The fabrication of three dimensional art and craft artefacts through virtual digital construction and output

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

The research project seeks to link 3D digital image construction with the output of 3D objects using commercially designed rapid prototyping technology. The study is undertaken from the perspective of the artist/crafts person and seeks to adapt its generic, intermediary, industrial role as a tool for creation of temporary prototypes to the production of one off, permanent bespoke or limited edition artefacts. As the current generation of this technology has now become more affordable to the fine art practitioner, there is much scope for ammassing industrial insights, and combining them with objectives and insights central to art and craft production in order to establish and articulate a new dimension to the field.
In order to Illustrate these principles, this project aims to pursue the problem from the perspective of the fine art ceramicist, adapting the printing mechanism of 3D print output to print clay bodied pieces that can be fired to produce permanent ceramic objects, in undertaking this task, the study will comprehensively test how a workflow relating to the design and output of permanent objects from the printer can be achieved using parameters that fulfil and extend traditional craft making procedures. In addition to this, the research will investigate the technologies latest capacity for printing objects in a full range of colour to formulate a unique procedure for incorporating ceramic making and decoration as a simultaneous function

Publications

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Hoskins S (2010) Patent for 3D ceramic material: Product and Process in not applicable

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Huson D A (2009) Further developments in the digital fabrication of ceramic artworks in NIP25: International Conference on Digital Printing Technologies and Digital Fabrication

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Huson D A (2011) 3D printing and colour: A multidisciplinary investigation in Impact 6 Proceedings

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Huson D A (2007) In search of the impossible ceramic object in IS&T International Conference on Digital Fabrication Technologies

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Huson D A (2009) From 2D tiles to 3D printed ceramics: A journey through digital print in Parallels and Connections - A Ceramics and Glass Research Student Conference and Exhibition

 
Title Boxvoxfox 
Description Artefact created by Brendan Reid, AHRC funded PhD Student. Boxvoxfox was originally designed as part of a series of objects which celebrate the centenary of Charles Darwin's birth. Through a combination of 3D scanning and by adapting the parameters of the computer software an evolutionary approach was adopted. By altering the software parameters the computer software became a collaborator in the aesthetics of the object. The algorithms were used as a system which handed control of object over to the machine. At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century a raft of technical innovations challenged the limitations of human perception. Technological inventions, such as Marey's chronograph and Rontgen's X - Rays, challenged the primacy of the human senses, notably the naked eye. In our current digital age how objects are perceived and constructed are once again being challenged. Limitations of perception are once again being challenged through modern day extends of Marey's chronographs. Computational methods of coding and the use of computer algorithms once again allow artists to create objects beyond the limits of human perception. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact Included in Inside Out - a compelling international touring exhibition featuring forty-six miniature sculptures produced in resin using 3D printing technologies. Developments in virtual computer visualisation and integrated digital technologies are giving contemporary makers new insight and opportunities to create objects and forms which were previously impossible to produce or difficult to envisage. The exhibition was the result of collaboration between the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia along with De Montfort University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University College Falmouth incorporating Dartington College of Arts in the United Kingdom. The Inside Out Exhibition was launched at Object Gallery in Sydney on June 4, 2010 (exhibition dates: 5 June - 25 July 2010). A website, featuring images and information on all works included in the Inside Out collection of miniature sculptures, was launched just prior to the Object Gallery launch. Video coverage of the stereo-lithographic (3D printing) process is featured on the website and alongside the exhibition, so as to communicate and demystify the process. After being exhibited at Object Gallery (Sydney), the Inside Out collection embarked on a touring program in the UK: DMU Cube Gallery, Phoenix Square - Film & Digital Media, Leciester, 1st - 21st September 2010 Righton Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University, 4th - 26th November 2010 The Poly (as part of the Cornwall Design Season), Falmouth, 29th March - 2nd April 2011 
URL http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/15764/
 
