Video Shows How an Amazing Bride 3D Printed Her Entire Wedding
Most brides look to the pages of glossy magazines like The Knot, Premier Bride, or Wedding Style for inspiration on their big day. Erin Winick, associate editor of the MIT Technology Review, instead looked to 3D printing.
An engineer by training and science fashionista, Winick wanted to integrate her passions with her latest milestone. So for her wedding last month, Winick 3D printed stunning blue bouquets (both her own and the bridesmaids’), nature-themed table toppers, the flower girl’s necklace, the cake topper and decorations, and even her own leafy headpiece that a guest mistook for lace.
“I have a background in mechanical engineering, and in college I was instantly fascinated with technology that let me quickly turn my computer models into something physical,” Winick tells Inverse in an email.
Leading up to the big day, on November 10, Winick pulled templates from Thingiverse — a website devoted to encouraging makers to share, create, and print digital design files — to print tulips for the bouquets and cake, as well as the Lego cake toppers. She designed the flower girl’s necklace and table numbers herself in Solidworks — patterns which you can also now find on Thingiverse if you’re inspired to give 3D printing a go yourself.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
3D printers basically function like 2D printers on loop, except they use different materials like plastic, metal, or even food instead of ink. It’s like constructing a tiered cake, stacking up horizontal slices to construct a 3D object. The most common plastics used include ABS plastic (think Legos) and PLA (Polylactic acid), a biodegradable plastic derived from sugarcane or cornstarch. Winick used roughly two kilograms of PLA filament in eight different colors.
Since the invention of 3D printers by Charles Hull in the 1980s, the machines have slowly trekked toward widespread accessibility. Though not a household staple, the machines of the $7.3 billion industry have found homes in libraries, educational institutions, and makerspaces.
Winick’s Adventures in 3D Printing
The bouquets took the longest. One by one, Winick printed approximately 200 flowers over the course of many months, for a total of more than 100 hours of work. The final result includes a brilliant blue bouquet. It was not thrown at the wedding in the customary bouquet toss, though, to avoid hitting a friend with the beautiful — but spiky — ball.
With the help of her two 3D printers, Mini and Flash, the engineer undertook the project in the comfort of her own home. Compared to other industry-grade manufacturing equipment, “3D printing is much more accessible, cheap, and space efficient,” Winick says.
Winick’s beautiful blue bouquet was also a bargain. The average cost of a bridal bouquet is $150 whereas one of Winick’s 3D-printed bouquets cost $75 and glows in the dark.
By no means is her wedding her first 3D-printed project. The seasoned 3D-printing fanatic also founded Sci Chic — a company dedicated to 3D-printing STEM-inspired jewelry and accessories — while attending college at the University of Florida. Shoppers can find geeky goods like James Webb Space Telescope earrings or drone ponytail holders.
“My flower girl’s blue necklace was actually one the first designs I ever made for my company,” says Winick.
Although the wedding has come and gone, Winick’s passion for the creative freedom and practical applications of 3D printing burns on.
“I’m most excited about the advances being made in metal 3D printing,” she explains. “Making it faster and more accessible is key to the expansion of the technology.”