A gnome (or krasnale), a symbol of the Polish city of Wroclaw, has been 3D printed and launched into the stratosphere to prove that the only limits are ones we set in our minds. That, and it’s in celebration of 100 years of Polish independence.
If you’ve visited Wroclaw, you’ll most likely have noticed one of the many gnomes, or krasnale, dotted around the city. With more than 300 of them scattered around the city, it has become a popular tourist pastime to spot as many as possible.
The gnomes, a symbol of both the city and commemorative of the Orange Alternative — Wroclaw’s anti-Soviet resistance movement of the 1980s — have taken one bold step for gnomekind recently.
As a way of celebrating the 100 years of Polish independence following World War I this year, Waldemar Plusa, a citizen of the city, wanted to prove that the only limits are the ones we set in our minds.
So, he decided to use modern technologies to create an unforgettable independence celebration. Plusa decided to 3D print a Wroclaw gnome and blasting the it off into space. Check out the gnome spinning in the stratosphere:
3… 2… 1… Wroclaw Gnome Blast Off
Plusa worked with the city of Wrocław to create the commemorative symbol using local industry. First, Plusa created a Plasticine model of the gnome.
He then approached the Materialise office in Poland, which 3D scanned the model and created a 3D file using its Magics software suite. For the 3D printing itself, Materialise laser sintered the model in plain white polyamide, before post processing it a little to smooth its surface.
With the 3D print ready to go, Plusa needed to find the means to launch it into the stratosphere. The local Shortwave Club (Klub Łączności Ratunkowej) SP6ZWR provided a rocket specially for the occasion.
It took two launches to successfully launch this commemorative gnome into space. The first launch, on New Years Eve, was abandoned after fireworks from local celebrations ruined the photographs and video of the launch.
But, as Plus wanted to prove, the limits we set are only in our minds – so the gnome was launched for a second time. This time around the gnome made it high enough to snag some beautiful shots of the Earth — higher even than most commercial airlines.
For the duration of the flight, the spaceship also broadcast well wishes for Poland and the universe through organizers and the website. They point out that this is the first gnome to celebrate independence in space. We hope it’s not the last.