Fascinating finishes – 3D printed surface a blank slate

Twilight, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin CaronI love the strong colors 3D-printed resin creates. I really geek out on the translucents, of course – check out my 3D-printed sculptures to see how many times I’ve used translucent yellow, red, blue and purple filament because I love how they interact with light.

Yet I’m not afraid to cover the surface of a 3D-printed sculpture.

I did just that with Oculum, which has an antique brass patina. In that case, I had to address the sculpture’s surface because the design required supports during printing, and I have yet to figure out how to remove all evidence of them. That led to some “body work” (shades of my days as a mechanic!), which I then covered with the patina.

I’ve painted my 3D-printed sculptures, too. A good example is Night Sky, for which I just used rattle can paints.

But lately, I painted a couple of sculptures with a new finish that really excites me ….

Twilight, after heat is applied to this 3D printed sculpture finished with thermochromic paint - Kevin CaronI learned about it online. I saw a video of someone’s car that was painted a solid color. A guy threw some hot water on the car, and voila!, an image appeared. This was too cool!

A few clicks later, I’d ordered a starter kit of this amazing stuff: thermochromic paint. It came as a powder, which is mixed into any kind of clear, then sprayed on (I’ll have a video about it soon).

I’m still playing with this wild paint, but the results are incredibly cool.

The first two sculptures I applied it to are Strawberry Cannoli, which sold at a recent show, and Twilight, both of which are versions of one of my favorite forms, the umbilic torus (I’ve created it in many versions, including a 9-foot-diameter sculpture).

I used a red thermochromic paint over the top of a rattle can brass color on Strawberry Cannoli, which developed some wild little dots that turn very red when heated.

Twilight (shown above in its “beauty” shot) is more subtle, in shades of black and deep purple, as you can see in the photo at right. Heat causes the purple to fade, making the black highlights more prominent.

Now that I’m getting the hang of it, I plan to get more bold with my underlying designs, but I sure am enjoying this new way to “finish” a sculpture.

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