Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Can wood art be recreated with 3D printing?

I was inspired by a kickstarter for woodcut art by artist Gabriel Schama where he made coordinated patterns in 1/8 wood that were then layered to great effect. The process looked a little to me like the layers of a 3D print, so I decided to see if 3D printing could recreated the effect. I started with modeling the shape, only instead of intentional layers I made gradual slopes that the slicer would use to create layers. Then I sliced it thick (low resolution settings).
Of course the design had to be very shallow so the layers would be distinct so I used the same space I would for a lithophane, more or less. And unfortunately even that that high slope did not make the pattern distinct enough. I'm guessing I'd need to edit the gcode by hand to double or triple each layer to be able to use them artistically like that. While that might create the desired effect that's not really what I wanted.

The moral here is that the layers 3D printing produces are too thick for anyone to call "smooth", but too thin to use for artistic purposes.

You can download and print this pendant inspired by Gabriel Schama's art on YouMagine.

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