While interning at CW&T, I conducted experiments in 3D printing. We treated a 3D printer as a programmable extruder, rather than a machine to create solids. The goal was to use 3D printing as a medium itself, not a tool to imitate injection molded plastic.




The studies were made with Beetle Blocks, a visual programming environment developed at MIT Media Lab.  The program uses code to control a "beetle" that extrudes its path as a tube. The path can be exported at gcode and used to make a 3D print.

This allows users to create 3D prints that go beyond the confines of solid shapes. Extrusions can overlap, intersect and change in layer heights. In a way, it hacks a 3D printer to be used as a precise extruder.


▾   FORM


The first series of tests explored form. I twisted intersecting shapes, along with altering layer height and other parameters. It created spirals with intricate profiles, structures with loose construction, and forms with internal depth.




The next step was texture studies. Most were exploring a variety of ways to create cylinders, learning the effects of varying the height and speed of the printer head