Friday, May 22, 2015

+ / - , Actualization.

I've been thinking quite a lot recently about the term actualization and how it applies to making art with a 3D printer. It's based off of the root actualizing (v) - To make actual or real. 1

The term is interesting as it refers to taking that which is not real - Ideas - and making them real or actual, thereby meaning that in actualizing an idea it can become real but never actual and vice versa. It can be one or the other but never both.

In the world of 3D printers we deal with the process of making things real. Taking a .stl file and making it into an object, something you can hold in your hands, whereas before it had only existed as a digital file that was necessarily ideal.

However, in the process of printing - Actualizing - an object, an actual version of the object is not achieved. What instead is produced is an approximation of the model, reduced by the physical limitations of the machine used to actualize the model.

Constraints within 3D printing (layer heights, nozzle diameters, calibration imperfections, slicing, support materials, printing materials, ect...) all contribute to an imperfect translation from model file to real object. Take the example of a sphere, perfectly 40mm in diameter and hollow with 1mm walls. [ Model here if you'd like to try it yourself. ]


Cut to show wall width
I'll then slice it - a process that tells the machine what movements to perform as well as how to lay down material - with pretty standard settings for a FDM machine (I'm using a Prusa i3)- 
  • Material -  PLA
  • Layers - 0.3 mm
  • Nozzle - 0.4 mm
  • Infill - 100% rectilinear 
  • Speed - 30 mm/s
  • Support - None
  • Slicing - Slic3r
 Which I can then export to the machine print the object.

38 minutes later.

It's obvious that there are surface deformities present that compound upon the dimensional inaccuracies present from printing. The resulting object is an imperfect but real representation of the object.

Real objects can be achieved through additive manufacturing, but never perfectly actual versions of a 3D model. Actualization is a necessarily reductive process.

The using additive manufacturing is a reductive process.

Which to me, as an artist, is very interesting.

Taking a perfect idea, translating it into reality, and seeing what is lost in the process. I've started a series of pieces that I'll be showing here soon off of that idea.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Embedding things in 3D prints.

I was out to breakfast this morning when my mind wandered onto the bracelet on my wrist. This bracelet I had printed the beads for and then strung together with a spot of unprinted stretchy filament. It worked as a bracelet but in my mind failed as a potential display of both materials, so I fixed it today. I also wanted to try something new, so I did.

Embedding parts in a 3D print to include multiple materials.

Starting out, I designed 2 parts.

[Found here...]

Next, I printed off the first part in a flexible material.
(Ninjaflex, 0.3mm layers, 70% infill)

I then started printing the second part.
(PLA, 0.1mm layers, 100% infill)

Which I then paused printing when it was at 5mm Z height to then place the first part into.

I then resumed the print and let it finish.

So, what I ended up with were two parts that were then hybridized as a single thing, combining aspects of both the flexible plastic and the hard plastic.

Which ended up pretty cool.

In other news I modeled up a 1958 Shasta Airflyte, and then printed it as a planter, which turned out pretty cool. (Didn't take any photos of the finished product, oops)