Archive for sculpture

Seeing in 3D – Using 3D printing for prototyping

3D printed stem of Schubertii sculpture - Kevin CaronWhen 3D printing first became popular for more general use – it’d already been around 20 years in industrial and scientific settings – “rapid prototyping” was the buzzword you heard everywhere. (After I started working with 3D printing and especially my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, I found this hilarious – there wasn’t much rapid about it.)

While I do create sculptures using 3D printing, I also use it for protyping. It’s really important when I’m creating a sculpture in CAD and then actually building it in metal to be able to see all aspects of the form.

A great example is a sculpture I’m just beginning, Schubertii. Based on the plant by the same name, this sculpture will be 12 feet tall. Seven feet of that will be the sculpture’s “stem.”

The stem is fairly simply to look at, but creating it in metal is going to be, well, challenging. Its round edges and flowing form will require me to use a combination of tools – air shaper, English wheel, maybe even the slapper (yeah, there really is a tool called a slapper) – to get the rounded form that is the opposite of how metal comes, in flat sheets.

To get the form right, I printed the stem maquette, or model, on my Cerberus 3D 250 desktop 3D printer ….

Read More →

3D Printing Contributes to Evolution of Form

Limoncello Prima, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron

Sometimes I just start creating, as I am doing with a metal sculpture in my studio right now.

Sometimes I design in CAD (which is how I got into 3D printing in the first place!) and then create the form in metal or resin.

And sometimes a sculpture evolves as it is created. That’s exactly what happened with a recent artwork, 50 Years of Limoncello.

Well, it really began with a call for an art show in New York. The show, “The HeART of Italy,” celebrates the spirit, history, people and places of that romantic land, where I spent time a couple of years ago.

Thinking about my time in Italy, I decided to use some of that luscious translucent yellow PLA filament to create a sculpture to submit to the show.

What I didn’t anticipate – but surely embraced – was how the artwork evolved. But then, that’s part of the beauty of creating art ….

 

I first printed a form that, as many of my sculptures do, celebrates the female form. After looking at it, I decided to use the same filament to create a more, shall we say, lusty sculpture.

But when I placed the two forms together, I began to see something else, an artwork composed of three forms. I decided to 3D print yet another sculpture, using the same beautiful yellow filament and the same basic design, but making it noticeably more slender than the other two.

The result is something that some in the art world might question (but what else is new about my work!), but that came together beautifully, simply because I followed my eye, my heart and my intuition.50 Years of Limoncello, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron

The sculpture, 50 Years of Limoncello – that drink is one of my warm memories from my trip to Italy! – features three sculptures that, together, share the evolution of many of us who indulge in the pleasures of life. Each sculpture – Limoncello Prima, Limoncello Mezza and Limoncello Troppa – can stand on its own, yet together they create a story.

Now let’s just hope that the judges in that New York show love this piece as much as I do!

 

Double trouble: Is it original or a print?

Multiples of Sunscraper, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin Caron Most people who have wondered if 3D printed sculptures are art have now realized that 3D printers themselves are simply tools, like paintbrushes, potters’ wheels and cameras.

With 3D printing, however, some people continue to fear that once artists create their original CAD designs, they will then simply print popular sculptures over and over, creating the sort of “copies” 2D artists make with offset prints and giclees. Many in the art world are bothered when artists offer inexpensive (or sometimes not so inexpensive) copies of their work this way.

For me, although it is, of course, technically possible to print multiples, whether to do so is really a philosophical issue. I had to consciously consider and develop this philosophy as a lodestar for my 3D-printed creations.

Sure, once a design has proven popular, I could simply reprint multiples, but that isn’t something I choose to do any more than I do it when I create sculptures in metal. In metal, it is a little trickier to recreate a form exactly, which would be quite easy with 3D printing. Still, I think there are issues for patrons if they feel they are not really buying an original.

My philosophy is straightforward, but took a little time to think through ….

Read More →

A thousand eyes: Artists look at 3D printing

Artists imagine the world - Kevin Caron“Artists imagine the world. Engineers build it.”

I’ve written before how a visitor to one of my art shows pointed out to me that artists – writers, filmmakers, sculptors, painters – often are the first to conceive of what at first seems impossible, and we all know how many ideas conceived by writers as diverse as Jules Verne and Gene Roddenberry have come to fruition.

With 3D printing, I’m just one of many artists who have embraced the technology.

I don’t know whether an artist first came up with the idea of printing in three dimensions, but many artists are now doing as I am, which is taking technology that was created for something different altogether and using it to create art.

It’s been interesting to see the different ways various artist are using the medium …
Read More →

Coats of many colors: using finishes on 3D-printed resin

Epic Swoon, a 3D printed fine art sculpture by Kevin CaronWhen I first started 3D printing with my 3D Systems CubeX it was such a struggle to get the form completed the way I wanted it I never thought about finishes.

I was purely focused on the form.

Besides, 3D printing delivers the strong, saturated color of an opaque filament, such as in sculptures like my 5-1/2 foot-tall commissioned piece Epic Swoon, which has a red upper and a black pedestal, or the often glowing quality of translucents, like my sculpture Easy In.

I love how those translucent filaments embrace the light – one of my favorites is my sculpture Sunscraper, which practically bursts into flame it’s so luminous.

The first time I used a finish on a piece was with my sculpture Oculum, and it was out of necessity ….

