Why do artists use 3D printers

Art from the 3D printer: New possibilities through new technology

Even if very few of us should have a 3D printer at home - the technology is considered revolutionary and determines many ideas about the future of human societies. In the meantime, artists have also become aware of the technology. Works of art are created on the computer and then simply printed out. You can read here what happens when you let the creative minds work with a 3D printer.

The possibilities seem almost limitless: 3D printers and the way in which they could change our lives look like science fiction, but are part of every idea of ​​our near future. In a “future” household, as one imagines it, smaller items from cell phone cases to dishes and components for hobbyists to clothing are simply downloaded and then printed out at home. In this case, however, that is still a long way off. In the art scene, on the other hand, 3D printers are already being used extensively.

How does 3D printing work?

Basically, a 3D printer prints in a very similar way to a conventional inkjet printer: the printing material is applied to the work surface in liquid form through a nozzle. The print head with the nozzle always moves to where you want to print. There are only two major differences. Firstly, the 3D printer does not print with color, but usually with a plastic that it liquefies by heating it right before the printing process. Second, the 3D printer layers many layers of printing on top of each other. This enables him to print objects with spatial depth - just 3D.

Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer: "Digital Grotesque"

But how is this technique used in art? The "Digital Grotesque" project by Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer is an impressive example of the incredible possibilities that 3D printing opens up to artists. The two investigate how 3D printing can be used in architecture - and use sand and resin to print huge sandstone sculptures. “Digital Grotesque” consists of two independent sculptures, each over three meters high and forming a walk-in room. The geometric patterns on these walls are based on the calculations of an algorithm and were printed with an accuracy of a tenth of a millimeter in order to be able to represent the fine details.

Karin Sander: "Visitors on Display"

The artist Karin Sanders takes a somewhat more detailed approach. In 2013 she presented her work “Visitors on Display”. This is an installation of around 1000 figures between 10 and 22 centimeters in size, which was shown in Duisburg's Lehmbruck Museum. Visitors to the museum were shown whose figures were printed with their consent and in the color of their choice. There are also three dogs in the installation - in this case presumably with the consent of the owner.

Have you ever tried a 3D printer? And what do you think of 3D printed works of art? Write your opinion in the comments.