# Category Archives: Art

## When 3D Printing Opens Up New Ways of Seeing

Henry Segerman’s new book Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing provides non-mathematicians with exciting new ways to understand complex mathematical shapes. Segerman’s easy-to-follow book and companion website show how we can use 3D prints to gain a tactile awareness of these objects and use our full stereoscopic vision to understand them better than we ever have. In this excerpt from the chapter on symmetry, Segerman explains what we learn when we look at Bathsheba Grossman’s beautiful and symmetric sculpture “Soliton” from dozens of angles — the only way to sufficiently capture the complexity (and artistry) of the form.

The picture above shows two photographs of Soliton, a sculpture by mathematical artist Bathsheba Grossman.

This is a difficult object to comprehend from a couple of photographs. Sinuous curves twist around each other in a complicated, but obviously symmetrical way. Rotation by half a turn is a symmetry for each of these views. But it isn’t so easy to see how these two views are related to each other, or even that they are photographs of the same object. With a few more viewpoints of the same sculpture however, we can see how they are connected. See the picture below. The first view shown in the picture above is at the far right, and the second is at both the top and the bottom.

25 unique views of “Soliton”

Let’s think of the sculpture sitting at the center of a sphere of possible directions to take a photograph from. We get a panel of possible views: a quarter of the entire sphere, like the panel of a four-panel beach ball. The picture below shows camera positions evenly spaced out over one of these panels  photographs from these positions make up the array of images above.

An illustration of the camera’s positions

Some of the photographs around the edges are repeats: they show the same view as each other. The pair of photographs above and below the rightmost photograph in the figure are the same as each other, as are the pair two above and two below, and so on. In fact the whole boundary edge from the rightmost point to the top is the same as the edge from the rightmost point to the bottom. The same is true of the two edges above and below the leftmost edge. This tells us how to cover the rest of the sphere of possible photographs: we can do this with a total of four copies of the panel, tiling the sphere so that the photographs we see along the edges match up.

—–

The rest of this chapter goes on to investigate and catalogue the other ways in which things can be symmetrical, and show more beautiful symmetric sculptures by various artists.

In case you were wondering, I took the grid of photographs using a rig that allows me to (relatively) precisely control the angle that the camera sees the cube from. Then there was some surprisingly tricky math and programming to generate the array of photographs!

The camera rig Segerman devised

For more, pick up a copy of Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing. All of the models discussed in the book are available on Shapeways, many from Segerman’s shop, with the rest linked to from the book’s companion site. We’re in awe of the work that mathematicians and designers like Henry are contributing to the Shapeways community — and how that work is advancing our understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts. Are you working on a project you’d like us to share on the blog? Make sure to get in touch, whether in the comments below or at community@shapeways.com.

## A Visionary Artist Takes on the Smart Home

This year’s Amsterdam Light Festival is putting Dutch artist and Shapeways designer Anouk Wipprecht’s designs in the spotlight. Her Living Pods exhibit asks us to rethink the smart home as something more than purely functional, with interactive clothing and flower-inspired pods that welcome visitors “home” by reacting to their presence.

Wipprecht is already well-established in the Fashion-Tech world, and her current exhibit expands on past work around reactive and wearable tech. The Pods are part of The Art of Motion, the artist’s ongoing collaboration with connected home company Somfy, Michael Sagan of Autodesk’s Fusion 360 team, and LA-based concept designer Igor Knezevic. The project envisions a time when all the objects in our homes become sensory and smart. While Wipprecht’s fashions focus on interaction with (and mediation between) the human body and the outside world, the Pods aim to bring humanity and soul to home electronics.

Visitors to the Amsterdam Light Festival take in Wipprecht’s work

To articulate the concept, she created an one-piece hanging mechanical gripper structure with hooks that allowed 3D printed leaves to be connected. The gripper mechanism was created in Fusion 360 by the designer during her residency at Pier 9 — Autodesk’s maker-workshop in San Francisco. The Pier 9 Artists in Residence program allows artists, makers, and fabricators to work with high-end tools and machinery in Autodesk’s digital fabrication workshop, bringing dream projects to life. The final pieces were printed at Shapeways, each in a single piece, using SLS for strength and rigidity. The Pods light up, and a linear motor moves their petals in response to a sensor, emulating a living flower’s reaction to the sun.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam this week, check out Anouk’s exhibit at the Amsterdam Light Festival, now through January 8, and let us know in the comments what smart home tech you’d like to see in the future.

