Print Anything

3D Printed Cells Bowl - Math Art by @Dizingof

3D Printed Cells Bowl – Math Art by @Dizingof (Photo credit: Dizingof)

And I mean anything.  Trust me.

Whatever new technology comes along someone will use it, or combine it with something else, to create something unique.  And this is true of 3D Printing.  The technology has been around for a while, used by designers and engineers to create prototypes and demonstrations for shows, and has now matured to the point where desktop and portable devices are soon to be available although some, like the Kickstarter-funded Formlab Form1 have come up against patent issues that are ongoing.

The idea, of slowly producing three-dimensional solid objects layer by layer by laying down material one layer on the next or selectively laser-fusing or curing liquids to form the layers, at the moment produces solid parts that can be assembled like an Airfix model kit but there has also been an intriguing chocolate 3D printer which could prove popular too. Already there are online archives of things to download and print from models of the Eiffel Tower to AK-47s – as I said, someone will always find a use for such tech.

The hope is that in future the technology could combine multiple materials in a single object, extending the technique beyond plastics and further improving the detail achievable although at the moment the printers can create tiny details, and even using the materials to replace structures like steel beams.  One amazing use is a device called a 3D Bio-Printer that can print out a hybrid natural-synthetic cartilage which once implanted acts as a support for natural tissue to regrow.

Which medical miracles brings us to two Japanese uses for the technology:  firstly a 3D photobooth that can scan your body and create a plastic mini-me, perfect for those who are so into model railways they want to be in their model railways, and secondly Fortean Times this month (FT297 pp10) reports on a clinic in Tokyo that uses a “Bio Texture” process and MRI scans to give parents-to-be a chance to see and hold their baby months before birth.  The “Shape of an Angel” service is £800 plus the cost of the MRI scan.  Imagine the scene, a family get-together, the baby photos are brought up on the wall projection to embarrass the teenager as parents sometimes do…   “This is you when you were five… ah, when you were two… look, you were only a few hours old there…  go get the box…  this was you when you were minus three months”.

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The Dream Palais

Palais Idéal, Hauterives, Drôme, France.

Palais Idéal, Hauterives, Drôme, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Built over thirty-five years by one man, The Palais idéal in the French town of Hauterives is an architectural wonder that is at the same time regarded by art critics as merely a folly and an example of so-called naive art.

Joseph-Ferdinand Cheval was born in 1836 and suffered an unsettled early life including the death of both his parents before he was 18, the deaths of two wives and several children, and many poorly paid jobs.  In 1867 he began work as a postman and the story of the Palais began.

As he walked on his rounds in the French countryside he began to construct in his mind what he called “a fairy palace of my dreams” in order to combat the boredom he had begun to feel.  His vision became so vivid as to be almost real in his mind but then he lost confidence in his internal vision and found himself simply wandering through the real world that had none of the wonders of his Palais and had only brought him pain in the past.

His spirit was awakened by tripping over a stone in his path that seemed to him to have been sculpted by nature and he realised that if creativity is inherent in nature then it could be within himself too and at that moment he found what he had been missing.  He realised that he could bring his dream castles into the real world and so he began to collect stones and build his Palais.

Once completed The Palais demonstrated his vision of creative reality, merging styles from across the world and across time.  Cheval said that creativity is life and in finding creativity he began a new life and was enriched by its energy.

The Palais was, from its unveiling, intended to be seen and was open to the public so that they too could be inspired to create and live rather than simply, passively be entertained.  Cheval hoped that his Palais would be part of a wider transformation of the world as people found their own creativity after seeing his work.  The Fortean Times article I read ended by talking about this aspect and its author said it was offered as a pebble for use in building that global palace and as I’d now come into contact with the Palais so I was inspired to discover my own kind of creativity and share it.  Today you don’t need stones and we can build a Palais online if we want, in some ways 21st Century Lunch is part of mine.

Fortean Times #286 p74-76 / Interesting Thing of The Day / Wikipedia