There is little more rewarding then giving a loved one something that you have made especially for them. The value of the item far exceeds the sum of it's parts, as the act of making embeds meaning into the object far beyond a mass produced item, or a unique item you may have chosen from as artist or craftsperson. Your participation in the item adds a level of depth to the story and meaning behind the gift, that simply cannot been bought. The item becomes priceless, not in a Mastercard advertisement kind of way, but the item is embedded with genuine meaning.
Designing a gift using on demand 3D printing with Shapeways may not mean you are hand forging every atom in the item, but the thought and emotion behind your design, the time spent 3D modeling (if you can), along with any post production you do increases the social value of your gift.
There are many beautiful stories in the Shapeways forums of people 3D printing gifts for loved ones. One of the most recent stories to capture our hearts at Shapeways is an age old story:
Boy meets girl
Boy falls in love with girl
Girl mentions she loves a pendant that is no longer for sale (the impossible mission is set)
Boy becomes the hero, locks his mission into his sights and decides he must design, 3D print and assemble the pendant to give to her (in 2012 the hero fabricates the Holy Grail)
Not knowing how to 3D model so well he enlists the help of a designer from the Shapeways forums (cutting the Gordian Knot with a little help from 3D superstar Kevin Wei)
Shapeways 3D prints the design in Sterling Silver and sends it to our hero's door where he then has a crash course in setting jewels as he glues 150 Swarovski Crystals into the pendant
Once complete he packages up the pendant and sends it across the ocean, nervously anticipating how she will receive the gift he has invested with so much time and energy.
Oh well, right now it's being transported...
so I don't know yet whether she likes it. But honestly, when I send it
off... it felt like I was sending a piece of myself... the amount of
work and dedication that goes into making this... really made it the
most special gift I have ever given somebody.
Chopper automatically partitions a given 3D model into parts that are small enough to be 3D printed and assembled into the original model.
A recent paper by Linjie Luo, Ilya Baran, Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Wojciech Matusik of Princeton University presented at SIGGRAPH outlined software designed to partition large 3D models into smaller 3D printable ones. Check out the video of the 3D printed parts being assembled, fairly seamless.
3D printing technology is rapidly maturing and becoming ubiquitous. One of the remaining obstacles to wide-scale adoption is that the object to be printed must fit into the working volume of the 3D printer. We propose a framework, called Chopper, to decompose a large 3D object into smaller parts so that each part fits into the printing volume. These parts can then be assembled to form the original object. We formulate a number of desirable criteria for the partition, including assemblability, having few components, unobtrusiveness of the seams, and structural soundness. Chopper optimizes these criteria and generates a partition either automatically or with user guidance. Our prototype outputs the final decomposed parts with customized connectors on the interfaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Chopper on a variety of non-trivial real-world objects.
This is a great step forward for desktop 3D printers that sometimes have a relatively small build area. We do not see too many projects that are too large to be printed in Shapeways 3D printers other than the occasional architectural model.
Would you use this tool if it were made available?
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Isaie Bloch, an incredible artist who uses the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing to inform his designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I'm a Belgian architect and CG artist under the name of Eragatory. After receiving my first master degree in architecture, I joined the postgraduate program Excessive in 2010 lead by Hernan Diaz Alonso, at dieAngewandte, Vienna, Austria. My ongoing research and design ambitions are focused on the correlation between craftsmanship and additive manufacturing within several creative domains including Architecture, Fashion and Plastic arts and the digital methodologies blending in between them. I have been working as an artist in the field of hyperrealism exhibiting in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Dubai and the USA, creating a range of art-pieces reaching from small prints, to 3D printed sculptures and huge hand manufactured installations. I have also been working together with designer Iris van Herpen on several sculptural dresses which have been shown on the catwalks at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Berlin and the Paris Haute Couture Show.
What's the story behind your designs?
I generally seek to design pieces dedicated to the geometrical capacities of 3D printing. In my opinion it does not make sense to use 3D printing for the production of regular objects unless they are intended to be prototypes. Just like all production methods all of them have specific characteristics 3D printing offers the incredible advantage of being able to produce almost any type of intricate geometry. And that specifically is the characteristic that I want to project in my work as much as possible. Highly ornamental, specific geometrical conditions and subverted aesthetics are elements which will always be found in my work. The Floralia vases are a design that balances on the edge in-between functionality, digital aesthetics, mass customization and object-oriented eclecticism. In contrast to contemporary thought and design, which views things as the aggregation or assembly of smaller bits and parts, in Object Oriented Design new objects emerge out of an ecology of interaction of multiple and heterogeneous objects. Through a process of formation or computation, highly differentiated, contradictory concepts and structures can become one object, without resulting in an incongruous collage.
Pink Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
For me personally Shapeways offers the ideal balance in between a very good online service (which is really hard to find) quality, price, materials and production time. Being able to get a direct quote and first checkup of your 3D model instantly is very useful. It speeds up your design process a lot, since you don' need to wait for several days in order to know if you should make this or that differently according to your estimated price. The whole website is so clear and easy to use, the web shops are pretty good looking and not complicated in any way.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
As an architecture student I was confronted with the possible use of 3D tools. We were not forced to use any of them but it was very clear for me that these tools were going to be a great help according to my own aesthetic and geometrical preferences. So I started to instruct myself using a lot of tips and tricks that I found on the internet. Because of my attraction to ornamental overload and high resolution geometries I acquainted myself to the types of softwares which would not be directly related to architecture like 3DS Max, Z brush and Meshlab.
How do you promote your work?
I try to get as much exposure as possible by publishing my work on design and 3D printing related blogs and magazines. I organize workshops once in a while and during those I lecture about my work as well. All my work is published on my Eragatory blog as well.
Green Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
My interest is pretty wide according to artists I follow. Differing in physical or digital disciplines and status, some are very known and could be on the edge of being commercial and others might just be students or unknown artist with a very good oeuvre. But all of them have a touch of absurdness, eccentric material usage, high resolution intricacy and would preferably have a high level of tolerance for mistakes. Abhominal, Barry x ball, Henrique Oliveira, Jan Manski, Jerry Judah, Mrmann, Katsuyo Aoki, Lebbeus Woods, Michael Hansemeyer, Juliaan Lampens, Wolfgang Tschapeller, Stephan Balleux, Mack Scogin Merril Elam Architects would be a good representation of what I seek for in the creative industry.
Anything else you want to share?
I can not stipulate it enough, despite all the magical 3D tools on the market it is still very important to have a design intent at the beginning. I use these tools as a new set of crayons impowering me to form my ideas not as a series of digital trics generating random geometry. It happens way too often that people get mislead by automated fuctions in 3D software, generally resulting in mainstream/predictible/d?j? vu results. We should be subverting the logic of perfection: what used to be about mastering the perfect result of non-perfect processes should now be about the production of misfit and the grotesque through perfected processes.
That's some incredible advice for budding 3D designers, thank you Isaie! You can see more of his work on his Shapeways Shop or his blog.