Living Pods designs for Somfy in Fusion 360, printed at Shapeways

Bonus: Check out the video below to go behind the scenes of the Living Pods’ creation. Behind The Scenes // LIVING PODS [Mechanic Flower lamps in Fusion360] from Anouk Wipprecht on Vimeo.

## These Gifts Are Unlike Anything They’ve Seen

By day, Joaquin Baldwin works in feature film animation. In his spare time, he creates an incredible array of inspired 3D printed objects. With the holidays just days away, his designs are ideal last-minute gifts for those hard-to-shop-for friends who seem to have everything.

Bulbophyllum Gracilis Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

From the witty to the wondrous, Joaquin’s pieces draw upon unusual sources, resulting in beautiful, unprecedented works of art. “I find a lot of inspiration in mathematical and biological shapes. I try to blend the two for a lot of my work. I usually start with a simple compound concept idea (say, origami + skeleton, or mobius + bacon) and go from there,” he told us.

Mobius Maximus by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

His explorations have included riffs on caffeine molecules, the skeletons of insects, the shape of orchids, and a stunning variety of mathematical objects.

Origami Crane Skeleton by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Joaquin’s work is the result of personal creative explorations. His process begins with “a few mockups in Maya, and if I like the concept after that point, I create a final model.” He told us that his goal is “simply to make things I want for myself, and to challenge myself, and if the audience shows interest as well, to put in on my shop so I can have a self-sustaining hobby.”

Radiolaria Geodesica Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Discover more of Joaquin’s work in his Shapeways Shop. If you order soon, one of his fantastical works of art can make it to you in time for Hanukkah and Christmas. You can view all of our materials ordering deadlines here, and make sure to explore our full Holiday Gift Guide for a last-minute dose of gifting inspiration.

## Hacking Arts Conference 2016

Last week, Shapeways sponsored the Hacking Arts Conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hosted by the MIT Media Lab, the three-day conference brings together students and professionals from technology and the arts to discuss interdisciplinary creativity.

Shapeways’ Community team was there to greet panel goers and give them a chance to get their hands on some of the 3D printed materials and products available in the marketplace.

The conference also included a hackathon and some amazing performances. Below is a moment from audio/visual artists the Holladay Brothers during the opening ceremonies.

A video posted by Andrew Thomas (@andrew.s.thomas) on

The Hacking Arts Conference was also a great opportunity to see old friends. Artist and Shapeways Shop Owner Bathsheba Grossman came by to play with some of her math-inspired Klein Bottle openers, printed in a variety of materials.

We had a great time talking to hackers, artists, and lifelong learners at the Hacking Arts Conference. Are you a student combining design and technology? You can sign up for our education program here.

## The Surprising Menorah That Remixes Tradition

While exploring the beautiful Judaica in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, I was struck by the modernist geometric menorahs, yarmulkes, and kippahs in Craig Kaplan’s Mathematical Art Shapeways shop. Hanukkah is often associated with traditional Judaica, but Kaplan takes it to a new place altogether.

Craig Kaplan’s Framework Menorah

When I asked Craig about the inspiration behind his modernist menorahs, he echoed what many of our designers have shared: that their designs are as much about experimenting with new forms as they are about bringing a vision to life. “I love menorahs as designed objects. It’s an interesting space in which to explore, because there are many beautiful and unusual forms that can fulfill the basic functional needs of a menorah. Of course, I also turned to these objects because I have a certain nostalgia for them from my childhood,” he shared.

Kaplan’s Yarmulke One

Fusing ritual objects, graphical exploration (Craig is a computer science professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada), and the warmth of the holiday, Craig Kaplan’s Mathematical Art can help you celebrate The Festival of Lights in a way that fits your family’s unique tastes and traditions.

