Once upon a time, the only way to get your hands on custom extrusions was through a plastics specialist. The recent rise of 3D printing technology made it possible for everyone—from garage hobbyists to OEMS—to create three-dimensional plastic shapes that match their exact specifications. But, despite the ever-growing availability of the equipment and its ever-increasing ease of use, many 3D printer users had a hard time calibrating their systems correctly. A little plastic boat is about to change that.
I Hate Your Hashtag, #3DBenchy

Earlier this year, a company called Creative Tools released a special 3D printer calibration and benchmarking tool dubbed #3DBenchy. Despite the obnoxious, unnecessary hashtag in its name, it proved to be a highly useful tool for evaluating 3D printer performance.

Thousands of folks downloaded the original #3DBenchy design, and who knows how many little plastic boats resulted from those downloads. Creative Tools, who clearly put far more thought into their product than their name, has now released #3DBenchy 2.0, a multi-color, dual-extrusion version designed to calibrate dual-extrusion 3D printers.

“The initial 3D data for #3DBenchy was released as a single STL file and therefore only monochromatic […] boats were made,” said Paulo Kiefe of Creative Tools. “We want to change this and give everyone the opportunity to push the boundaries of 3D printing with different colors and materials.”
17X More Complex

The new #3DBenchy design is made up of 17 unique STL files, one for each different component of the boat itself. The chimney body, gunwale, hull, port and starboard doorframes, and a dozen other pieces all come together to create the boat’s final form.

With #3DBenchy 2.0, Creative Tools wanted to demonstrate the benefits of using a dual-extrusion 3D printer. Nigh perfect alignment and calibration of the print heads is necessary to create a new-school Benchy, and color contamination between print heads is sometimes a problem, possibly by design to ensure said adjustments are correct.

A high resolution, texture-based #3DBenchy 3.0 is expected later in the year.