This Is What It Looks Like When 3-D Printers Go Rogue

We often highlight the innovative and unprecedented accomplishments that artists, inventors, researchers and designers have made using 3-D printing. But a recently discovered Flickr group is drawing attention to some of the more accidental epic fails created through the technology.

The Art of 3-D Print Failure is an online community where enthusiasts show off the worst things ever printed–not as way to shame fellow hobbyists but as a way to provide advice to one another on what went wrong and how not to mess up in the future.

The 351-member group features pictures of busts with distorted heads, objects with sharp angles where there should be curves, and spools of spaghetti-like plastic spilling out from a printer left unattended all night. Each picture’s caption describes what went wrong. The conversations can get pretty technical.

“It may sound odd, but it’s really essential that you fail when doing 3-D printing,” reads a blog post from the 3-D printing site Reprap that inspired the Flickr group.

“It tells you so much about your machine, the boundaries you can operate in and how good or bad things can be. If all you do is print with safe settings or never play with the electronics or firmware the you are missing so much of this wonderful project.”

Sometimes the failures are, perhaps, cooler looking than what was intended. One picture features a sea creature made from green spaghetti. “This was supposed to be a cube,” wrote the creator. Of course, a cube would have been a lot less interesting. Check out the slide show of 3-D printing fails above.ZS