3D Printing: A Beginners Mixed Bag

At my core, I’m still a traditionalist.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working digitally. And with my background in traditional sculpture; I know good and well how expensive it is to create even a small scale piece (you want that cast in bronze?? might as well take out a lean on your house!). Even knowing how much more efficient I am or how much material cost I’m saving: I still miss the physicality of a sculpture.

3D printing just seemed like a natural next step for me to take with my work.

For my first models (the ones you see on this page) I used Shapeways (https://www.shapeways.com/). They have a great website – very comprehensive – with auto checks and accurate breakdowns of material costs for anything from PLA to ceramic to gold. I think it was a nice place to start for someone like me with no previous 3D printing knowledge. I could see what worked in my models and what was going wrong with no risk of wasting my own material. The cost and the fact that they are US based is really my main prohibitor from moving forward with them.

After my first batch I went to do some work at a founding school in Korea to help set up their technology and most importantly (to me) their STEM lab! Ho boy, what timing this gig was. I got to set up six printers! Two Makerbot Replicator 5s and four Sindohs (two 200, two 201). I got to play around with their software, print out test models and learned a lot about their settings. It was awesome. And I learned so much. You can see the model I made for them on my Twitter (https://twitter.com/SaraWildeArt/status/925323001653899264) It’s an idol from the Island the school is on.

Moving forward I feel very confident in finding a maker space to start producing models myself. I have a lot left to learn and I can’t wait to start.

Most of my printed models were made in ZBrush and prepped for print in Mesh Mixer, for the page saver I used Maya.

The prints above are a variety of materials: Cat Skull, Orc and Three Eyed Raven Skulls are steel with various tints applied. Leroy the House Demon (Smiling hairless horned cat) and the Dragon are very much WIP but printed in a high definition nylon material. The rest (Ralph the Bunny plant holder, page saving bats) are PLA a bioplastic that is very affordable to print with.

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