Additive manufacturing is alive and well in the manufacturing disciplines, and as I mentioned in the first blog of this series, it’s also impacting the education sectors. In addition to architecture, additive manufacturing is used in other departments such as the Fine Arts. There are many disciplines that fall under the category of “Fine Arts,” but for the topic at hand we are going to discuss how digital scanning and 3D printing are revolutionizing the traditional means of sculpting and even fashion.
Sculpting requires attention to detail and the use of hard or moldable materials to carve or cast a figure. Generally, clay is used for the sub-straight, and by using hand tools the sculptor can mold and shape the clay. This process is massively time-consuming and while in many cases a labor of love, it also allows for discrepancies between the sculptor’s model and the desired result, especially when an artist or individual is trying to replicate the original subject.
But what if the purpose of a sculpture was accuracy over art? There are digital alternatives available to make it possible to create an exact replica of a sculpture in a fraction of the time, and they are especially useful when it comes to preserving classic works of art and when creating new pieces to wonder at.
Case Study: Fluxaxis
Fluxaxis is a 3D printing company in the United Kingdom, that frequently works with artists to create or replicate masterpieces. They used Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology to recreate the Jam Sutton’s David and Goliath marble sculpture. FDM uses thermoplastic polymer materials to create a structure. These materials are loaded to the material tray in a filament form and one material serves as the modeling material, while the other is used as the support material. The materials are melted and moved in X, Y, Z direction and this process is repeated layer by layer until a structure is formed.
Fluxaxis used the Stratasys F900 to recreate the massive statue in three separate prints and combining them. The entire statue was printed using the ASA material in 258 hours where traditional methods could have taken months or years. The F900 has been called “the most proven and reliable manufacturing printer on the market” and it has the largest print envelope of any FDM 3D printer commercially available.
“The F900 can produce parts which are both large and highly detailed in a multitude of layouts and a multitude of materials, so when it comes to engineering especially it’s the machine we focus on because we can offer a more bespoke and accurate material for a client’s needs,” said Jake Augur, the Production Manager at Fluxaxis.
Case Study: Monmouth University
When it comes to creating new pieces of art, Monmouth University’s fine arts department has been using an Artec scanner to capture and produce figurative sculptures with the intent to print them with digital accuracy. Students are creating portrait bust of themselves by using an Eva and then utilizing those scans to create casting molds for the final design. They are also utilizing scan and print technology to create abstract design and refining the designs within CAD.
Case Study: threeASFOUR
The fashion industry has also benefited from 3D printing by attaching 3D printed accent items to clothing. By teaming up with New York City design firm threeASFOUR, Stratasys and threeAsFOUR have created a truly innovative runway look. Rather than creating pieces that are both light and flexible to wear, which is extraordinary in its own rights, Stratasys utilized the J750 PolyJet printer to print directly on the fabric. By printing spherical cells made of photopolymers directly on fabric there is a color shift in the cells when the fabric flexes. The result was threeASFOUR’s Chro-Morpho collection which draws inspiration from the color morphology and light-filtering ability found in butterfly and insect wings. It produces a stunning visual result, but more so it paves the way for creating an access to new and unique color and textile combinations that cannot be produced through traditional methods.
I am continually amazed by the avenues 3D printing is taking, from manufacturing to architecture, and even in the realm of art, 3D printing can change the way we do almost anything.
If you are interested in exploring 3D printers but aren't sure where to start, we have put together a guide that will help you explore different machines that could be used in a classroom.