For more holiday décor and inspiration, be sure to visit our Holiday Gift Guide. And, in the comments, let us know how your family puts their own spin on Hanukkah.

## Shaping Dutch Design: Eva Poulopoulou

In celebration of Dutch Design Week 2016, our Shaping Dutch Design series will take a closer look at a few of the dozens of Dutch designers who are part of the Shapeways EXPO this year and, of course, our global maker community all year round. Make sure to visit us in person if you’re in Eindhoven this week, and follow us here, on InstagramTwitter, and on Facebook for live updates from #DDW16.

Architect Eva Poulopoulou, the designer behind PULU, began her career in digital arts and 3D animation. With a background that includes building both real-life structures and virtual worlds, it only makes sense that her designs display the influence of digital design on functional objects.

The best expression of her design ethos may be her striking Pineapple Lamp, a hit at this year’s Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week. Digital modeling allows her to create a shape that appears delicate, almost paper-like — but has surprising strength. Tiny cutout petals, evoking a pineapple’s skin, rise from the surface of the lampshade, casting an intricate pattern of light.

PULU designs at Dutch Design Week’s Shapeways EXPO

Other PULU pieces that borrow from natural forms include the Urchin Bracelet and Pendant. These pieces manage to be at once soft and spiky, like the sea creatures that inspired them.

Stop by Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week to see Poulopoulou’s designs, or visit her Shapeways shop any time. And make sure to follow PULU to keep up to speed on the future fruits of her creativity.

## Shaping Dutch Design: MathArt Koos Verhoeff

In celebration of Dutch Design Week 2016, our Shaping Dutch Design series will take a closer look at a few of the dozens of Dutch designers who are part of the Shapeways EXPO this year and, of course, our global maker community all year round. Make sure to visit us in person if you’re in Eindhoven this week, and follow us here, on InstagramTwitter, and on Facebook for live updates from #DDW16.

Mathematician Jacobus “Koos” Verhoeff of MathArt Koos Verhoeff may be best known for his work in coding theory, but he’s also a prolific artist, creating gorgeous sculptures based on mathematical concepts. Luckily for us, Koos, along the Foundation MathArt Koos Verhoeff, has chosen to make models of his pieces available on Shapeways. Pieces like his Mobius Clover  and Trefoil Knot inside Equilateral Triangle make for beautiful jewelry, while a model of his Bi-colored Torus Path is a museum-worthy work of art — perfect for anyone who loves geometric design.

You can take a look at Koos Verhoeff’s pieces in person this week at Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week, and visit his Shapeways shop any time to customize your own work of mathematical art. Don’t miss the chance to own a piece by a great living artist who’s found a beautiful way to work at the intersection of science and art.

With the holidays quickly approaching, we’re excited to be positioning Shapeways as the go-to for unique, customizable gifts– and our designers are crucial to growing that marketplace. We’ve identified some of the hottest tech hobbyist trends of this year to inspire our makers to stretch their imaginations and consider creating accessories for each, making them on-demand stocking stuffers.

Raspberry Pi: With this little computer giving you a lot of power to program and create, what better companion for it than 3D printed accessories? We’d suggest our designers tap into Shapeways customizable product feature to create Raspberry Pi cases or stands– because while it’s what’s on the inside that matters, it doesn’t hurt to have a neat exterior for your favorite gadget.

Raspberry Pi Apple III case by RetroConnector

iPhone 7: With Apple’s latest release being on (most) people’s wishlists and being significantly different than previous models, it’s a great opportunity to tap into creative cases and accessories.

The Vibe iPhone Case by Cacai

GoPro Hero 5 (Black and Session): GoPro’s latest cameras come in two sizes, meaning double the accessory options! Because both work on voice-command, there should be some fun potential for newly designed cases and accessories. We also hear that while the Hero 4 Black is waterproof, it won’t float so some aquatic accessories could be useful.

