In the second set of three days of the six-day studio tour known as Hidden In The Hills, which is sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League, I heard more from visitors about 3D printing.

Altogether, more than 1,300 people came through the studio I was in, and as the first artist theyKevin Caron's jewelry at Hidden In The Hills saw, we usually were able to engage visitors. The colorful jewelry and small 3D sculptures I call Progeny helped catch their eyes.

Most people were simply amazed – many had never seen anything that had been 3D printed. And then, when I showed them a photo of Gigante and explained how it worked, they often said, “Now I understand it!”

Of course, my large deltabot printer uses only one approach to this technology, but it was fun to see the light bulb go on for so many people who were curious but cautious about this new development.

Too many of them brought up the 3D printed gun – what is it about the idea of being able to print a gun that fascinates people?! I hope the focus changes to more productive uses of  3D printing, such as that used in medicine, business and, of course, art.

One of the big issues, I noticed, was the lightness of the sculptures. Some were excited by that, others, I think, turned off. I’m glad that I’ve been playing with giving some sculptures some heft, and I will continue to investigate that as I create more works.

For all the people who knew little or nothing about 3D printing, though, it was also a lot of fun when people came by who knew a lot or who knew things that were news to me ….

3D printed castAn orthopedic doctor came by and said they were starting to use 3D printing to make casts – here the lightness is truly a benefit, as it is with my earrings (less pull on earlobes!).

One visitor shared the term “voxel,” which is a three-dimensional pixel – I know I’ll be using that now.

Another compared the slicing software to a CAT scan – the “T” in “CAT” refers to tomography, which creates vertical slices. I often explain 3D printing by saying it’s a like a big tube of toothpaste or a glue gun, so here’s another analogy for my quiver.

One of my favorite comments, though, came from a fellow named Marty, who was an engineer and a gallery owner. He said, “Artists imagine the future. Engineers build it.”

That certainly captures how many large and small changes happen in our world. 3D printing is definitely one of the large ones.