Sunday, 27 May 2012

Day 25 - Summing up

The residency has finished and although I wish it had gone for a longer period of time I am also glad that it is over. It was an incredible experience as an artist and also as a technology enthusiast. This having been my first residency it has given me a chance to learn the basic skills required to operate a 3d printer, made me more conscious of how to build and optimise models for printing and been a fantastic opportunity to display this emerging technology to interested members of the public, visiting school groups, gallery staff and volunteers and also work with and gain insights from Corrie who has been wonderfully patient with my strange ways (Thank you Corrie!).

Given the opportunity I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and if I undertake any residencies in the future I believe I will have a much better idea of what a residency entails. The fate of the 3d printers is still undecided although I have heard mention of the possibility that Corrie and myself may have access to them in the future which will hopefully allow us to print out the final objects the universe so cruelly denied us the ability to produce on both of our respective 'final days'.

As for the equipment itself I can wholeheartedly recommend the UP! 3d printer to anyone interested in producing single colour objects with relative ease. The UP! printer performend almost flawlessly (except for the last two days) considering it was being printed to non-stop by two artistswith next to no previous 3d printing experience who were almost certainly making it do things the makers of the machine never intended for it to do. There isn't much else to say about it; it prints well (albeit a bit slowly), the quality is good, the software is so easy that you grandma could use it.

The Makerbot Replicator is however a different story. I really wanted to like it and I am 100% behind the Makerbot ethos which is about empowering individuals to innovate, create and share objects and ideas. Unfortunately I could not recommend the Replicator to anyone except perhaps the most dedicated of techies and tinkerers. The Software is not intuitive, the onboard electonics are not as advanced as those of the UP! printer (and require the PC to remain attached while printing which killed two prints when the computer shut down spontaneously), the online help system quite often lead me in confusing loops without answering questions, the dual extrusion printing process was not well supported by the software and despite all my best efforts I suspect I didn't even come close to producing a two colour object.

Ultimately the quality of the objects wasn't of a standard that I would deem acceptable for anything except small 'utility' (i.e. 'part') prints and perhaps gifts for friends and family. I really don't like being negative and really dislike having to give bad reviews but in my opinion the Replicator requires far too much investment of time to obtain acceptable results. That being said I will definitely follow their progress as a company and would absolutely consider obtaining subsequent models of their machines if the standard was able to be raised to that of the UP! printer and if the software was to become more user-friendly.

I am very excited about the possibilities of 3d printing and as one of three possible outcomes for my artistic practice I can clearly see that it is in my interests to obtain a 3d as soon as possible and join the revolution. I hope you have enjoyed following my progress and I look forward to showcasing future developments in 3d printing and my artistic pursuits through other avenues but for now I must bid you farewell.

Cheers, Beau.

p.s don't forget to check out Corrie's blog to hear another artist's perspective of the same residency

The final haul of objects

1 comment:

  1. I read your Mandelbulb 3D tutorial and is was very good and helpful. Thank you for such a good tutorial. I appreciated the explanations of why you where making various adjustments and what they where doing to the fractal.

    Do you have any other M3D tutorials? Are you going to do more? It would be great if you did more tutorials on M3D.

    Thanks again!