I undertook this project to extend my practical knowledge of certain tools for design and manufacture.
Final working prototype printed on Replicator. The space frame structure at this scale won't print correctly with the 0.4mm nozzle on the Replicator 2, but the mechanism works well.
Stl files were sent to i.materialise for 3D printing in high detail stainless steel and bronze. The design is far from a finished piece but it is a valuable test and has taken me someway towards my aims of learning a generative approach to design.
Three weeks later the print arrived. The spring mechanism required some sanding due to warping/shrinkage but I was very impressed by the level of detail. I don't think additive manufacturing using a binder plus sintering is suited to parts that interlock like this, direct metal sintering will probably yield more accurate results. The bronze parts were produced by investment casting of a wax 3D print, they were made to a high standard and are likely more dimensionally accurate than the steel parts.