3-D printer lets you print rubber balloons

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:00 PM ET

A new discovery just might put some clowns out of business.

No longer will you have to ask someone sporting oversized shoes and a fake red nose to make a bunny out a balloon for your kid.

The advent of 3-D printing means you can work that magic at home.

A team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Disney Research in Zurich say they have taken desired 3-D shapes and calculated what empty balloon shape should be needed to produce the inflated-balloon design.

"The system models the way a rubber balloon stretches as it inflates, then inverts this model to find the deflated shape that will most closely resemble the balloon when blown up. Some shapes are easier to replicate than others - flat regions or sharp edges pose particular difficulties, as air pressure tends to, well, balloon them outwards," according to newscientist.com.

Having calculated the best uninflated shape, the site says the team used a 3-D printer to create a mould to make the uninflated balloon.

"They successfully tested the process on balloons in shapes including a rabbit, an elephant and Mickey Mouse's head."

The team will present their work at the Eurographics meeting in Cagliari, Italy, next month.

 


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