Title Flying Fish Pig 
Description 3D powder printed artefact in colour in collaboration with Paul Sandameer 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2007 
Impact Demonstrated the ability to print nested coloured artefacts in one print that could be accurately stacked in the style of Russian dolls 
URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Title Garden 
Description 3D printed in Z-Corp colour powder binder in collaboration with Conor Wilson 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact demonstrated the potential of colour 3D printing for arts procationers 
URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Title Isle of Purbeck 
Description 3D printed in colour from large scale geographical landscape scans printed as a 3D topographical representation on its coloured support structures presented in a glass dome with mahogany base in collaboration with Jeremy Gardiner and Anthony Head. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact Demonstrated the potential of 3D printing in colour powder for artists. 
URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Title Lemon Squeezer 
Description 3D printed moulds for a large ceramic artefact in collaboration with the artist Conor Wilson. Cast in slip, glazed and fired in traditional manner. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact Proved potential of 3D printing for mould making for ceramic artists. Artefact was exhibited at Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery in the exhibition 3D 2D Object and Illusion in Print curated by Dr Paul Thirkell. 
URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Title Manta 
Description 3D printed fired bone china manta in collaboration with PhD student Brendan Reid 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact Proved potential of 3D printed ceramics and led to development of ideas resulting in further funding. Artefact was exhibited at the Inside Out exhibition, Object Gallery, Sydney 2010; 2D 3D Object and Illusion in Print exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery and Norske Grafikere Tollbugaten, Oslo 2011. 
URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Title Medals of Dishonour, The Hutton Award - by Richard Hamilton 
Description The artist Richard Hamilton was commissioned by the British Art Medal Trust to create a medal to be included as part of a major exhibition Medals of Dishonour, held at the British Museum 25 June - 27 September 2009. The exhibition featured medals dating from the sixteenth century to the present day, portraying political and satirical subjects and events including acts of war, injustice, racism, political scandal and corruption. Hamilton's title for his Medal of Dishonour, The Hutton Award, refers to the Hutton Enquiry into the circumstances surrounding death of the UK government weapons advisor Dr David Kelly. Kelly had been exposed as the source of a BBC journalist's statement that the Blair government had exaggerated evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction - evidence which was presented to Parliament in September 2002 and used in support of the case for war. The enquiry, which was chaired by Baron Hutton of Bresagh, concluded that the BBC's claims were unfounded. However, critical media reports which followed the publication of Lord Hutton's findings in January 2004 described the enquiry as a "whitewash". The Hutton Award is a two-sided medal. On one face is a portrait in relief of Tony Blair, accompanied the Latin text CONFIDIMVS DEO DE ABSOLVTIONE: MMIV (trusting in God for absolution: 2004). The text makes reference to Tony Blair's statements relating to his faith and the decision to go to war in Iraq. On the obverse face is a portrait of Alastair Campbell, who was government director of communications at the time of the publication of the now notorious "September dossier", and the text HUTTON AWARD and DIALBATI (whitewash). Professor Stephen Hoskins was invited by Richard Hamilton to contribute to the realisation of his medal The Hutton Award. Research input included 3D modeling from Hamilton's original image files of the artwork, production of a series of development models by 3D printing, and CNC milling of master patterns, which were used in the foundry casting process, by which the final medals were cast in solid silver. The 3D relief portraits of Blair and Campbell were generated from greyscale 2D image files, using the "emboss" function within Geomagic software. By this method, the lightest tones of the grayscale image produce the areas of highest relief, and the darkest tones recede as the background. Hamilton prepared the original artwork for the Hutton Award as grayscale images in Adobe Photoshop. Working from press photographs of Blair and Campbell, he used Photoshop brush tools and a Wacom tablet to remodel the images, adjusting the greyscale tones to suit the relief generation process, and exaggerating certain features of his subjects - in Hamilton's rendering, Blair's smile becomes a menacing grin. In order to preview the relief, Hamilton used the bump map function in the 3D software Lightwave. The text and perimeter rim of the medal were modelled separately, using the 3D CAD software Rhinoceros, and then imported into Geomagic, to be combined with the embossed reliefs to complete the design. Physical development models for the medal were produced by 3D printing, using 3D Systems Thermojet, Envisiontec Digital Light Processing-based rapid prototyping systems, and CNC milling. The final master patterns were milled in dense polyurethane resin board using a Roland Modela MDX 540 3-axis milling machine, with a tapered cutter with 0.25 mm tip. Working from the master patterns Irene Gunston (Royal College of Art, London) produced wax master copies for casting into silver and bronze by BAC Castings Ltd (London), and these were hand finished at the RCA Foundry. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact The British Museum Medals of Dishonour exhibition which included Richard Hamilton's The Hutton Award was featured on the BBC News ' Today Programme' -The BBC's Evan Davis was shown around by the co-curators, Philip Attwood and Felicity Powell: news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/news The exhibition was also exhibited at the State Hermitage Museum, The Menshikov Palace, St Petersburg, Russia until 13 January 2013 www.hermitagemuseum.org 
URL http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/tours_and_loans/international_exhibitions/archive_internationa...
 
