Archive for Simple Planes With Aquamarine Stripe sculpture

Surprises selling 3D-printed sculpture

Three of my large format 3D-printed sculptures at Vision Gallery - Kevin CaronI got great news this week when a check arrived from one of my retailers, Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona.

Vision has been carrying my work for a while, and for the past many months they have displayed the largest collection of my 3D-printed sculpture outside of a special show I did this past February. With glass walls on three exposures, the gallery is the perfect place for 3D-printed sculpture, especially light-hungry translucent pieces.

I wasn’t surprised that the sculpture they sold this month was Lemon Drop (shown on next page), a particularly luscious piece printed in translucent yellow PLA filament. Of all the translucents I’ve used thus far, the yellow is by far the most beautiful. It seems to capture and reflect the light.

The blue translucent is downright cold, although still beautiful, while the red tends to glow. The purple is more subtle, as evidenced in Josephine, a sculpture I recently completed that is on display at Vision Gallery. I love the emails I get from the gallery manager, who keeps snapping and sending photos of the sculptures as the light moves across the sky. She’ll write such reports as “Miss Josephine looks particularly sultry today.” That’s music to my ears: it means the art is as alive for her as it is for me.

What has surprised me, though, is who is buying my 3D-printed sculptures ….

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Filament follies

There are so many variables to juggle when using a 3D printer – temperature, design, workplace cleanliness – but few are as frustrating as filament problems.

Although I use ABS filament in my CubeX printer, lately I have been using PLA almost exclusively in my Cerberus 3D 250 and Gigante. The 250 uses 1.75 millimeter filament, while the Gigante uses 3 millimeter.

Yes, that means I have spools of both inhouse – open any closet right now, and you see spools stacked high. That’s especially true of the 3 millimeter because the Gigante sucks down filament like a hungry pasta lover inhales spaghetti. I now have a policy that, if I’m doing a large print, I must have a minimum of three five-pound spools to make sure I have enough filament from the same batch.

But that’s not the biggest problem with filament …. This is supposed to be 3 mm filament - Kevin Caron

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The Making

It is possible to create art with a 3D printer without having a 3D printer. I’ve seen many beautiful sculptures created by service bureaus such as Shapeways. Bathsheba design on Shapeways site

Because machines interest me, though, printing my 3D designs myself seemed natural. Understanding how something comes to be is important to me. Creating it myself is part of the point.

(At some moment, so it might as well be now, I must make clear I do use outside 3D printers, or service bureaus, for certain projects, just as I sometimes send my sculptures out to be sandblasted or painted. All of these are situations in which my equipment or capabilities are not equal to my own imagination.)

That being said, I’ve had some interesting surprises along the plastic brick road ….

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‘Don’t you just push a button?’

When I got involved in 3D printing, I understood that I was on the “bleeding edge” – it wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. I love to learn, and my curiosity has taken me to some pretty awesome places.

When I got my first 3D printer, I knew there’d be a learning curve, and that the software and hardware would evolve quickly. But of course, you don’t ever think about how much ….

That being said, sometimes people think it’s as simple as pushing a button: “Don’t you just put in the software and say go?”

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Changing filament midprint is easy, peasy

When I printed my first large-scale sculpture on my Cereberus 3D Gigante printer, I only had 1 kilogram spools of the 3 millimeter filament it uses. We didn’t know how many spools it would take, but we knew that the fact that the sculpture was hollow would help.

I’ve ordered some 5 kilogram spools now, but last week we didn’t have time for that if I was going to make my submission deadline for the Shemer Art Center‘s “Materialize” 3D art show.

Amazingly enough, that 1 kilogram spool gave me enough PLA plastic to create the sculpture Simple Planes With Aquamarine Stripe and start another sculpture – but just barely.

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Now THAT’S a sculpture – 3-foot-sculpture printed on 3D printer

With just days left to submit sculptures for the Shemer Art Center‘s 3D art show “Materialize,” I started printing my first sculpture – and my first piece at all – on Cereberus 3D’s Gigante printer.

This monster is 8 feet tall. It can print an item 5 feet tall and 34″ in diameter, but time was an issue.

I scaled up and queued up my sculpture Simple Planes to 40 inches tall. As soon as Steve Graber and his chief scientist, Hugh, were satisfied that everything was running well, I hit the “print” button.

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