When I got my first 3D printer, sculptures were definitely on my mind. I thought about how I could make things that metal just resists, despite the fact that many people think I’m a metal magician (blush, blush).
As I’ve gotten more familiar with the machines and their capabilities, though, I’ve begun to see other ways to use them.
For instance, this week I started printing a custom pedestal for a sculpture I sold at a recent art show ….
When the client bought Rush, he asked if I’d make him a pedestal to go with it – the sculpture is going in the entranceway of his very nice house. I could have made it out of steel, but he wanted it printed. That got my mind going!
The base of the sculpture is oval, so I could have just made a large round pedestal for it, or made an oval pedestal for it. But 3D printing frees my thinking in new ways, so I thought about making it oval on the top and round on the bottom.
As my video (below) explains, my CAD software was being cranky about creating the shape I wanted. OK, I admit it, it is probably due to my ignorance, but I just could not get the shape to come out the way I saw it in my head. Instead, it wanted to bulge out on one side.
I tried a different CAD program, Rhino, which I know less well, and finally created a shape I was happy with. So now I’m printing the pedestal – it should take about 110 hours, if the timer in the host program, Repetier, is correct. (So far, it’s been sort of close).
I had one false start, and the inside of the top (which printed first, since I’m printing the pedestal upside down) didn’t turn out the way I had planned, but it’s moving along nicely now.
I could have fabricated the pedestal in metal, but it would have been much more of a production. I could have had to buy a sheet of steel, cut it accurately, roll it so it would taper from its round bottom to its oval top, weld and grind the joint smooth, then cut, weld and grind both the top and the bottom. After I welded them on, I’d have the whole thing powder coated.
If all goes as planned, the printed pedestal will take about as much time, be cheaper and, of course, infinitely cooler.
I’ll be reporting about it in on my Facebook page about it, so if you’re curious, check it out. For now, pray for me ….