‘The Brave New World of 3D Printing’

‘The Brave New World of 3D Printing’ was a seminar illustrating the implications 3D printing has on the crafts sector. The aim of the seminar was to introduce the concept of Do-It-Yourself making through 3D printing. This is a very relevant theme for meSch, as meSch aims to enable curators to create smart objects through Do-It-Yourself technology. Smart objects are 3D printed objects modelled to real life museum artefacts, each with their own stories embedded therein. The topics discussed during the seminar also highlighted other key questions related to the meSch project: what 3D printing systems are available to create physical artefacts, and what factors should be considered when choosing a system? Furthermore, what effect will 3D printing have on the industry of hand crafted artefacts? The seminar was led by professional model maker Paul Harrison on the 30th April between 10:30am and 1:30pm and was attended by meSch partners Fiona McDermott and Laura Maye.

Choosing a system for printing 3D artefacts

To open the seminar, Paul provided an overview of the different systems used for 3D printing; he demonstrated that each of the different systems provide different results. For example, some systems can use multiple materials for printing, while others can only accept one kind of material. Furthermore, some systems can produce detailed, refined models while other systems cannot produce high-resolution models. Paul highlighted that the type of 3D system used would be dependent on many factors, such as: how many materials need to be used; what kinds of material need to be used; what level of detail the final artefact should have; and the budget available.

Creating complex patterns may be easier through 3D printing

Paul discussed how the process of modelling for 3D printing has allowed for the development of complex shapes and patterns in artefacts. Through handcraft, it would potentially take a great deal of time to create a complex artefact like that shown in figure 1. Bathsheba Grossman created this artefact; she modelled her design on the computer and printed it. Several replicas can be made of her artwork; through 3D printing, it is simple to create copies of complex models.

A complex 3D printed artefact designed by Bathsheba Grossman

A complex 3D printed artefact designed by Bathsheba Grossman

Will 3D printing have an effect on the handmade crafting of objects?

Following the seminar, there was a mixed response from the audience regarding 3D printing in craft. A common response was the fear that 3D printing will eventually take over handmade craft. To summarize, many audience members felt that 3D printing could offer things that hand crafted artefacts could not, such as: the ability to replicate objects quickly; the ability to send artefacts easily to other locations around the world; and the ability to mass produce on a personal level at a lower cost. However, hand crafted objects have qualities that 3D printed artefacts cannot provide as well; for example, many artists have their own technique in crafting their personal artefacts.

Overall, the seminar was very insightful and highlighted some key concerns when crafting artefacts through 3D printing. These insights will be taken into account in the meSch project.

More on this seminar

To find out more, visit the advertised event page: http://designerdublin.ie/events/seminar-brave-new-world-of-3d-printing/

The Crafts Council of Ireland aims to host future workshops to encourage people in the craft industry to learn how to make artefacts using 3D printing. Keep an eye on the website of the Crafts Council of Ireland for

more information: http://www.ccoi.ie/.