The hot new thing, it seems, is mixing 3D printing with insects. First, MIT got a bunch of silkworms in on the action; now, to promote its new Dewar's Highland Honey Scotch whisky, Bacardi is getting in on the buzz -- with bees.
In what it called the "3B printing project," The Ebeling Group marshaled 80,000 bees to create two sculptures from beeswax: a Dewar's bottle and a bust of Dewar's creator John Dewar.
Because bees build honeycomb inward, the team had to start with inverse scaffolding to give the insects a framework on which to build: a clear, plastic mold that let the bees start at the edges and work their way in, allowing for a sight rarely seen: bees creating honeycomb. To let the bees in and out of the unconventional hive, a rubber tube connected to the neck of the bottle provided a passageway.
To keep the queen bee from laying eggs in the honeycomb, she had to be separated from the rest of the bee colony, and several colonies had to be brought in for the six-week process, as bees only have a lifespan of four or five weeks.
Since the finished sculptures took so long to complete and are made of wax, the technique has very little practical application, but we bet the creations smell delightful.