3D Printing

Bringing 3D Printed Art to the Gumball Machine

3D printing educator and blogger Josh Ajima unveiled The Incredible 3D Printing Gumball Gallery earlier in the month at the Virginia Society for Technology in Education conference. The Heroes of 3D Printing: Designers and Artists Series #1 is the first set of 3D printed trinkets available in his machine, and the series features the works of several top 3D designers and artists in the world.

Ajima’s plan is to take the gumball machine with him as he travels the country to speaking engagements, conventions, maker faires, schools and art venues dispensing free 3D printed art in 2-inch vending machine capsules. Each capsule will have one of eight 3D printed designs, a fact sheet about each print’s artist and model, as well as information about 3D printing and design. The goal is to show the types of art and design that can be accomplished with a device that many people believe is only capable of producing toys.

heroes of 3D printing gumball galleryAjima explained why he chose to use a gumball machine to give away free 3D printed art: “The use of a vending machine as the basis for the art installation embraces the joys of childhood. As patrons interact with the 3D Gumball Gallery they rediscover the kinesthetic sensation of the mechanical and the moment of suspense before popping open the capsule and revealing the contents. The random dispensing of models and colors asks the patron to closely examine a work other than one they would have picked for themselves.”

The models that Ajima chose are intended to show off a wide range of applications for 3D printing by offering toys, sculpture, art, historical recreations and mathematical concepts. Each model designer was invited to contribute to the information on their personalized fact sheet and provides links for the patron to explore more of their works.

dizingof 3D printed gumball machineThe featured artists in the Heroes of 3D Printing: Designers and Artists Series #1 includes a wide variety of talented 3D designers of some very recognizable 3D printable models. Broadway set designer Kacie Hultgren of PrettySmallThings submitted a miniature Queen Anne style chair. 3D artist Asher Nahmias, aka Dizingof, submitted his non-orientable math art sculpture, the Klein Bottle. Mathematician and 3D designer Laura Taalman submitted her cool Fidget Cube, which prints with multiple hinges and moving parts in a single piece. Inventor and artist Isaac Budmen designed a WORD Sculpture inspired by the iconic LOVE sculpture.

Christina Chun created the humorous The Gramps figure, while The Great Fredini scanned an original Coney Island Kewpie Doll from the early 1900’s and produced a mini recreation. Author Carla Diana produced a Tiny Sheep figure from her children’s 3D printing education book Leo the Maker Prince. And, finally, 3D designer Chris Krueger from The New Hobbyist offered up a Printable 3D Skill Badge, inspired by the skill badges given out by Maker/hobbyist store and community Adafruit.

gumball gallery of 3d prints

There are more series planned for the Incredible 3D Printing Gumball Gallery going forward, and Ajima said that he intends to include work designed by students and models made specifically for the gallery. You can find out more about the Gumball Gallery, the Heroes of 3D Printing: Designers and Artists Series #1, and Josh Ajima on his 3D printing and education blog Design Make Teach.