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Makers Guide | 3D printing for complex art

3D printed art has set its own mark in the art industry by often grabbing the attention of the general public. But why do 3D printed art pieces become popular? This has to do with their complex designs and solution-based backstories. The designs are often so complex that even non-art connoisseurs know that traditional manufacturing methods or manual processes wouldn’t be capable of producing such art pieces. This post will explain to you the relation between art, 3D printing, and product development. The concepts behind these art projects could be applied to a product line or to packaging design which could be beneficial for the design and product development teams during the development phase. In this post, we will first list down how 3D printing in the art can result in new art applications. After that, we will show you some art projects that came to be with 3D printing. To end this blog post, we will tell you what future role 3D printing will take in the art world.
 
Art, 3D printing, and product development
The reason why new artists are using 3D printing is a pretty obvious one that lies in the general concept of art. Art is an ever-changing idea that makes use of the latest manufacturing methods in order to showcase human-made expressions, creations, and imitations. Different production methods will visualize different ideas.
 
If we look at the history of art, we know that during the stone age, stones were not only used as a manufacturing tool for survival, it was also used as a tool for art and cave paintings. Cave walls in the same setting were then used as a canvas. In this day and age, 3D printing can be seen as the production tool and literal three-dimensional space can be seen as the modern day canvas. Additive manufacturing makes art unique because a certain type of technology is put in combination whilst creating an art piece. This technology does not only consist of 3D printing, but it also includes 3D systems, 3D modeling and 3D scanning. Of course, technology is quite often used for art but in this case, the 3D printing technology instantly affects the art during the development.
 
 
Art can come in the form of fashion too. We wrote an article about the best 3D printed fashion projects which can be found here. Art and design are always in correlation with each other. During the development phase of a product line or product packaging, the related design team and product development team can make use of 3D printing in a way that they won’t be limited in design, that they can make alterations to the packaging or product form on the go, knowing that they can make complex structures. Below you will find a proper explanation of the benefits:
 
1. Endorses creativity
3D printing in art unleashes the creativity that is cooped up in an artist’s mind. Often, when an artist tries to produce his art piece exactly like he had visioned it, he will be limited by traditional and manual production processes. When using 3D printing, the artist is not limited anymore by the type of production method. The only limitation is lack of knowledge in 3D modeling due to a 3D model being needed to print. Luckily, this is only a short-lived obstacle. There are many free and accessible resources for people to master 3D modeling in no-time. For example, you can take a look at our tutorial page where many different types of 3D modeling software are explained.
 
2. Groundbreaking designs
We already saw how 3D printing affects the film industry. Film is also a form of art that applies visual art with emotions. 3D printed film costumes are not limited in design and can even reflect a character’s personality better. This applies to static art as well. Static art pieces are sometimes designed in a way that strong materials are needed, e.g. when extremely thin walls are visioned. These walls can be so thin in fact, that the used materials would cave due to pressure. The reason why they would give in is that when the material was manufactured with traditional methods, they weren’t processed in a way where the whole of the art project is taken into consideration – resulting in weak points. 3D printing not only makes use of qualitative and strong materials such as metal 3D printing material, but the 3D technology itself can also create very thin and stable structures. Also, some art pieces need components that keep the art piece together. With 3D printing, these components can be directly applied or even be part of the actual art piece itself.
 

3. On the go alterations
Would regular manufacturing methods allow for you to customize or apply alterations on the fly? Sadly, not in most cases. Regular manufacturing methods often make use of molds. You would need to alter a mold if you want to alter your project. This is expensive and time-consuming. It would be possible to keep manually altering your art project by hand, but with restrictions. Quite often than not, manual alterations on the go lead to mistakes or unsatisfying feelings which in turn result in project abandonment. Also, once a mistake or unsatisfying alteration is manually made, it is permanent. With 3D printing, alterations are done inside your 3D file. It takes a minute to create a 2nd version of your original 3D art file. It then takes a fraction of time to make the alterations and print it. If not satisfied with the new alterations, simply click the reset button – go back to your original 3D file and start over.
 
3D printed art: the future?
Art will always make use of the latest manufacturing methods in order to set new boundaries. In the future, 3D printing will improve even more and will make use of new materials. It is already possible to 3D print with concrete materials and even molecules! We can only expect for artists and designers to see this inevitable development and be curious to see how it can be applied to art. When you 3D print your art you won’t be limited in design; you can make alterations on the go; you can make complex structures and you will likely create exactly what you visioned in mind. Art goes hand in hand with product development and packaging design. Each one of the above-mentioned applications can be applied to your business as well. Sculpteo has the means to help you produce what you have visioned. Simply upload your 3D model here, and expect your art project within days. If you want to keep up to date with additive manufacturing and new materials that can be applied to 3D printing which in turn can be potentially used for art projects, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!