Now that I’ve stumbled into this amazing new look with 3D printing I’m playing with the nuances.
Some I can control – the color and type of filament (type only if I’m printing on my Cerberus 3D 400 – it can handle a lot of different types because of its ability to print at a higher temperature than the other 2) – and, of course, the shape of the design itself.
What I’m discovering so far, though, is that there is a wonderful randomness about how the technology affects the appearance of the sculptures.
That’s easy to see when you look at 3 different prints (right), all the same form but different heights. The difference between them is striking and also extremely exciting.
I love that the process, which is such an integral part of my work – not just how I make my sculptures, but part of their intrinsic look – is speaking so loud and clear ….
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I learn by doing. Yes, I also research, read, watch videos and gain knowledge in other ways, but mostly I play and push beyond what I already know to learn more.
A lot of my sculptures, such as Knot Me and subsequent artworks based on what I learned from tipping a trefoil knot on one corner, are a result of “I wonder what will happen if I do this ….”
That very sort of “following my curiosity,” as author Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, is what has led to one of the most exciting developments I’ve encountered yet in 3D printing.
As you know, if you’ve read this blog or watched my site, Instagram or Facebook for any time, I’ve been using 3D printing to create sculptures for about 5 years. I’ve enjoyed developing my own style of flowing, sometimes twisting and even angular forms, some of which are near to if not impossible to make in metal.
But this latest development, the result of playing with settings, is creating an entirely new look for my sculptures …. Read More →
I 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 ….
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Since I moved my 3D Systems CubeX 3D printer down to the studio, I’ve been able to play with it while I’m in the office cooling down – Arizona summers are really brutal when you work with fire and wear heavy protective gear. The CubeX gives me another way to play that keeps me under 1000 degrees.
One reason I hang onto this old 3D printer – it was the first one I owned – is that it prints ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) filament (the same stuff used in Lego bricks), which is petroleum-based. Although I mostly print in PLA (polylactic acid), ABS lets me do some things I can’t do with PLA.
In particular, it lets me print the two forms shown in this post, which my deltabot printers’ software just can’t seem to handle. The CubeX software can handle the thin edges better and print pieces without supports, which means much far less clean up. It also lets me use a filler that PLA probably wouldn’t put up with.
Accordingly, I decided to create these two forms for an upcoming show. I knew they wouldn’t print perfectly, though, so some body work was in my future ….
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Some artists hold their processes close to their vests (where did that expression come from? Who wears a vest anymore? Sorry – mind wandering ….).
I’m not one of them.
I have a large and active YouTube channel with more than 450 videos in which I share metal fabrication and 3D-printing tips. I also have held many events for other artists at my studio and at my home, where I have my 3D printers (the studio is just too dirty – I make dirt there!). I’ve even held events for other artists at my art shows.
So when the Arizona Artists Guild asked me if I’d do a program for the organization’s sculpture group, of which I’m a member, I was glad to do it.
But this time, I decided to do it a little differently ….
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I know I have more to share about the technology side of 3D printing, but please enjoy this interruption to talk about art.
Yes, I like the aspect of using these tools to do my work – the tools I have used over the years have had a huge influence on how my art looks – but 3D printing is not the point, it’s the path.
That’s what’s driven me to take a moment to talk about a recent project for which I used my CubeX 3D printer.
I’d developed a form in CAD, a variation on the umbilic torus shape I’ve used in three different sculptures – Torrent, Crimson Singularity and Wherever You Go, There You Are – and wanted to see what it would actually look like. I wanted to be able to hold it in my hand, rotate it, see how the piece fits together.
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