Generative 3D printed Art


This is quite cool – although the outcome does look like some sort of spaghetti-cooking accident… and there’s something a bit 1980s about it. It’s all a bit “visage”… and that era seriously fucking sucked.

I think the process is interesting though – mainly because generative art is capable of doing things that the human imagination can’t do… (or doesn’t, for whatever reason). A computer generating patterns is a box thinking outside the box. I think I might start playing with this myself. Some of the very first computer programs I wrote when I was a kid back in 1979 were generative art.

As patterns printed onto paper, they’re interesting… but not that good – translated into 3D materials though, they’re something else altogether… especially if they can be made in metal… which with these masks I guess you’d do via lost-wax casting. I seem to recall there’s some sort of 3D plastic than can be melted away etc.

Meanwhile, there’s a new 3D printer on the radar that looks like it might be crossing the divide from “clunky DIY” to “Slick Consumer Product like Apple Might Have Designed”

3D printer

On kickstarter, pulling in about 10x the funding they were after – almost a million dollars from 2300 punters… the Thousand True Fans principle seemingly in operation.

So this might be the printer that crosses over into the mainstream – allowing people to find out that these things for all the hype, are really not that useful, and that 3D design is fucking hard. I bet this is the lifecycle of 99% of them:

1) open box. get it all to work

2) print out plastic rabbit, that came as an example

3) try to print a couple of more ambitious things from thingiverse. They don’t come out very well

4) spend 2 days trying to understand one of the free 3D design packages

5) printer sits on desk doing nothing for 3 months

6) printer gets put in cupboard forever.

Betcha. All sorts of comparisons are made to “computers in the 1980s”, but these are not computers. Computers were driven by games, not by “useful stuff you could do”.

Which isn’t to say that the wave of hype is going to fade any time soon… and it may just be that a catalyst falls into the brew which makes these machines “must have systems”. I’ve yet to see a killer-app though.

Laser cutters are a lot more useful. Only trouble is, they’re big and dangerous. And the software is crap.