIO \ Desktop \ monkeyprint – gtkRedesign \ ” , line 23 , in
        gtk.gtkgl import
        ImportError : No module named gtkgl and I am unable to install the gtk.gtkgl library on Win32.
        Thank you

        1. Hi Michel,

          well, that seems to be quite bad. I had a short look into installing GtkGL on Windows and found this:
          Did you try that?

          As an alternative, there’s the old, working monkeyprint in the master branch of my github.
          Just do
          git clone -b master git://
          It uses TKinter instead of GTK as the gui toolkit, so you do not have to rely on GtkGL.
          The gtkRedesign branch is not completely usable anyway, I’ve just gotten to finish support generation there.

          I’m afraid I can’t do any more for you as I almost exclusively use Linux and started developing monkeyprint with the aim to provide a Linux solution. Sorry…
          As an alternative, have you thought about using Creation Workshop? It’s made for Windows…

          Sorry again I cannot really help you out on this. However, keep us posted on your progress please!


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