Blackfly Larva

Austrian Klaus Leitl works with a really buggy 3D printer, or rather, it's not the printer so much as it is his subjects which are buggy.

Leitl models and prints 3D replicas of creepy and beautiful insects at an enormous scale of 30:1, and the results are nothing less than stunning.

His Blackfly Larva, for example, is a beautiful, eerily life-like piece 36 centimeters tall and assembled from five separate parts.

It, along with a large selection of this other pieces, can be seen at "Life Under Water," an exhibition on display in Salzburg, Austria.

And if you're wondering how the artist managed to get such smooth and detailed renderings of his insect art, it's all down to his use of the Form 1+ from Formlabs. The Form 1+ uses stereolithography technology and can create objects of incredible precision and detail.

Leitl uses Pixologic's ZBrush to model his insect creations. Many are split in separate parts, hollowed out and then exported as .STL files. The artist then scales his pieces with netfabb Basic, glues necessary parts together with epoxy resin and uses a UV-lamp to weld various the pieces together.

Leitl uses Pixologic's ZBrush to model his insect creations.

To provide the vivid colors and detailed finishes of his bugs, Leitl sands pieces and paints them with an airbrush before applying a finish coat of acrylic lacquer. He says he may add hairs, wings, and antennae as needed to complete a project.

Ultimately, the printed insects end up scaled to somewhere between 24 and 180 centimeters in length, and he's made literally dozens of flies, beetles, hornets and the larvae of many more.