Boonie Hat Mount for GoPro Cameras by BrainExploder Creations

Apple Watch Series 2: The new Apple Watch model is about the same size and shape as its predecessor but slightly thicker. We’ve been seeing some great watch docks and charging stations, and there’s limitless room for variations.

Apple Watch Metal Bumper by Amznfx

Remember, one of the most important parts of leveraging the products you create is showing vs. telling shoppers what your product does. Quality photos tell a thousand (or more) words and super nifty videos are even better.

Shop More Gadget and Tech Trends Here!

## 3D Print to Desert Chariot: The Story of The Stag Head

Posted by in Art

Community member Vijay Paul tells his story of evolving his popular home-decor 3D print into a mobilized work of art, exhibited at what may be considered the worlds largest art gallery: Burning Man.

At the close of every summer, thousands of people head to the desert carting along with them works of art that are so complex and unique they are often only comparable to a sci-fi universe. Second only to the fascinating works themselves, are the stories of how they got there.

Vijay Paul, long time Shapeways community member and shop owner of Dot San, has always pushed the limits of possibility. In 2012 he designed the first wire-frame stag head, an item so delicate and intricate it challenged the limits of our distribution center, resulting in enhanced capabilities for Shapeways and a beautiful 3D print for Vijay (unboxing video here).

No one could have predicted that what started in a 3D printer in 2012 would have landed itself hyper-enlarged and on a set of wheels carting over 100 people across a desert.

Vijay Paul’s 3D Printed Stag Head as a Wall hanging

The evolved Stag Head as an art cart for Maxa Camp, cousin of popular Burning Man camp Mayan Warrior

Vijay, how did you get started on this project?

“The Mayan warrior organizers, were looking for a style for the Maxa camp and luckily found my designs. They asked my permission to use it and adapt it for the cart and create pendants. I was lucky to be invited to this years festival and meet the Maxa team and experience Burning Man for myself and how everything worked and how people engaged with it.

The response from other burners was amazing it definitely stood out from the other carts. The team had installed a DJ booth, with sound system, lounge areas and the whole cart was lit up with multi colored light sequence.

Can you tell us more about “Maxa” and what your hopes are for the future of the Stag head Vehicle?

The Maxa Camp are the cousins of Mayan Warrior. The Mayan has been going for 8 years and is one of the best and most iconic sound/art carts at the Burning Man. This year was the first time for the Maxa Camp and the deer (Kauyumari) art cart. The talk is to continually develop the cart and camp over the years to become an iconic part of Burning Man festival.

Of course I have to ask, did you bring any 3D prints of your stag head to the event?

I was asked to create pendants that were gifted to burners and given out to camp members as recognition for their work. This was a huge order, over 1200 units in multi-colored polished plastics and a range of metals. Shapeways did a fantastic job in creating these in a short time frame.

3D Printed Pendants

The stag/deer head, has become iconic because of the designs versatility from 1:12 scale version for miniature houses to 2D stickers and now, a 9 meter high art cart. Having a shop on Shapeways which requires regular gallery updates, constant promotion and designs that tell a story that capture the imagination definitely helped my designs to be discovered, this experience is the lucky break people talk about.”

If you want to bring home the experience of Burning Man, be sure to check out Vijay’s shop here on Shapeways. You’ll be able to find the stag head in as many sizes as you can imagine, as well as a ton of other animals he’s transformed into wireframe beauties.

## Hacking Your Home With 3D Printing

Why should your house look the same as the one next door? Home is where the heart is, right? And creativity comes from the heart. So a home that breathes your creativity is what makes it your home.

With 3D Printing, it becomes easier than ever to hack existing items you have in your house to create a dynamic space, a place that changes, grows and is really you. Last week we got an email from Evan Gant, who has his own shop on Shapeways called Olivebird and created a range of products that show how easy it becomes to manipulate your own environment.

Take these brilliant small components called “Links” that you can attach to your wall and create a whole new dimension for using building blocks. While it provides a fun way for your kid to decorate the wall their bedrooms (obviously preferred above using crayons on the wall), you can also create fun looking and yet functional storage spaces with these Links.

