Huda Salha. DIGF-6013-001 Digital Fabrication- Assignment # 1
Title and Design Concept
For my assignment on impossible objects, I have decided to make little figures that were inspired by my own family. The title of the project, “Fa-Mi-Li,” was suggested by my children. Their first impression when they saw my 3D printed objects was “an astrobot family!” Since they all play music, we decided to make it a musical name to emulate the Do Re Mi musical notes. In addition, the disconnection in the word “fa-mi-ly” represents the various processes and stages used in 3D printing from concept to the final actualizationof the object.
My original tool of making is oil and acrylic painting. I have also experimented with video art and installation using various forms of traditional 3D making. As an interdisciplinary artist, I joined this course because I wanted to learn 3D printing to enrich my artistic production vocabulary, and explore with new ways of making. At first, for the impossible object project, I wanted to 3D print body parts like hands and feet, to eventually bronze cast and incorporate in a project relevant to my thesis research on displacement, identity and memory.
Iterative Design Process
Realizing that it was not possible to learn how to design feet and hands in 3D within a short period of time, especially being a beginner with a very limited knowledge in technology tools, I decided instead to go with a simpler concept, thus, using the course as it is originally intended for: to learn the technicalities and process of 3D printing, and not to worry about failure, being a possibility.
Therefore, I started experimenting with the Tinkercad to build my 3D model. I managed creating a few designs, however, it seemed to me that they are going to render flat in printing. in fears that those designs would not work, I decided to use some of the ready models on Tinkercad. One of the designs that caught my attention was a figure of an astrobot. This made me think of my family. Hence, I was able to multiply the figure and adjust the measures and features of each, creating a small family of various sizes. I was happy with the results.
My final objects do not fall far from my thesis theme: Displacement. My astrobots, with the survival oxygen tanks on their backs are reminiscent of migrants with suitcases carrying the most precious things they could take away with them.
In class, we were given hands-on demonstrations on how to set up and use a 3D printer. Using a free software program called Cura for LulzBot, we were also shown how to render our designs and prepare them for printing with LulzBot 3D printer. It was easy to follow with the instructions and convert the model into G code. I was fascinated by the major transformation and capabilities of the Cura software, given how easy it was to learn the basics of it. Cura enabled me to adjust my design size and get an idea of its approximate size compared to the printer’s bed.
Later on, I took my design to the makers lab; transferred it into SD, and it was ready to print. I used PLA 3D printer Filament. When it came to choosing the colour of material, I thought of my children’s favourite colours, but those were not available. Eventually I decided to go with white so that I can paint my figures to the likeness of my children.
At last, I was able to have my printed objects. I was excited to walk in and finally see that my figures have made it. I enjoyed the texture of the support material, so I decided to keep it.
Objective: Intended Result vs. Actual Result
As I have mentioned above, my primary goal of 3D printing was to serve my thesis work and produce 3D printed body parts that can be casted in other media. However, my work ended up to be a coloring project for children and inspired future work in this direction. Finally, when I brought my 3D objects home and showed them to my children, they were so interested in the figures and wanted to help colour them. The figures ended up being a colouring project for my children. At first, they wanted to experiment with water colour to produce a transparent effect, but it did not give the intended result, so they switched to acrylic paint. The children suggested that I should have made enough of the figures to represent the entire family, so I am planning on expanding the Fa-Mi-Li by three more.
Since I also work with children at schools and in the community, this has inspired me to use 3D prints in children’s activities, especially for those with disability and possibly for art therapy application. I have searched some websites that offer ready 3D design like https://all3dp.com/printables/, which has Legos and interesting characters, so children can choose their favourite designs or characters, colour it, gift it or take it home. This can be similar to a place called The Clay Emporium, where kids can glaze clay objects, then pick those up when they are fired.
My researchfor this particular project revolved around my concerns of the advantages versus disadvantages of 3D printing. On the one hand, the process of 3D printing and the ability to be able to make things is interesting. It offers an easy and fast approach to production. In light of mass production, 3D printing should offer both affordability and accessibility to objects. For example, machine parts including certain car parts that are very expensive should become more affordable thanks to the 3D printing technology. This way, they will become worth fixing rather than being disposed of. 3D printing offers unlimited possibilities in both decorative and functional items. It is very revolutionary and effective in the medical field in terms of hearing aids and prosthetics, to name a few.
On the other hand, the easiness of 3D printing can raise concerns, as it can be used in the production of dangerous weaponry. In 2012, Defense Distributed group in the U.S announced its intention to design working 3D printable guns and rifles that can be reproduced by anybody with a 3D printer. Most recently, the owner of Defense Distributedhas begun selling blueprints of the weapons to elude a court order that banned him from offering free downloads of the plans.
In addition, the mass production and the heavy reliance on plastic can have negative impact on the environment, as all the unsuccessful or unwanted production ends up in the landfill. In addition, the objects produced will be added to the clutter of things already filling our space. With the current environmental crisis, we should be heading towards a reduction approach. Unfortunately, capitalists worry less about the future of Earth and more about filling their pockets through mass production. Furthermore, 3D printing consumes so much energy and takes time to produce. The high costs of the 3D printing, defies the affordability purpose of mass production. All this has made me raise the questions: are failed projects recyclable? Is there a depository and specific instructions on where to take the unwanted used material? What is the impact of certain material that produce harmful emissionsand toxic fumes on our health and the environment? Is 3D printing replacing creativity and craftsmanship and the hand-made, where craftsmen are being pushed further and further away, devaluing the authentic and handmade and increasing the rate of unemployment?
Challenges: The biggest challenge that made my objects impossible to achieve in this process was the technical skill in computer software. Before I join the Digital Fabrication course, I heard of the possibility of 3D printing from a scanned image. I thought scanning is as easy as taking shots of an object of multiple angles. Later, I realized that an object has to go through a specialized 3D scanner. Following an inquiry at the rapid prototype centre at OCADU, I was informed that it is not possible to scan body parts on the scanner available there. To be honest, I panicked for a while and was considering dropping off the course. Thanks to the reassurance of Erica Charbonneau, I decided to experiment with the basic 3D programs that she has demonstrated, like Tinkercad and Fusion 360.
The other challenge was that my design needed 26 hours to print. That was shocking to me, but I was able to reduce the hours into 14, seven then three hours by adjusting the specifications like reducing the size, filling and details of the figures. My original intention was that the figures were bigger and a bit more detailed, but I had to compromise and take into consideration the fact that only two printers were available, with about twenty students who need to print their objects as well.
When the printing began, there were some concerns as the printer failed and stopped a few times. The filament dispensing kept being interrupted and I had to restart several times.
In conclusion, I can say that the entire process was both thoughtful and creative. It was also a combination of challenges, successes and failures. It is quite successful in terms of experimenting with the material, concept and the process of 3D Printing to materialize digital designs. I am intrigued anddeterment to learn using the 3D software in the future so I can create designs that serve my themes and projects.
White PLA 1.75 Filament
Taz Lulzbot 6
Cura for Lulzbot
Lulz bot Taz 6 3D Printer