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Lia turns filament into something special – 3D printing at its limits!


I’ve always wanted more from 3d printing art. Don’t get me wrong. There are marvelous created works that have been built on 3d printers but I feel like the possibilities are just applied with banal intent. 3D printing surely can lay material down in all sorts of mundane manners but when given the ability to explore chaos or mathematical extremes this is truly interesting.

I am totally done with Yoda heads and Eiffel towers.

Then there is Lia. She is a Net artist. That is an artist who uses technology and the net as a brush for their medium. Net art has struck a blow to the gallery and museum system. What is really appealing to me is that it draws the viewer into a mental tit for tat. That, my friends, is something that I’ve been waiting for, an interaction with the 3d printing medium that is more than a robot laying down material in ways it has since the 80’s.

Lia works to find beauty with technology outside their intended uses. That is where she struck out initially and I believe that is where she thrives. Lia initially hit the art world in the 90′s with artwork generated by algorithms. Lia received a 3D printer as a gift from her husband, she then proceeded to document her experimentation on her blog.

She said :

“I am really (!) not interested in creating 3D models in a 3D programme and then simply have them printed out. I rather wanted to know what can be achieved with the actual properties of filament and the movements of the print head.”

She documented 30 blog entries in order for people to journey with her. She shared her settings, her insights, her failures. The images I’ve included are beautiful but her other experiments outside of 3d printing are equally inspiring.

With this particular project Lia analyzed filament and the print head. She explored mathematically defining the location of the filament and the speed of the movement and the amount of it that should be extruded. She wrote a short Processing language application to directly output gCode where the speed, location, and the amount of filament was defined and changed.

With Lia we discover that surfaces can be chaotic or unified, shapes can be organic or structured and filament can flow freely. She also explored strings and blobs in new novel and distinct ways. The results are a series of sculptures that are beautiful in their process and explore something besides Jedi Masters.

She commented that she was able to:

“create a new kind of sculpture, native to the medium”


Filament Sculptures from Lia on Vimeo .

Filament Sculptures from Lia on Vimeo.
filament_sculptures_lia_09-640x480 (1).jpg




2 comments on “Lia turns filament into something special – 3D printing at its limits!

  1. katmcdaniel
    April 6, 2014

    Mesmerizing! I agree that there is too little of this sort of exploration. Thanks for sharing Lia’s work!

    • behold 3d
      April 6, 2014

      You are quite welcome! And, thank you for your kind words.

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