What never fails to liven up your home is.. Life! With this clever Bell Vase hack you can reuse the jars from your favorite food by simply adding a 3D printed lid to transform them into vases. Designer izign believes in sustainable design, so I’m curious to see what other life extending hacks he comes up with.

With summer drawing near, I can imagine you’re ready to start using your ceiling fan any time soon. But don’t you just hate the moment pulling on the wrong cord and having the light go on in stead? Noé and Pedro Ruiz (design duo Pixil 3D) decided they needed a simple solution, which resulted in the Typography Fan Pull Handles.

Last example I want to give really turned the world of Home Deco upside down. This Radiolaria Vertebralia Planter is a cool design by Joaquin Baldwin that shows plants from a whole new dimension in your home.

Need even more cool ideas to hack your house with 3D Printing? Browse this list of products and get inspired!

## Behind the Product with Corinne Whitaker

Today we are showcasing, Corinne Whitaker, a pioneer in the digital arts. Whitaker got her start in the digital arts in the early 80’s processing irrational equations through various programs to see what forms would appear. After more than 3 decades, her work has grown to include massive 3D printed sculptures, catalogs of digital designs, and paintings. Whitaker has exhibited her work at galleries and museums around the world.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am based in Foster City, CA., in the heart of Silicon Valley, at the
epicenter of the “Can Do” ethos, surrounded by innovation and optimism. I
started working/playing with computers in 1981, when I became fascinated
with the patterns and colors they offered, realizing that they could see
millions more colors than the human eye. I was also intrigued by the idea
that I was entering unknown territory, where few had ventured before me.
There were lots of questions, few answers, and no rules (my kind of
place). That’s why my recent solo show at the Peninsula Museum of Art in
Burlingame, CA was titled “NoRules”! This meant that I didn’t have the
ghosts of Ansel Adams on one shoulder and of Picasso on the other. It was
both exhilarating and scary.

Where does your experience in 3D modeling originate?

Initially there were almost no art programs, let alone 3D, so I began by
entering irrational equations into science programs to see what would
happen. I love accidents, and I still work that way. At the start, desktop
in 3D was more than challenging. (ie, 48 hours of down time, ending in a
frozen screen and no image!). Eventually I worked with a Canadian company
(Alias Sketch) whose software offered organic possibilities combined with
excellent customer support; unfortunately they were bought out and
discontinued.

What is your preference in modeling software and why?

Computers at that time were essentially edge-based and geometric, whereas
I have always been drawn to the organic. This continues to influence my
choice of programs today.

My designs are influenced by my conviction that the human species is due to expire, either by self-destruction, exhaustion of natural resources, or cosmic intervention (are we the dinosaurs, after all?) so I create as though I were out in the cosmos somewhere, free of gravity, and speculating on what the next creatures might look like.I am also convinced that a new visual language is necessary to reflect the change in viewpoint that NASA gave to us with its explorations in space. Basically they freed us from Renaissance perspective and introduced a cosmically-based view of living matter. The next group of creatures will almost certainly be based on something other than carbon: what happens if they view us with dismay, if they do not want to acknowledge us as their forebears, if they cannot even figure out what humans were used for? Being unseen in history is a terrifying thought (although one familiar to women artists, but that’s another story).

What was your first interaction with 3D printing & Shapeways?

Shapeways has played a large role in my success. It is a leader and
ground-breaker in the industry, enabling me to experiment with life-sized
3D printed figures where other were afraid to try. Its professionalism is
admirable and its customer service a joy. 3D printing allows me to bring
to life the swirl of designs that populate my visual realm. As an industry
it will definitely revolutionize many fields of endeavor.

My thought process is one of letting go and traveling through ideas. It
involves the challenge of putting your ego aside and letting yourself go
crazy to some degree. As artists we have the luxury of knowing that
although we share the wild territory of the insane, we have a round-trip
ticket back to what is commonly called sanity. I like to say that we are
willing to touch the thorn barehanded in order to know the rose.

