Of Magic and Science

The Elder Wand from Harry Potter - 3D Printed at MakersBox

As a relatively new organisation, we at MakersBox aim to cultivate habits that will serve as cherished traditions down the line. One of such attempts is #3DPrintingMondays where we upload the time lapse video of the 3D print we made. Having volunteered to choose what we should print next, I was hard at work flipping through various designs of pop culture objects. It was difficult to pick one, given the numerous choices available.

My very love for pop culture iconography was now the cause of my aggravation.

Wallowing in my indecisiveness I stumbled across the design of an object that had captured not only my imagination, but also  that of the world. The ‘Elder Wand’ from Harry Potter! The ‘Death Stick’ itself! One of the three ‘Hallows’! Oh boy this was so going in print.

In a trifle the STL file for the wand was downloaded.(STL or STereoLithography is a file format used for 3D printing.)  But before I could print it, the file needed to be sliced (Slicing is to take the 3D drawing of the object, like in .STL format and translate this model into individual layers thus creating a machine code for the printer, called a G-code), and at MakersBox we just love what Simplify3D does as a Slicing Software. The file was sliced, loaded on an SD Card ready to go on the printer, it was time to grab and setup the Go-pro to click pictures for the time lapse video, the Elder Wand was printing, and I was excited – just like a kid who was going to get a brand new toy.

The first attempt had some issues so the print had to be discarded and a new print had to be put up. This time too, there were problems with the print and the process for setting up the printer had to be repeated. “Third time’s a charm right?” I thought and hoped all would go well. It did, the layers were getting stacked smoothly atop one another; in over two hours or so, I’d get to hold my very own 3D printed wand.

While the wand was getting printed, I decided to attend to other matters at hand. Checking my email I got to know that I had been invited to the product launch of one iRobot Roomba 980. This is the latest in line of the many models by iRobot Corporation, an American company that makes home-cleaning robots. I was thrilled to have been asked to cover the event; you don’t get to see an actual functioning robot everyday, do you? (Well, I get to see robots everyday at work, but I still have to work out the making my bot function bit as of now so…)

By the time I was done with my work for the day, the wand had been fully printed. It merely required filing away the supports and joining the tip of the wand to its base. Lo and behold! I was the master of the most powerful wand in the world. Even old Voldy would’ve been jealous at the ease with which I had procured(read:printed) the ‘Wand of Destiny’. I was elated. Waving it around I chanted Wingardium Leviosa , half hoping the plastic glass upon the table would rise, but well, it didn’t. Happy still, I told Harkrishan ji,”I am taking this one home! We print another one for the office.” Smiling, he obliged.


The 3D Printed Elder Wand from Harry Potter

The next afternoon, I embarked upon my nascent journalistic endeavour. Held at the gorgeous Mister Chai Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel in Connaught Place, the product launch of Roomba 980, home-cleaning robot was a simple yet elegant event. The public address was followed by a demonstration of the bot and it was a delight to watch it in action. The bot was promised to be able to clean an entire 1500 sq.ft apartment in some 2 hours or so, along with being able to automatically recharge itself by reporting back to its base station. Moreover, the bot was equipped to map its surroundings so that it could smartly avoid obstacles in its course. Antoine Garcia and Gavin Wilmot, the representatives from iRobot, were affable people and were helpful in answering questions regarding the bot. I mentioned to them that their home-cleaning robot reminded me of the bots I had seen as kid in various cartoon animations and they replied that this comparison in a way was a great compliment. I had more technical queries regarding their bot and both Antoine & Gavin were kind enough to let me mail them later so I could be answered satisfactorily.



Back at home after the event, I thought of the robot with my elder wand in hand. “It would be neat if we had the technology to make it seem that wand casting magic existed.” I said to myself. I then remembered that iRobot as a company had taken some 11 years to go from their first bot to their latest (which if I may add was pretty cool). What is exciting for me is how we are changing the landscape of innovation at MakersBox, by Inspiring the Next Generation to Innovate and Invent – and who knows a few years later, someone like me, will be sitting on the other side – writing about a product we came out with… Till then, I leave you my friends with words from none other than the young wizard himself:

“Well, sooner than later we’ll get there.”  Till then, I solemnly swear I am up to no good.