Artists have begun leveraging 3D printing technology to produce wondrous creations. This week we encountered an artist who is pushing the technology to its limit by creating perhaps the most amazing 3D printed pieces we’ve ever seen.
We contacted California-based Robert Geshlider and asked him a few questions about his work, some of which you can see here. (Click for larger views)
Fabbaloo: How did you start using 3D printing for your art? What led you to the technology?
Robert Geshlider: I was making sculptures using traditional methods of mold-making and casting (in bronze and plaster) up until about 1999. I got a job then at a startup called Eoplex, helping develop a type of 3d printer. At Eoplex I learned Solidworks and was introduced to the various companies that made 3d printing machines. The possibilities of using 3D CAD to develop meaningful shapes became apparent.
Fabbaloo: Some of your works seem quite complex, involving many components. How difficult is it to produce one of these sculptures? What is your design to build process?
Robert Geshlider: Well, there’s two steps, the design first, and then the printing.
The designing of the pieces in Solidworks usually takes months. This is when most of the struggle occurs. There’s a lot of back and forth, deciding which shapes go where, what colors to apply, etc.
The printing on the 3D printers is comparatively simple; it takes hours.
Many things I’ve worked on are complex, as you’ve said. I’m interested in a kind of sculptural collage, where different shapes exist side-by-side or sometimes within other shapes. To do this with molds and casting is a technical nightmare. To do this virtually, with 3D CAD, is ideal. There’s an immediate freedom to place things exactly where you want which was never quite possible working in clay or wax.
Fabbaloo: What advice could you offer other artists who are considering use of 3D printing technology?
Robert Geshlider: First learn a 3D CAD program and then figure out how to gain access to a machine.
Solidworks, as you may know, was designed for making mechanical equipment, not sculptures, but it has suited me well.
There are other programs out there more appropriate for organic, curvilinear shapes, such as ZBrush or Rhino.
On the printer side, a lot of schools have the machines these days, or you can access them using service bureaus.
Plus, the prices to own a 3d printer keep coming down.
Fabbaloo: The works are truly amazing – are they for sale? How can one purchase them?
Robert Geshlider: Thank you for the compliment. Yes, most of the pieces are available for sale and are produced in editions of 5. There’s a contact link on my website for inquiries.
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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Welcome to Fabbaloo, one of the world’s oldest online news sources for 3D printing news. We’ve been in operation since 2007, where we first started examining the state of 3D printers. These devices are now relatively common among some circles in today’s world, but years ago it was extremely rare to see a 3D printer or even a 3D printed object.
At that time it was challenging to find any 3D printing news, so we decided to make our own site that covered 3D printer news, and even associated technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling. Today it is common to find 3D printers in schools, workshops and makerspaces, and you probably have been using 3D printed objects without even knowing they were 3D printed.
Today’s industry has finally taken up the challenge by installing thousands of industrial 3D printers, each producing previously impossible 3D printed parts that make today’s society far more efficient. The aerospace industry in particular has been producing many 3D printed parts, some even for flight critical purposes.
If you want to learn about 3D printers, then there’s no better place than Fabbaloo’s 3D printer news to see the latest happenings.
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