Thursday, January 17, 2013

A new creative assistant...

Access to a 3D printer opens many creative possibilities. One is the ability to translate 3D models of just about anything (including computer designed and photographed real-world objects) into something you can use or enjoy.

A case in point is the rapid generation of complex ceramics designs. Slip moulding is a technique used to make many objects from one mould. A plaster mould is made of the target object. Slip (clay slurry) is then poured into the mould, left a while and then poured out. When the slip has dried, opening the mould reveals a finely detailed hollow object that can then be cleaned up and fired in a kiln.

Generating moulds is a lot of work. The computer age allows not only the generation of complex 3D models and design - but can automatically translate them into the moulds needed to replicate them with ceramics!

This site has all the details and access to the programming tools to do this if you are ever inclined. A programme that works with the 3D modelling tool "Rhino3D" takes anything you design, and generates the mould configuration you want, in any size you want. Here's an example of an input design.

Here are some of the possible output options; all generated immediately on the click of a button. No more work at all!

As you can see, there are a huge number of options available depending on how you want to generate the master mould. This is how the options can be set...

Here are some real printed outputs - so you can see this actually does work!