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.
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 ….
Take my current print, a sculpture called Glance, of which this is the first real creation in any medium.
I printed a couple of tests, one without its “dome” and the other with a slightly different dome. So there aren’t even any photos of this sculpture on the Web site because it doesn’t really exist yet (give it a couple more days).
I’m using a beautiful gold filament from UltiMachine. (It comes in 5 pound spools, which is helpful for me, although I’d like 10 or 15 pound ones.) The finished surface is silken.
Uh, except for the strange “hairs” that pop up randomly or in a run ….
I don’t know what causes these aberrations. Sometimes I’m annoyed about them because they are ruining an otherwise “perfect” print.
But sometimes these strange deformations are just part of the process. It seems analogous to the firing process for potters. You hope for a clay or glaze to finish with a certain color or effect, but sometimes your pot blows up intead.
The mysterious stripe in Simple Planes With Aquamarine Stripe helped me realize that some of this is about the imperfections. Or perhaps, better said, the imperfections are a part of what something truly is.
I do not know yet how to stop them, by the way. Steve Graber has taught me some tricks about avoiding lumpy corners and such, but I haven’t talked to him about this yet.
I won’t know for another 2-1/2 days or so whether these particular glitches will be part of the piece or I just have another blown-up pot.
Right now, my biggest concern is changing the spool of filament when this one runs out.
Here’s a photo of Glance thus far ….
Stay tuned ….