Read More →

Taking a tumble: burnishing 3D-printed bronze

The Point, a 3D printed bronze sculpture - Kevin CaronMany sculptors work in bronze, but in my more than 10 years as a professional artist, I have worked in everything but. I have mostly fabricated in mild steel, but have also worked with stainless steel, Cor-ten (weathering) steel, aluminum, brass and copper.

Finally, with 3D printing, I have my first bronze! Well, it’s 80% bronze and 20% PLA resin, but the resulting print is clearly a different breed than the ABS and PLA resins I usually print in.

For one thing, it’s noticeably heavier. Seeing as I’m printed just two or three layers thick, it’s amazing how much heavier these bronzes are than if they’d been printed in the resin I usually use.

(Of course, that gets my mind going … if I could print a solid bronze, how much would it weigh? How would it compare to the weight of a traditional poured bronze? And we’re off and running through the grassy fields of my mind ….)

One of the big differences is that the sculpture isn’t done once the printhead rises ….

Read More →

Chaos reality: 3D printer has a mind of its own

Cuddle - a 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronWorking with 3D printing in this “Model T” period means dealing with all sorts of surprises. All of them are probably maddeningly logical – these printers are run by computers, after all – but sometimes it’s hard to figure out why.

That was the case with a recent 3D printed sculpture I’m calling Cuddle (my wife keeps calling it Huddle – go figure).

Although the final print came out beautifully (except for the color, but that’s another story!), my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer decided to get there in a mighty odd way ….

Admittedly, these prints are big. This particular one, although it’s far from as large as several I’ve done, is also complex. I had tried to print it three times before I reduced it in size and resliced it again. This time the sculpture finished printing, not even threatening to lift off the print tray, a problem I have with these large prints.

But as it printed, I noticed that the printhead was tracking really bizarrely. The head wouldn’t go around each “tower.” It didn’t go around the exterior of the entire sculpture and work its way in, either. It just seemed to hop from one area to another what appeared to be randomly.

Cuddle - void detail - in a 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronOf course, it wasn’t random – it’s a computer! – but it sure looked that way. Steve Graber, my 3D printing guru and the genius who built the Gigante and its little cousin the Cerberus 3D 250, even commented on the printhead’s chaotic path. Most of what it created, however, looked fine.

What was particularly strange, though, was the voids it created both in the bottom of the piece (below, right) and – thank goodness – on certain interior walls (left).

I’d learned from my experience with Sunscraper, the big yellow sculpture that I talked about in my last post, that I wanted to be very careful with interior walls after Kisslicer, the slicing program I use, decided to just eliminate them where they overlapped in the design. So this time I made sure that the walls didn’t touch but only butted up to each other.

Still, the program decided to leave really odd openings on either side of the walls on the bottom of the sculpture for no apparent reason. Fortunately, it has not seemed to jeopardize the sculpture’s structural integrity.

Cuddle - detail of voids in bottom of the 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronThe “windows” it made in the interior walls were a little more concerning, but ended up not making a difference in the print structurally or aesthetically because no one can see them.

Interestingly enough, the printhead would come up one side of the window, turn around and go back, then come up the other side and turn around. So it wasn’t jumping the space, although it did eventually “heal” the wall over them.

Again, the good news is that it didn’t seem to affect the sculpture in any meaningful way. You can’t even see the interior voids now that the sculpture is done.

What caused these aberrations? I don’t know if I’ll ever know, but I’ll continue to try to find ways around them.

Building bridges: saving a 3D print using my hands

sunscraper-byhandA Facebook fan recently posted a comment about liking my metal sculpture because he prefers the “hands on” look.

I suspect he thinks, as many people do, that 3D printing is as simple as pushing a button. Well, in this Model T period of 3D printing, it’s anything but.

In fact, the 3D print that just finished printing yesterday actually required me to manipulate the print with my hands while the printer was running ….

Read More →

3D printed art still opening eyes

With the International Sculpture Conference in town at the beginning of November, I made it a The crowd at the opening for Ten: Modern Abstract at monOrchid Shade Gallery, Phoenix, Arizonapoint to have as much work visible as possible. Sure, many of the attendees were not necessarily art buyers, but they are art lovers. Too, artists usually appreciate outliers like me, people who don’t play by the rules.

Creating sculpture with 3D printing isn’t that unusual – there are plenty of artists out there doing it – a Google search for 3D printed sculpture brought back 1,440,000 results (admittedly, this isn’t a scientific study, but still!).

That being said, very few artists are printing their own work, much less doing so with a printer that can create sculptures as tall as 4-1/2 feet.

So when I got the chance to have some of my large format 3D-printed sculptures at one of the most popular galleries in downtown Phoenix, I jumped on it ….

Read More →

Sculptors dig deeper into technology

NextEngine scanning softwareWhen I heard that the International Sculpture Conference was coming to Phoenix, I knew I wanted to be involved.  I joined the International Sculpture Center, the organization that sponsors it, and began deciding what I wanted to attend.

One of the sessions I signed up for right away was “3D Body Scanning and Prototyping Workshop.” It was to be held at Arizona State University, one of the largest universities in the United States, which is in Tempe, part of the metro Phoenix area. The workshop was organized by Dan Collins, a professor and longtime 3D printing enthusiast whom I first met last year through the Shemer Art Center 3D printed art show “Materialize.”

I didn’t know much about body scanning, but I thought it would be an interesting adjunct to my work with 3D printing. Little did I know that Dan would ask me to be part of the session ….

Read More →