Innovation for the art & entertainment worlds

I am not impressed with all the 3d scanners and 3d printers!

There I said it! It’s true.

lack of detail

lack of detail

Also notice how keenly smart I am by using a piece of paper to illustrate the lack of detail I see… get it!… hello?! umm..ok.

CES was this last week and all I heard about was the 3d printing and scanning tech that was overshadowing the show.

Most of what I’ll say will be anecdotal, but hey, I am an artist. Artisans live at the crossroads of Mastery Ave. and Feeling Blvd.

Let me divide it into two categories for you. We’ll start with the 3d printing (additive manufacturing world).

I will separate scanning with another post.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch please hear me out. In 2008-2010 there were a few players on the scene that were producing machines that were in every sense of the world ground breaking and well engineered. They were professional machines that produced prints that were unique in their technologies and consistent in their outputs.

Machines like zcorp, objet (remember them?), Envisiontec, Stratasys, 3D Systems (before they started binging) were upping the anti and continually producing machines and materials that were pushing  the gambit of detail and excellence. I was excited about the possibilities that the technology  was promising and the tool set that it was offering to the fine artist.

Fast forward to today. The influx of copy-cat patent scavengers and cheaply built machines is over saturating the market and making it bland. A different FDM machine comes out every week and frankly there is only so many ways you can make a stringed noodle interesting.

The problem I see is that the industry has moved outward but not upward. This is happening both with the construction of new machines and with the artist using them. I am looking for a fine artist in this renaissance to say “this is truly different” or “this is truly better”.

There are machines that are everywhere. All around they are scratching at the bottom with mechanical novelty, printed detail, and tinkered craftsmanship. Alas, they are based on the same techniques and fall short of the originals. The other issue is that vendors are fictitiously touting capabilities that are just untrue and stretches of the laws of time, space, and physics. For instance a .1 micron resolution 3d printer! Come on!

I was reminded that the vendor was probably promoting their mechanical resolution differentiates by saying this is “layer resolution”. However, the beam width in my opinion, would actually have to be larger. I’ve never heard of a comparable laser that can be collimated that fine. Not to mention, diffraction…. Not to mention printing time!  Don’t get me started down that road. These are steep claims indeed.

I might be pacified if this awakening was advocating some sort of additive manufacturing minimalism. Maybe,  the technologies are being distilled to their base elements. But, fine art still seems to propagate from the professional high end machines and not these new ones. You have to ask yourself why.

There is an exception in my opinion with the B9 Creator. I feel there are a few users that are pushing new materials in novel ways with the B9 as their springboard. It most certainly is at the cusp. However, there has yet been an outstanding artist that has created the excellence of the B9’s progenitors. Will there be? I believe that this machine holds the highest probability.

Do you feel  3d printing technology is improving industry wide?

If so, how do you feel this will impact artist?

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