Students hacked a Makerbot Replicator to turn it into a real tattooing instrument.
A team of French students replaced the extruder of a Makerbot Replicator with a real tattoo instrument and transformed the 3D printer into a functional tattoo machine.
The students created the 3D Printer X Tattoo Machine project as part of the Public Domain Remix event hosted by the French Ministry of Culture. The event gave students eight hours to hack an electronic device and invited Le FabShop as a manufacturing expert to help the students with their projects.
The team of students, led by Pierre Emm, initially replaced the extruder with a pen, which allowed the machine to draw images on skin. The students decided to go a step further and transform the 3D printer into a real tattooing instrument, with the help of other students and teachers.
The team borrowed a real tattoo instrument, built it into the device, and tested their device on artificial skin. They were also able to get a volunteer so they could test the machine on a real person. Repeating the process was more difficult on a real person because real skin had a curved surface and was more flexible than the artificial material.
The hack shows how the technology can be used beyond just manufacturing objects.
The step-by-step instructions on how the team created the tattoo machine can be found on Instructables.
View more images from the project below.
The video below shows the first part of how the students created the project.