Dreams in 3D

I’ve finally had the chance to start experimenting with 3D! It has long been an ambition, but so many other things have topped my to-do lists, and I’ve had no access to the technology. However, just before Christmas I discovered the “FabLac” in nearby Anthy-sur-Leman. It is an awesome spot – a couple of rooms upstairs in a small community-hall type space, filled with 3D printers, soldering irons, an old laser cutter, and all kinds of bits and bobs. It is also, surprisingly, filled with people, from hyper-intelligent teenagers building robotic arms to vaguely anarchic technophiles of all shapes and sizes. Getting out into a community of other “maker” types has been really good and pushed the boundaries of my normally very solitary working process. Collaboration is not easy for me, but the rewards can be considerable!

A big thanks, firstly, to Jonathan Brand (www.jonathanbrand.com), whose mastery of the new craft of 3D printing is unrivalled. He helped me transform my cumbersome, internal geometry-laden DXF files into clean, hollow STLs. Next, Paddy Condevaux at FabLac walked me through the printing process, which was much nicer than watching YouTube. He also helped me find a new method that should eliminate the cumbersome DXF files and streamline the process. Finally, a big big “merci” to Bernard Bouteville, who offered, out of the goodness of his heart, to print on his home machine my first dream sculpture (seen in these images), and has even threatened to print a full-sized version!

I think the results are very promising! I REALLY like the object with its support structures still attached – it appears to be a science-fiction city, or something out of Italo Calvino. The detached form is also really cool, though now the work begins to develop techniques of playing with its aesthetic properties with resins and paints and maybe feathers…

Bernard Bouteville, Maitre d'impression 3D!

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