At the moment, the biggest difficulty in creating 3D printed sculpture
remains the software. It presents a steep uphill learning curve.
Familiarity with standard 2D software does not translate easily into 3D,
and each 3D program tends to have its own vocabulary. Eventually we will
do away with the software entirely.

But if you love challenge, if you love exploring the new and unfamiliar,
if you love experimenting and want to taste tomorrow, this is the place to
be!

For more with Whitaker:

You can find all of Whitaker’s work on her website, www.giraffe.com

Current Exhibitions:

On view at Vargas Gallery, Mission College 3000 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054 December 1st – December 19th

“Virtually Solid: Digital Fabrication as Sculpture” at Wilson Center of the Arts, Florida State College 11901 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL January 2016

On view at Paul Mahder Gallery 222 Healdsburg Avenue Healdsburg, CA 95448 (http://www.paulmahdergallery.com/artists/whitaker/corinne_whitaker.htm)

Publications:

Four catalogs of CAD models and poetry, all titled “If We Are Erased”

www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=corinne+whitaker         www.giraffe.com/gr_catalogs.html

“It’s like putting a microscope inside my brain to illuminate the origins of my new species.”

## Collectible Frank Stella 3D Printed Ornaments

Posted by in Art, Partner News

This week we’re highlighting some of our favorite home and holiday decor items. Whether you are looking to spruce up your own home for the holidays, or need some new gift ideas our gift guide has you covered.

In addition to the products in our marketplace, there are other places you can find incredible 3D printed pieces and today we’re excited to tell you about one project we’ve had a hand in.

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s  ”Frank Stella: A Retrospective” is now open and runs until February 7th. The exhibit features the most comprehensive presentation of Stella’s career to date, and showcases his work from the 1950s to present day. Paintings, reliefs, sculptures and more will all be on display in the 18,000 square foot gallery.

So what do we have to do with this? The Whitney Museum is now selling collectible ornaments based on Stella’s work that are all 3D printed by Shapeways!

The items are all printed in our Strong & Flexible Plastic and allow those who love Stella’s work the opportunity to own one of his designs. You can pick just one or even buy the full set of 7.

It’s always incredible to see these projects where 3D printing is used to honor amazing art. We’re thrilled to be a part of this history and help people own the art they love.

## Incredible Artwork at SIGGRAPH by Shapeways Designer Brian Chan

The annual SIGGRAPH exhibition brings together the best minds in 3D graphics and design for a week of sharing acacemic papers, emerging technology and remarkable creative ideas. This year’s art exhibition, Hybrid Craft presented artists who merge high tech and traditional processes to create vibrant art objects that speak both to history and technology.

Shapeways designer Brian Chan was included in the group show, presenting a collection of hand painted invertebrates. Fully articulated and highly detailed, these 3D printed creatures are created in the ’jizai okimono’ Japanese tradition of making lifelike sculptures of small animals.

While beautiful in their own right when freshly printed in White Strong and Flexible, Chan then carefully hand paints each model with water color paints. Chan notes the laser sintered nylon has similar qualities to fine textured water color paper and soaks up the paint well, allowing for multiple layers of pigment with delicate precision.

The show also included examples of Chan’s foldable instruments, created from a variety of materials and using parts printed at Shapeways and CNC milled components. These fully working instruments are based on historically accurate designs, but are more than meets the eye because they can be deconstructed and turned into a box like a Transformer.

As the art exhibition was curated to investigate, Brian Chan’s work combines high tech (but accessible) technology and old fashion craft to achieve incredible results. As a dedicated tinkerer and teacher, Chan constantly pushes the boundaries of technology and creativity while paying tribute to traditional or forgotten crafts.

## C0DE DENS1TY

### Ashley Zelinskie’s world where things made of code are made of things are made with code….

C0DE DENS1TY is a collaborative, multi-media show presented by Lightbox, a gallery Space in New York City from July 23- 26. The show highlights work by Shapeways community member Ashley Zelinskie. Zelinskie creates sculpture which are made of numbers drawn from the code of the design file itself. Her work explores the process by which the objects are transformed from numerical data into physical objects through digital fabrication. The code that defines and creates the object becomes part of its physical manifestation…

…its a pretty mind-blowing concept.

