For a one stop eye-opening and sometimes mind blowing experience, the downtown Library and Palm Beach Photographic Center is always a sure thing.
Last month the Library held a demonstration of 3D Printers and the incredible things they can do.
To wrap your head around 3D printers it’s best to get images of Xerox machines out of your head and to think of them as a type of industrial robot that can be programmed to “print” an object as simple as a hollow round ball or as complex as a house. It does this by moving the “printing” pointer in a sweeping motion across a surface, depositing layers of melted paper pulp that comes in various colors and densities. The resulting object solidifies instantly and then can be painted or glazed for strength. The design is fed to the machine by a downloaded file created on a computer or from a 3D scan.
“We’ll be printing kidneys in 5 years,” said Bobby Knight of Allaxis 3D Printing Company, one of the vendors at the Library. “Where we are now and where we will be in the future is almost impossible to even predict this technology is moving so fast.”
Knight isn’t kidding, as the machines he brought with him at the demo range from simpler machines for a few hundred dollars to the most elite one that sells for $50,000.
Allaxis 3D Printers is company that has specialized in 3D CAD (computer aided design) services and the sale and support of CAD systems, large format plotters & scanners for over 25 years. They provide 3D solutions across several market segments including architectural, engineering, medical, educational, fine arts, reprographic service bureaus & commercial printers just to name a few. Some of the benefits of these amazing machines are One Touch™ 3D Printing, the ability to transform a small desk in a home or classroom into an exciting creativity center. Users can experiment with a wide range of forms, colors, and textures, teach children how to think, imagine, create, craft and print in 3D, and the ability to choose from hundreds of thousands of free, predesigned, and ready-to-print educational, entertaining, and useful 3D models. These items range from household utensils and replacement parts to art projects and even scale models for architectural renderings.
I watched a few of the machines in action and it’s quite futuristic and sci-fi looking. They were printing insects, balls, vases, jewelry, heads and artwork. The “filabit” – the paper material that makes the object is fed into the machine from a roll, but can also be made from ceramic or nylon. The most fun idea is using food products like chocolate or pancake type batters to create fantastic edible shapes. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry, and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source.
A fashion forward friend of mine named Michael Schmidt in Los Angeles created the first 3D printed dress last year by printing out the sections – like cutting a pattern – and then attaching them together by hand. He then embellished it with black crystals and fit it onto famous burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. Schmidt is a wardrobing and jewelry designer who has garnered the attention of the world’s top entertainers, stylists, photographers and directors for his expertise with a variety of innovative materials and techniques. Designed by Schmidt and generated by Bitonti a Brooklyn-based architect who renders designs with new technologies in unusual material, the floor-length nylon gown was made using selective laser sintering (SLS), where material is built up in layers from plastic powder fused together with a laser. The rigid plastic components were articulated to create a netted structure that allows for movement. Spirals based on the Golden Ratio were applied to a computer rendering of Von Teese’s body so the garment fit her exactly. Draped over a nude silk corset, the black-lacquered dress is cinched in at the waist and exaggerated at the shoulders, and embellished with 12,000 Swarovski crystals.
Schmidt designed the entire dress on his iPad and communicated with Bitonti through Skype during the process of imagining 17 unique pieces and 3,000 joints that let the dress move with the body. The result was a sensation, the dress made headlines around the world and has been on tour to museums and design institutes.
There have been models made for 3D printer cars and houses that can be made in sections.
“We are really at the infancy of what 3D printing can do,” said Knight. “Think of the possibilities – you would not have to ship an object, you just send the file and the machine makes it at the other end – no need for a mold, or shipping, it can just be manufactured to order. We’ve made prosthetics for kids that give them super human abilities at affordable prices. We did a scan of an unborn baby for the mother who was blind so she could feel what the baby was like. We can print teeth and crowns on the spot. This is a major quantum shift as there will be no value in what is produced – the value is in the file and the design. And for the paper made products they are all recyclable, no trash, no waste.”
Mind blowing indeed!
Best in Show
From printed matter to printed photos, the Palm Beach Photography Center is hosting the 2015 Best in Show Festival features over 120 award winning pictures by top photojournalists world wide, all of whom won top honors at this year’s POYi (Pictures of the Year International) Competition. As the oldest and the most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world, POYi’s mission is to recognize excellence in photojournalism and documentary photography.
My two favorites are of a horse race seen from an unusual angle – “HOOFING It” by Julian Herbert, the dramatic detail and moment of competitors hoofs as they race at Kempton Park Racecourse at Sunbury On Thames, England: and a riot in progress by St. Louis Post Dispatch that shows the flaring anger of individuals in Ferguson, Missouri as a demonstrator returns a tear gas container shot by tactical police officers after they worked to break up a group of bystanders.
Palm Beach Photography Center, 415 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. For information about workshops, exhibits, and products, please visit: www.workshop.org
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Review of a West Palm Beach Library Workshop. Winning Pictures and 3D Wonders. This is Interesting to Know: Learn How Revolutionizing 3D Printing is.