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Here’s How 3D Printing is Changing the Game for Artists


3D printing is reaching new heights. Since discovering this medium, commercial and fine artists are using 3D printing to create the artworks of their dreams.

3D printing blurs the line between technology and contemporary fine art. It is opening up a world of opportunities for those who are still dipping their toes in certain fields or those who want to step outside of their comfort zone by integrating different disciplines to create something completely innovative.

Here are the ways in which 3D printing technology is pushing the envelope in the art world.

3D printing and sculpture

3D printing technology enables artists who might not be trained in sculpturing to use their sketches and digital designs to create 3D sculptures. Digital 3D printing software also empowers artists to visualise the end result and to solve any design issues straight away, without having to waste any precious material.

3D Printing and models

Many artists use working models before attempting to build the final piece. Thanks to 3D printing, artists can now create made-to-measure models that help them visualise their artwork a bit better than a sketch.
Commercial artists are using 3D printing to create hyper-realistic models of a film set, props, costumes as well as actors. Furthermore, independent cartoonists are also using 3D printing to create 3D reproductions of their characters, without having to depend on the go-ahead of big toy or figurine companies to do so. 

3D printing and art reproduction

Museums and other art institutions can now use 3D printing to create 3D reproductions of masterpieces that feature the exact same canvas texture, brush strokes, paint thickness, hues and whatnot. It's an excellent way of educating the public and art students about art history, painting techniques and the link between art and technology. 


Use Cases​​​​

  • Michelangelo's David in Dubai

The University of Florence, together with Swedish tech company Hexagon, have created the most authentic replica of Michelangelo's David using 3D printing technology. The 17-foot replica will be showcased at Expo 2020 in Dubai this October.
  • Silent Orchestra by Peter Lang

German artist Pete Lang, in collaboration with acoustics experts from Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences, managed to create an 18-foot sculpture - "Silent Orchestra" - using 3D printing technology. The artist initially spent 10 months sketching the hornet and wasp nest-inspired artwork by hand. The sketches were then digitally processed and transformed into 3D models to prep them for 3D printing. The artist worked alongside a robot printer to create the stunning, Arboblend-made sculpture that was then infused with beer to act as an adhesive.
  • Crania Anatomica Filigre by Joshua Harker

Joshua Harker is considered to be a pioneer when it comes to 3D printed art and sculpture. His "Crania Anatomica Filigre" is the most funded sculpture project in Kickstarter history and is now considered a 3D printing landmark. Harker explains how 3D technology has been vital to his artistic development: "Bolstered by the advent of organic modelling software, 3D printing technologies and material engineering, my visions are now able to be realized sculpturally in archival materials. Never before have forms of this organic complexity been able to be created. This boon of technology is a revolutionary time for the arts and one which will be boldly marked in history."

Marco Mahler (a kinetic sculptor that specialises in mobiles) and Henry Segerman (a research fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne)'s collaboration resulted in the world's first fully 3D printed mobiles.
  • ODD Guitars by Olaf Diegel

ODD Guitars was founded by Olaf Diegel, a professor and practitioner of additive manufacturing and product development. ODD Guitars uses Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology and Duraform PA to create guitar bodies with intrinsic designs that cannot be manufactured through traditional means. 

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