The show itself is an immersive experience bringing viewers into the brackish waters of technology and art. Sparse, geometric objects ranging from monumental to palm sized are displayed throughout the space while nearly every inch of wall is used for a projected video that loops geometric imagery as it builds to a frantic pace and glitches out into nothingness. On the second story loft area a small 3d printer farm reproduces out miniatures of the work.

Faces made of 3D printed plastic are part of the show’s vocabulary as well. An interactive piece has several white masks displayed with light projected onto them. Visitors are encouraged to touch the masks, doing so causes the projection to animate boxes emitting out as if from underneath them.

On of the most interesting pieces is also the most personal. A 3D printed portrait of Zelinskie created with 3D scanning, the surface is constructed from a portion of her own DNA.

Zelinskie’s futurist universe invites the viewer to both question how the objects are made and what the implicates are of a world where data and matter can become interchangeable. Far from a dry series of formulas simplified beyond human comprehension, the vision of the Singularity posited by C0de Dens1ty is like stepping into a thunderstorm of information.

Photos: by Ashley Zelinskie.

## Behind the Product: Glass Vase Mold

Today we’re showcasing Tim Belliveau, a glassblower, digital artist, illustrator, teacher, and business owner. Tim’s creativity and capacity to bring together 3D printing and glassblowing has proven to be a success and this can be seen in his newest work of 3D printed steel molds used to create hand blown glass vases.  We asked him a few questions about the story behind his work, the creation process, and what he sees for the future.

Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Tim Belliveau, my current home is Montreal.

What is the inspiration and story behind your designs?

Well, the glass piece is a graduate research project in material research from Hexagram at Concordia so I’ll try not to be too wordy. About 2,000 years ago, Roman glassblowers started figuring out how to blow glass into molds and we still use a lot of the same techniques in glass today. I’ve been a glassblower for about 10 years and have been trying to figure out a way to form hot glass with 3D printing and I thought of making molds like the Roman ones. I went to see an exhibition on ancient Roman glass at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York this spring. That exhibit really highlighted the technology of the first century and how the glass is a record of the innovations at the time. I wanted to do something like that with the technologies of today and have tool marks from the mold on the glass too. You can even kind of see the deposition layers on the glass from the 3D printed bronze if you’re nerdy enough to look for them. Since my vase was born from a computer basically, I thought it made sense to have it faceted and kind of low-res-looking but about the same scale as the old Roman ones.

What was the process you used to create your final pieces?

I made the mold in 3D software and tried to get it as thin as possible. I sent that file to Shapeways to be 3D-printed in bronze. Once I got the mold in the mail, I hired another glass artist, Armel Desrues to assist me at Espace Verre studio in Montréal; he held the mold in place while I would gather hot glass, make a small bubble and then inflate it in the mold. The whole process is pretty finicky; I broke a bunch of glass trying to get it right, but eventually it started working and we finished a small batch of glass pieces. Most glasswork requires assistance and teamwork so its great to have that in the studio since 3D modeling can be so solitary.

Was it necessary to post process your mold before use?

I didn’t have to do anything else to the mold which is great because I’m trying to keep this practice minimal by doing it all from my laptop. There’s something surreal about getting a 3D printed glass mold in the mail and then just walking down the street to make glass pieces from it.

Are others in the glass community using 3D printing?

There are lots of interesting projects popping up in the glass community and some that have been around for a while. I’m going to assist with a class led by Fred Metz and team at the Pilchuck Glass School this summer; its focused on interactions between 3D printing and glass. Sometimes 3D printed positives in plastic/wax are used to make a negative mold that fills with glass later in a kiln but there are lots of techniques.

How are molds for glass blowing typically created? Was 3d printing beneficial to this process?

