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3D PRINTING AS A MEDIUM

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.

 
 

▾   METHOD

 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
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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.

 
 
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▾  TEXTURE

 
 

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