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"Kevin ... understands that sculpture is about rhythm and movement.... He has an intellectual engagement, a sense of making the sculpture work ... using the principles of design that have been time-honored through art history."
--Michael Stack, Professor of Art, Pima Community College East Campus, Tucson, Arizona

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A Sneak Peek at 3 3D Printers Printing Before A Show

Kevin is standing by a large 3D printed sculpture called Easy In. He says that automotive guys will know what he's talking about - this sculpture twists the opposite way of the tool called an easy out.

Kevin has about 65 people coming with a group called Spirit of the Senses in a few hours to learn more about 3D printing. Kevin will talk about his artistic work with 3D printing, while Steve Graber, who built 2 of Caron's printers, will talk about the technical aspects of 3D printing.

The first 3D printer Kevin shows is his CubeX printer from 3D Systems. That's also the same company that makes Geomagic, the CAD program he uses to make his original files. This machine has 3 different print heads, so it can print in 3 colors, although you can't mix them.

On the Cubex Kevin is making a fat umbilic torus much like his sculptures Oculum and Copper Cuff,/a>, although he's printing this one with glow-in-the-dark filament. The print will take about 9-1/2 hours, and will hopefully finish printing while the group is present.

He shows where the sculpture is, and where the support web is that holds up his oddball shape. All of the support webbing will be cut away.

Next he shows one of his 2 deltabot printers, the Cerberus 3D 250. It has 3 towers, or struts, that support the machine. Instead of the X-Y-Z approach of the CubeX, deltabot printers "think" in triangles. You can see how much faster this printer is, and it isn't even turned up all the way. It's really quick! It also has a heated bed so you can run PLA filament. Kevin is making a large goblet to show his visitors. It'll be waterproof and usable.

Kevin is also running his Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer. It's 8 feet tall and has a 34" print tray, and will print items up to 4-1/2 feet tall. It's running a lot slower than the 250, mostly because of the length of the struts as well as the mass on the print platform itself. You really don't want it moving too fast, as it will degrade the print quality. It's running at about 130% of maximum. You can run it faster, but the sculpture has a beautiful finish at this speed - it's almost like glass it's so smooth.

He emphasizes that you have to mind your settings. Kevin shows the small tablet that serves as a display, letting him adjust print speed, filament flow, temperature, etc. He takes the file from the computer, slips it into the SD card reader in the "brain" on the top of the printer, and then controls the print from the tablet - it doesn't need a computer to run.

This sculpture will end up being 38" tall. It's maybe a third done. A variation on one he's made before, this sculpture is made of PLA resin, which is cornstarch based, unlike the ABS filament that the CubeX uses, which is petroleum based. PLA is renewable, recylable and biodegradable.

Last of all, Kevin shows you some of the small sculptures he has made on his printers. They're designed on the computer and printed on the 250. Kevin uses them for proof of concept - how will they look, will they stand up, etc. - and they're for sale.

He also shows some of the jewelry he has made with 3D printing. He has earrings and necklaces based on designs that he has used for large sculptures. He doesn't print the jewelry in house - his 3D printers are too big and their resolution is too low, so he sends his designs to an outside company that prints them. Some are simply printed in resin, while other pieces are printed in resin or wax, and then the "lost wax process" or "lost PLA process" is used to make the designs in precious metals.

Before you go, you might enjoy his latest fail (or should that be "fails"?).

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