Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
This video shows a double-lidded box, with open sides, held together with a central adapter piece.
I've been on hiatus from this blog for about six months, experimenting and trying new things.What I've spent the most time on is 3D printing. Unlike most of the 3D printed stuff you've seen, there are now printers capable of full-color 3D printing and, for an artist, this opens all sorts of new creative horizons.Full color 3D printers are still huge, expensive beasts, too large and costly to have at home. The one I'm using belongs to a printing service in New York City and it weighs 800 pounds, costs about $80,000, and requires a skilled operator to run it.I've been working on this since March, and I've learned quite a bit about what's possible and what's not. First, I had to figure out how to use the 3D modeling software, then how to use it to create art. I start with one of my images, the sort you can see on one of my web sites. Then, using the modeling software, I project it into the third dimension to create a piece like the one in the video above. It's a three-piece box, with open sides, and a central piece that holds the whole thing together. The animation in the video shows how the pieces work with each other.Normally, I don't shoot video, but I thought that I might be able to use a video to explain how a complicated piece of 3D art like the bee box fits together.Can 3D printing be used to create the sort of art that I want to make? Yes and no. The problem with the current full color 3D printers is that the output quality can vary widely, producing exquisitely beautiful pieces, or pieces printed so poorly I have to hide them in a drawer. I suspect that this quality gamut is related to the skill of the operator on the 3D printer.In some ways, I'm designing my 3D work to be printed five years from now, when printers can produce better quality output. For now, to me, it's still a miracle that you can print 3D works in full color. Today's printers are like the early inkjet printers. Over time, their quality evolved to the point that they can produce fine art prints. The same evolution will happen with 3D printers.In the meantime, enjoy the video.
Animation by Frisson Studio - copyright 2014
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