Check out this great photo study and mini-profile of artist Shane Hope‘s painterly 3D printed work at Maker Faire this year from Laura Cochrane at MAKE. Hope assembles and customizes his own cluster of 3D printers from the ground up, and then turns these printers into the “art assistants” he needs to produce this work. His work in this mode has been favorably received in the art world and technology world alike — paving the way towards a future in which 3D printed artwork (or 3D printing within artwork) will be highly valued in galleries and collections beyond its role as a reproduction and as a novelty, which has been a tricky public image to address in the art market to date.
As it happened, this piece was destroyed in the wind and rain overnight the first night, so these photos are a final record of this one. (There are many more photos to be found back at MAKE here!)
Shane works on acrylic, printing nanoscale 3D forms that have been modified by script algorithms he wrote himself. Then he paints on the acrylic a bit, and then prints some more. He also prints on the back of the acrylic, and that can show through, where the acrylic is unadorned on the front. Shane describes his process:
From research repositories, I appropriate .pdb (Protein Data Bank) files, nanomolecular machine component models, junk DNA sculptural origami and novel inorganic material models such as sheets of graphene, etc. With the molecular visualization system PyMOL, I overprocess or ornamentally-challenge models by writing and running Python scripts to algorithmically-automate alternative formal derivations, fractalize aminos off forms to perform generative crystallography, code for crazy carbon chaining, supersaturate all-of-the-above color palette assignments, deforming meshes and glitch render modes / ray tracings. All also callable command line by line, I script to induce and amass harvests of molecular mutations. I curate thereafter from the code-yielded crops, picking the ripest exemplary nano- nuance and novelty, so to speak. I use Gimp to compose resultant renders into 2D archival pigment prints called Qubit-Built Quilts. Qubit-Built Quilts are painterly plans for playborground ball pits of pure operationality all about atomic admin access-privs picturesque.
To process files for 3D printability, I continue manipulating my modded molecular models with MeshLab and manually carve them up into batches in Blender. I mean to make microsculptures in sheets that’ll incite the greatest gamut of ‘almos and a little extraa’ [sic] style artifactural anomalies. I predict / play with epic-print-fails, throttle or accordingly allow irregular parts likely to create collisions that all but muck up my printers. I’ve conscientiously crafted an arsenal of custom print settings in order to print more like painting. The goal is to glean abnormalities that aesthetically accentuate messy molecular modeling / 3D printing interstices, revealing how each translates one another with tensions that thereby ‘overheat’ the medium of rapid prototyping.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!