Title Vela 
Description This sculpture was created through the transformation of astrophysical data into tangible 3D form. The sculpture was 3D printed from a signal, detected by a radio telescope, which emanates from a distant star - a pulsar - located in the constellation of Vela, some 950 light years from Earth. The signal was transformed through a process of metamorphosis that exploits audio processing, 3D modelling and rapid prototyping technologies. The resulting 3D printed sculpture is a translation of the signal from the pulsar - a 3D manifestation of the pulsar itself, and a direct translation of sound into visual representation. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact This artwork was exhibited at 'Mixed Signals: Re-presenting Sensory Information' at Boston Cyberarts Inc, Atlantic Wharf, Boston, USA. 27 February - 13 April 2012. http://bostoncyberarts.org/category/specialproject/category/atlanticwharf/ Also exhibited in '3D 2D: Object and Illusion in Print' at Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery, Edinburgh, UK. 18 September - 30 October 2010. Catalogue http://www.edinburgh-printmakers.co.uk/pdfs/45essay.pdf http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/dissemination/exhibitions/3d2d_2010.html 
URL http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16561/
 
Description Although 3D rendering and output technologies have been on the market for some time, in 2009 their presence as a unified means of creating and outputting fine art objects had only recently begun to be explored by artists. While 3D technology has been used from an engineering perspective to assist the technical production of ambitious sculptural pieces in varying degrees since its development in the 1960's and 70's, it is only in the last decade or so that artists have begun to adopt it as a new, accessible means for both exploring and creating sculptural space. Pieces such as Anthony Gormley's 1999 'Quantum Cloud' perhaps represent something of a culmination of this new form of artistic engagement. Other key
works such as Karin Sanders 2002 work 'Sculpture 1:96' however, embody a potential scanning and Rapid Prototype output route that holds many similarities to those offered a decade or so previously with digital printing for artists. Through the development and
broadened accessibility of 3D scanning, CAD software and object output devices; a similarly expansive area of artistic exploration has now emerged.

A seminar held at the beginning of this research project (2007) revealed how the accessibility of such technology was beginning to foster a broad range of creativity from UK artist, designermakers and crafts practitioners. The presence of artist accessible scanning methods and the increased user friendliness of 3D software revealed a common thread between the different disciplines however, for all, there appeared to exist a series of challenges at the output phase for realizing the objects output potential. A number of possible solutions from the production of casting matrices, laser cutting to Rapid Prototype output were presented at the seminar. Each revealed much promise and many areas for further development.

Through focusing on the potential of Rapid Prototype (RP) output and CNC milling, the project was equipped with a range of technology that was gauged to represent some of the typical devices (from input to output) that have recently become increasing accessibility for artists. To explore potential in relation to a continuum of practice, research was undertaken to practically consolidate routes which could assist in incorporating the creative flexibility of digital 3D rendering with the material and tactile qualities inherently associated with art and craft practice. At first the research specifically focused on the direct output of finished objects produced conventionally through the additive, 3D colour printing process. These revealed the current scope of material and build parameters intrinsic to the area of production. Data searches and surveys were also used to build and assess an overall picture of the 3D field. Practical research carried out to assess the value of existing technology was subsequently used as a basis on which experimental research to modify and refine existing technology for creative use. Additionally, the facilitation and evaluation of methods developed through the research for the production of artefacts were applied and documented in the form of case studies. These were done in relation to the creative needs of a diverse selection of arts & craft practitioners.

In relation to a primary objective of the project, possibilities for substituting the various powdered materials developed for the present scope of 3D printing with those that may facilitate the production of a permanent original rather than a temporary prototype were explored. This was done through the modification of a Zcorp powder printer. Initial tests revealed great promise, however, to develop the concept towards being a viable option for use by artists or aspects of industry for that matter, required a considerable investment of time to consolidate a number of factors. While the possibility of this approach being used to print decorated, glazed objects in one printing that only needed a single firing to make them permanent was envisaged through the projects objectives, the need to refine the initial tests in printing with a raw ceramic powder excluded the possibility of enhancing the innovation with the addition of a glazed element. This has led to further funding for research to develop a unique ceramic material for use with 3D printing technology, development continues and problems encountered along the way such as layer shift, green strength, firing contraction and surface porosity have all been considerably improved.
Exploitation Route Throughout the project strengths & weaknesses of a broad cross section of 3D technologies were tested. These included additive 3D printing methods and subtractive methods such as CNC milling. As is evident from a number of case studies carried out during the research,
various strengths and weaknesses of the different technologies emerge for artists on a caseby-case basis. This depended on the intentions of the artist and often revolved around the varying emphasis of the elements of the piece. In the case of the Richard Hamilton's 'Medal of Dishonour', the fine detail intrinsic to CNC milling was found to be most appropriate for producing mould that could be cast in silver. Another case study, this time involving the casting of glass favoured the softer detail of additive Z corp output over CNC milling to produce the master. Whilst the output of the Objet machine also produced highly detailed polymer resin objects, many of the artists preferred the less detailed but more tactile option of
plaster output from the ZCorp machine rather than the plastic like finish of the Objet. The option of colour from the ZCorp printers also provided a unique fusion of object and image that was not possible with any of the other technologies. This aspect inspired a number of unique explorations incorporating colour and form that were documented among the case studies. An assessment of the current scope of colour quality offered by Rapid Prototype machines revealed weaknesses in relation to the sophistication of inkjet colour. To optimize the colour capabilities of the ZCorp machine used for the project a series of colour look up charts were produced to enable a more predictable choice of colour to be made by the user.
Whilst these were based on the generation of three colour machines (CMY + a neutral binder), a new generation of four colour (CMYK + binder) were released subsequent to this project, promising even more scope for colour enhanced object printing. To gain the best possible colour quality from the printed objects a range of coatings from the standard wax immersion methods recommended by the manufacturers to other non standard methods were tested. One of the most promising revealed through the research was a crystal resin coating method that was found to hold similar properties to ceramic glazing and had along with its colour intensifying capabilities the potential for adding strength to the printed form.
We have also proved it is now possible to print a surface relief with sufficient detail to produce a glazed photo on a ceramic tile. The alternative method of using CNC to mill tiles required up to fifteen hours of machining time to cut the relief into a plaster substrate, then several hours of mould making and slip casting. It is perhaps significant to note that we have proved it is possible for a 3D ceramic tile to be printed directly from a 3D file in less than half an hour.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/research/3D/research_projects/fabricationof3d.html
 
