Beyond any doubt, 3D printing has contributed a lot to the realm of technology, engineering, arts, and architecture. Nowadays we are surrounded by thousands of 3D printed creations that have become an irreversible part of our everyday lives. But how often do we delve into the magic of curiosity and ask ourselves: “How was this invented?”
Had we owned a time machine, we could’ve easily travelled back to 1983 when Chuck Harris invented the first 3D printing process stereolithography - liquid plastic is converted into solid objects by a machine called stereolithography apparatus (SLA). Nonetheless, it didn’t take Chuck too long to realize his technique is not limited to only liquids but ‘any material capable of solidification or capable of altering its physical state’. Since then 3D printing has assuredly come a long way. Therefore we’ve gathered some of the most peculiar and fascinating 3D printed creations that will hopefully evoke your interest:
Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa
Screenwriter and director Charlie Kaufman has a thing for puppetry and inspired the 2015 stop-motion animation film Anomalisa. It all started as a radio stage playback in 2005, but alongside Duke Johnson, Kaufman wanted to develop the plot into a dazzling animatic experience. What makes this project special is its overall cinematic technique - we see puppets created with the usage of 3D printers that are physically manipulated, so it appears they move on their own.
Anomalisa follows the lonely businessman Michael (voiced by David Thewlis) who perceives everyone as identical until he meets a unique young woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a Cincinnati hotel. Michael has the Fregoli delusion (or the delusion of doubles) - a rare disease in which a person believes that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance.
Digital Grotesque: Printing Architecture
Back in 2013, the post-modern architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger based in Switzerland designed a 3D printed room which is the first life-sized construction entirely created out of sandstone. Digital Grotesque consists of two-full scale 3D printed grottos (the literal meaning of the word grotto is “a natural or artificial cave”).
Grotto I is a commission by FRAC Centre (a contemporary art museum in the Centre-Val de Loire region in Orléans, France). Its printing took a month, and the design development took a year. Grotto II is a commission by Centre Pompidou (a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris). Its printing also took a month, but the design development lasted for about two years.
The 3D Printed Sculpture Of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”
The artistic duo Rob and Nick Carter have been collaborating for over 20 years, and their work varies from pixelated paintings and composite portraits to 3D printed sculptures. As a result of their admiration for the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, Rob and Nick decided to recreate his famous painting “Sunflowers”.
The Carters managed to bring tangible vividness to the sculpture, and their representation of Van Gogh’s flora is detailed in depth. The replica was initially turned into a set of three-dimensional files which were subsequently printed into wax bronze. The piece was included in the 2013 exhibition “Rob and Nick Carter: Transforming”.