For this kind of glass blow-mold the ancient way to do it is to make it by hand out of clay/ ceramic. The industrial revolution way was to cast metals (usually very thick) into molds. You can also use carved wood that has been soaked in water for a few days but those degrade faster and don’t have great detail, same with plaster molds- they’ll give you a few good glass pieces but nothing like the consistency of a metal mold. What impressed me with this process was how I could do everything from my laptop and the mailed pieces were ready to use. Its still very strange to me when I finally get to hold a 3D print that I sculpted but never touched until its done. I also have a lot of control over mold thickness and detail so I was able to get away with using very little material for this mold.

Looking back on modeling your mold and creating your glass-blown vase, what were some integral steps?

You have to be careful about having undercuts as with any mold-then it just gets stuck and won’t open when the glass goes in. Obviously you have to know the 3D software pretty well to do this kind of thing too. in the glass shop, a good assistant is pretty important too, so again, working with Armel was great.

For the next mold, what would you do differently? The same?

I’m hoping to use ceramic/ porcelain for the next piece; which is nice because it leaves a smoother surface on the glass than bronze does. I learned in this project that the glass can get a lot of detail out of the mold so there are lots of possibilities. I want to work a lot bigger of course but I’m not sure the next thing will look like this. I have a short attention span and change my ideas often.

What were your greatest feats throughout each of the production steps?

I took a risk printing as thin as I did, the glass heat can warp metal sometimes or stick, but I did something right, there. Blender wasn’t originally designed for 3D printing as far as I know so getting accurate dimensions are difficult in parts of the modeling. Glassblowing is a skill that takes years to acquire so combining that with all of these recent developments in 3D printing presented a big enough feat to keep me interested.

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists? Who on Shapeways has inspired you?

I saw an excellent talk by Del Harrow last year. I’ve also been following the 3D printed work of Caspar Berger and Sophie Kahn (I don’t yet know many artists who work with Shapeways). In a bit of a different direction, I’ve been really interested in some of the work and theory Hito Steyerl is doing with digital media too.

How did you first hear of 3D printing?

A friend of mine told me about Shapeways at a party a few years ago; it sounded like the future and I like the future.

I taught myself from online tutorials. The tutorials are mostly made by kids half my age and way smarter than me. Its humbling!

Do you have a preference in modeling software?

I mostly use Blender for a few reasons. One, is that its free and I work in the arts so I can share it more easily and download or teach it anywhere. The other great thing about Blender is that I can use it for modelling, printing and animation; the extra features needed are usually free plug-ins and the standard render (cycles) engine is kinda nice. Blender does have its limits though, so I have to come up with work-arounds for some of the ideas I want to do in the program. I started in Truespace years ago which isn’t around anymore and then got into Sketchup when it came out; I’ve also dabbled in Cinema 4D, Rhino and 3DS Max and currently I’m playing with some of Autodesk’s mesh repair and layer-cutting software.

What opportunities do you believe 3D printing brings to artists? How is that demonstrated in your work?

My work goes back and forth between objects that I make physically and art work that exist visually instead, which is sometimes hard to decide on. 3D printing is in a phase where it is expanding into all kinds of art and craft practices; its pretty novel now but in time I think it will fall into place with all kinds of other tools we’ve adopted over the years. I hope my work lands uncomfortably between looking handmade and digital – then it would be demonstrating the opportunities in 3D print. A lot of the things I build in 3D are full-scale large sculptures but I can work on them anywhere and store them for free. I think that’s also a big opportunity with this medium.

Do you have other 3D printing projects in mind?

Yes but I have an intense superstition about talking about new work until its done so I have to be secretive! A lot of the other work I’ve been experimenting with though is laser-cut as 2D layers and assembled into 3D sculptures after. Some of my upcoming work is using that process as well.

For more work by Tim:

You can check out his site here: http://futureforest3d.blogspot.ca

Or through his collaborative art studio, Bee Kingdom Glass, alongside Phillip Bandura and Ryan Fairweather. http://www.beekingdomglass.com

If you are in the Calgary area you can find Tim’s work showing in the ‘Magical Thinking’ exhibition at the Ruberto Ostberg Gallery this fall. http://www.ruberto-ostberg.com/index.html