If you buy a 3D printer “off the shelf,” say a MakerBot or Lulzbot, you get what you got.
Of course, based on the number of units sold of these machines, you can assume they are of some quality. You also know the capabilities of the printer, the kind of filament it can handle, its footprint, and, well, pretty much everything about it.
And you also have, in most cases, an established company you can go back to when things get squirrelly.
But the way 3D printing is evolving, just like computers, the minute you buy it, it’s obsolete. The newer printers can handle more exotic filaments, create larger and better prints. But you have the same 3D printer.
That’s one of the advantages of having a printer that’s built by a small company or even open source ….
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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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