HackSpace magazine

3D Print a Black Hole

By Andrew Gregory. Posted

The science world got a treat in April 2019 with the publication of the first ever photograph of a black hole. Well, kind of – black holes suck in light, so you can’t actually take a picture of one directly. The image was instead generated by tons of data gathered by the Event Horizon Telescope array, made up of individual radio telescopes around the world.

This brilliant original piece of work by Dean Segovis takes that photo and takes it to (as the Prodigy would say) another dimension.

There’s a feature in Cura that enables you to extrude a colour upwards out of a 2D image, as long as it’s high-contrast, making it 3D. You can change the dimensions, and the smoothing of the image – based on the video that Dean has put up on his YouTube channel, the defaults look pretty good, with a touch extra smoothing.

From Cura, you can export to G-code or an SDL file for printing. The model was then airbrushed to match the colours of the photo. Bingo – a black hole for display on the wall. It’s slightly smaller than the real thing at 120 mm square (black hole M87 is 6.5 billion times the mass of the sun), but it is just as good a talking point.