3D Printing

To Sculptor Kevin Caron, 3D Printers are Just Another Tool to Help Him Make Art

Kevin Caron is an artist and vlogger who uses 3D printers to prototype his new sculpture concepts. In his latest 3D printing video Kevin discusses his reasons for switching to a new Open Source Cerberus Delta style 3D printer and he also shows off his impressive computer speaker collection.

Kevin Caron 3d printingOn his YouTube channel, Kevin regularly demonstrates the tools that he uses and discusses the various techniques that he employs to create his large metal sculptures and artwork, including an introduction to 3D printing with his Cubex. In his latest 3D printing video he shows off and discusses why he’s upgrading to a delta style Cerberus 3D printer. He’s just testing a model in this video before the 8 foot tall version that is being custom made for him by Steve and Jacob Graber – the creators of the Cerberus Pup 3D printer – is delivered.

Now, obviously comparing a printer like the Cubex to a custom made delta printer is probably a little unfair. Not just due to the disparity of size, but the technology in the Cubex is almost two years old and, well, let’s face it not 3D Systems best work. But he does raise some interesting points about the differences between printers that use an XY axis versus a delta 3D printer, namely that delta printers tend to print faster and more accurately. Take a look at the video here:

Caron is clearly not an expert on 3D printing, so there aren’t going to be any insights into the process if you’re already familiar. And his 3D printing videos do sort of remind me of the first time that I received a video (on a VHS tape sent in the mail) from my grandparents as they showed off their new driveway. Granted Caron’s videos are of a much higher quality than the 8 minutes of my grandfather explaining why he chose paving stones rather than concrete and my grandmother asking what paving stones were. Not for her benefit mind you, but just in case I didn’t know what they were. But I do find his folksy approach to discussing his tools without the trappings of industry politics rather charming, and a little enlightening.

To him, 3D printing is just a tool of his trade, a way for him to conceptualise his artwork before he starts building. He has no loyalty to any specific company, he has no stake in the politics of open versus closed source, he simply uses a 3D printer because he needs to 3D print stuff.

CubeX 3d printer 3d systems

Watching him come to many of the same conclusions that industry insiders and early adopters of the Cubex platform — and many of the other consumer 3D printers — came to was very interesting. 3D Systems, Stratasys and all of the other large consumer 3D printer manufacturers should really take note of this video. Not because Kevin Caron is an expert, but rather because he isn’t an expert. He’s exactly the type of customer that they are trying to win over.

Now not everyone would agree with me here — industry politics and all — but I happen to think that 3D Systems has moved past many of the initial problems with the Cubex and seems to be correcting them in newer Cube models. Or at least they are heading in that general direction. But none of that matters to Caron, because he doesn’t care about those industry politics, like I said, he just wants a 3D printer that does what he wants it to do with as little hassle as possible. And he’s not buying another Cube, he’s going open source and he isn’t alone. So, that brings me to my question: are large 3D printing manufacturers really happy with only selling consumers their first 3D printers while someone else sells them their last?