The future is now

This week 21-23 of May there was 3D Printshow in East London, taking place at The Old Turman Brewery. This relatively new(or at least very modern) phenomenon of creating your personalised objects out of quite wide variety of materials just had to be explored closer.

By this day 3D printing has seeped through to every aspect of our modern life. Even though it still has time to go to reach masses and become an utterly accepted everyday tool, it has been developing for past 30 years and as with home computers and laptops, just 30 years ago not many people could really imagine home computing growing to its current scope.

3D printer

For those who don´t know much about 3D printing: a three dimensional object, designed using computer software, gets printed irl via special 3D printer. A selection of filaments of different nature can be used. The “ink” that comes in a roll, gets heated and applied within the printer layer by layer to create the desired form, taking several hours, depending on the shape and size. Quite a slow process, but very fascinating! Filaments range from plastic, resin, vinyl, to metal, wood and even edibles and live cells, etc. Unfortunately it has not yet expanded to printing in wearable fabrics(for example synthetics) or leather(for obvious reasons), but I am sure, as far as synthetic fabrics go, this is not a far future filament to be created.

As for now, the use of 3D printing ranges from the most extreme – such as medical body part printing, live cells and synthetic bacterium  printing, creating printed food or cars and houses, to extraordinary fashion, art objects and more common everyday items of home decor, lamps, furniture items, games, toys, jewelry, etc.

Julian Hakes Mojito shoeIn fashion Alexander McQueen used 3D printed shoes already in his last fully created collection of SS2010, while Julian Hakes´ Mojito shoes have hit the high street shops.

3D printed jewelry or millinery should not be of any surprise by this day. For clothing items however, due to the restrictive limits of the non flexibility, so far they had to stay rather chain mail-like dresses or movement-limiting haute couture gowns. Iris Van Herpen is most known by her printed plastic collections.

Iiris Van Herpen
Somehow i see the future for not so much fully 3D printed objects, than a mix between 3D printed components and traditional organic materials(such as fabric or leather).The experts predict that in a decade or so 3D printer will be a common home electric machine, for producing necessary everyday items and printing replacement for broken parts. Current scale of over-producing and over-consuming will have to slow down(as we are running out of physical space on Earth) and making more personalised durable projects with return to mending will be prevalent.

3D printing has been used in art and sculpture. In the gallery there were works by several artists. Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa uses various media from video, installation, recording, live performances and 3D printing to produce audio-visual sound pieces for fully immersive experience.
Nick Ervinck explores the boundaries between various media mixing tools and techniques from new media to explore the aesthetic potential of sculpture, 3D print installations, architecture and design.
Michael Winstone´s simple fractal forms examine the human body within the context of the family structure, its relationship with nature and the anatomy of trees and their architecture. I particularly liked how the shadows of his pieces formed shadow creatures of their own on the walls.

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Other most fascinating ways to use 3D technology include 3D scanner , enabling to copy and print body parts or fully realistic looking mini-me-s. It is already available for public at my3Dtwin. Imagine a family portrait of small sculptural figurines or observing the growing of a child in yearly printed life-resembling dolls. Think about hanging printed 3-dimensional heads of the loves ones on the walls of your home, just like some people hang heads of dead animals. 3D pens are already mainstream and accessible everyday objects, working on the same principle as glue-guns, with a different filament. Just makes me wonder with excitement what is next to come…

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