Design of the Week: Emptiness of Shark

A hungry-looking 3D printed shark

This week’s selection is the massive Emptiness of Shark by artist Michael Cardacino. 

Cardacino, who previously was Design of the Week for his 3D print, “The Root Cause”, took on a much bigger challenge with this massive shark print. 

This piece is actually made from multiple parts, each carefully 3D printed and then assembled. The enormous shark body, approximately two meters long, was 3D printed in glass-filled nylon material on a EOS P730 3D printer. 

 Dimensions of the Emptiness of Shark 3D print
Dimensions of the Emptiness of Shark 3D print

While the EOS P730 has a rather large build volume of 700 x 380 x 580mm, it is absolutely not large enough to accommodate the entire shark 3D model. It’s my understanding that the piece was made from approximately seven different prints. This is a very common way of overcoming a too-small build volume: cut the 3D model into pieces and paste them together afterwards. 

The nylon parts were 3D printed at Midwest Composite, who just happen to be one of our sponsors. 

After assembly, the entire piece was metal plated with copper and nickel material by Repliform, a provider of plating and composite services. 

 A full view of the 2m Emptiness of Shark 3D print
A full view of the 2m Emptiness of Shark 3D print

While the shark from afar looks quite realistic, at least in shape, it’s actually hollow. 

 The skin of the Emptiness of Shark is composed entirely of the word
The skin of the Emptiness of Shark is composed entirely of the word “Shark”

But when you get close you will see the shark’s skin is entirely composed of the word, “Shark”, modeled in different orientations. Caradcino explains: 

When we think, “shark,” our minds connect to an infinite variety of things, each with their own conditions: ocean, other fish, swimmers, “Jaws,” “Shark Tank,”,danger, beauty, conservation, fear, etc.

The hollow sculpture and repeated name can move viewers to see that shark is a big fish, yet realize that the psychological construct we mentally create which “sees” a shark, colors our observation. We can conclude that conditioned thoughts we bring to the world color it, causing our actions and reactions.

This is an excellent example of how metal plating of a plastic 3D print can create the illusion of a solid metal object. If you look at the full view you can see the somewhat flimsy-looking single pole stand upon which the apparently metal-heavy shark rests. 

Can you acquire one of these 3D printed sharks? I did not see them directly for sale, but on Cardacino’s website he portrays them in various settings, suggesting that he’s willing to produce more, perhaps for your living room: 

There is no word on pricing for this item, but you can bet it will not be inexpensive.

It’s definitely not as heavy as it looks. And it’s pretty safe, too. It won’t bite. 

Via Michael Cardacino

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