Let there be light (with 3D printed translucent filament)

Sunscraper, a 3D printed contemporary art sculpture - Kevin CaronIn February during my one-person show devoted to my 3D-printed sculptures, I heard many interesting comments and questions.

One thing I was asked repeatedly is whether I’d ever put lights into a 3D printed sculpture.

This undoubtedly grew out of them seeing the luminous translucent filaments I’ve used, including ice blue (for the sculpture Easy In), red (several sculptures, including Redhead and Love and Marriage), purple (Twin Peaks and Love and Marriage) and – my favorite – yellow (SunScraper, right). The yellow just really lights up!

BTW, I’ve tried green “translucent” filament, too, which wasn’t really translucent and was, honestly, just pretty ugly.

The subject came up so often, in fact, that, of course, my mind got going ….

Opioid, a 3D printed contemporary art sculpture - Kevin CaronOpioid, a 3D printed contemporary art sculpture, lit from within - Kevin CaronI  thought about just building a pedestal with a light in – that came up a couple of times, too, and I may still do that someday.

It’s easy enough to design a sculpture with an opening for a light – which would be helpful whether the light is in the pedestal or in the sculpture itself – so I decided to print a large, distorted oval I would eventually title Opioid, with a void in the bottom.

I then found some lights that look so much like hockey pucks the company actually refers to them as pucks.

Instead of putting a light in a pedestal or in the piece itself, I ended up printing a new, low-profile black base for the sculpture. Now that I had the light in hand, I built in a groove for the light cord while I was at it.

So at left, you can see the sculpture during the daytime with the light off. At right is Opioid at night with the light lit.

I love how the light shoots up the center like a flame while it illuminates the entire sculpture and makes it glow ….

I’m so happy with it, I’ve printed another black base and ordered light for the failed print that is now destined to be a side table.

And who knows what the future may bring …..

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