Thanks to 3-D printers, dentists can today print false teeth and medical device manufacturers can print hip replacements.
Such creations are useful, but not exactly sexy. Thankfully, artists are demonstrating another dimension of the technology, printing remarkable creations that wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago.
Take Tobias Klein, the German artist wanted to meld the architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral with representations of his own body. Approximating the shape and dimensions of your own heart is a challenge, but Klein did not have to guess. He underwent a series of MRI scans, and then, with a few clicks of the mouse, was able to view his own heart in 3-D.
He then merged that with a representation of the dome of St. Paul’s and sent the design to a 3-D printer, which deposited material layer by layer to create a solid object.
The result was ‘Inversive Embodiment,’ a twisting, mind-boggling sculpture that links man-made architecture with the architecture of a man.
Here are some 3-D printed designs…
3-D printers deposit material layer by layer to create a solid object, as in this dramatic headpiece by Joshua Harker. In the past each of the elements would have been crafted separately and then pieced together. 3-D printing simplifies the process and prints the work in one go.
Dutch designer Iris van Herpen was one of the first fashion designers to use 3-D printing to create clothes and accessories. The technology allows for intricate designs, like this Van Herpen skeletal dress.
Architect Bradley Rothenberg dreamed up this corset with matching wings for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2013. The incredibly detailed snowflakes could not be fabricated by hand because that would require additional support materials to hold it all together
South African artist Michaella Janse van Vuuren says this intricate puppet could not have been made by hand. “The Horse Marionette has fully functional joints and movable wings,” she says. “All the horse’s parts have been placed in the same digital file so no assembly is required afterward. When strung up the horse comes to life.”
London-based designer Silvia Weidenbach created this necklace using 3-D printing techniques. “I combine new technologies with traditional artisan, craft skills and it is through my understanding and use of both that I discovers new forms of expression,” she says.
“At the beginning, I was very suspicious of 3D printing” says designer Marla Marchant. “Only when I saw the first pieces I realized the accuracy of small detail and unlimited possibilities.” Her interest led to these futuristic heels.