Description The research project sought to link 3D digital image construction with the output of 3D objects using commercially designed rapid prototyping technology. The study was undertaken from the perspective of the artist/ craftsperson and sought to adapt its generic, intermediary, industrial role as a tool for creation of temporary prototypes to the production of one off, permenent bespoke or limited edition artefacts. As the current generation of this technology is now more affordable to the fine art practitioner, there was much scope for amassing industrial knowledge and combining them with objectives and insights central to art and craft production in order to establish and articulate a new dimension to the field. In order to illustrate these principles the project pursued the problem from the perspective of the fine art ceramicist, adapting the printing mechanism of 3D print output to print clay bodied pieces which could be fired to produce permanent ceramic objects and assess their potential for both art and industry. In undertaking this task the study comprehensively tested how workflow relating to design and output of permanent objects from the printer could be achieved. In addition to this the project investigated the capacity for printing objects in a full range of colour and produced a series of methods for colour management of 3D printed objects. We fully achieved the first aim by developing a system for printing high quality fired ceramic artefacts thus enabling control of the tactile and material qualities associated with art and craft practice. The second aim required methodologies for creating colour management profiles for printing 3D coloured objects. New technology was created superceding the equiment capable of being purchased within the scope of this project (new Zcorp machine £55000)therefore robust colour management profiles were created which are transferable to any generation of 3D colour printing machinery. These profiles are becoming a benchmark within the colour science community as previously no survey had been undertaken within this field. CFPR has subsequently collaborated with Zargreb University, the only other research institution investigating this problem, to investigate the potential of measurable colour therefore reproducable colour within 3D colour printing. Objectives: 1. Survey the field of industrial and craft use of 3D craft printing in order to map the potential from an art and craft perspective including software and hardware. 2. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of additive 3D printing methods in relation to subtractive methods such as CNC milling 3. Investigate the possibilities of substituting the various powdered materials developed for the present scope of 3D printing with those that may facilitate the production of a permanent original rather than a temporary prototype 4. Pursue the possibility for printing and firing clay bodies to create ceramic artefacts 5. Investigate how permanent colour can be incorporated at the object printing stage - especially in relation to ceramic decoration Objectives 1, 2, 3 and 4 were fully met but 3 and 4 took far longer to achieve than anticipated due to intense competition in the field - this project had to go beyond the original scope of proof of concept to being able to produce high quality finished artefact. On further investigation objective 5 a change of emphasis took place, the potential that others would develop suitable methods for incorporating ceramic glazed particulates into an inkjet head did not occur during the project life. Therefore we could not develop colour methods for ink jetting glaze onto a ceramic body, instead we concentrating on models for improving colour and its permanence using available industrial rapid prototyping technologies. The development of ceramic bodies for rapid prototyping has considerable importance to academia. It will move rapid prototyping from object representation into the area of actual object generation
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description 3D digital technologies public demonstration at the At-Bristol Science Centre, Bristol, 8 - 9 April 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 2 Day presentation and series of talks at @Bristol the Science and Technology Centre in Bristol (now called, We are the Curious). Attended by a large general public audience with a complete range of abilities from small children through to informed professionals
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017