Art & Sculpture

Large-scale 3D printed sculptures to debut at York Mediale, a new digital art festival

As part of the York Mediale festival 2018, British-Colombian artist Matthew Plummer-Fernandez will exhibit a new series of large-scale 3D printed sculptures examining the future of manufacturing, digital fabrication and the creative potential of 3D printing.

Plummer-Fernandez has designed his pieces using a mixture of scripted algorithms and 3D software. They will be manufactured by 3D printing startup Fluxaxis, a sister company of engineering design firm Stage One, where Plummer-Fernandez is artist-in-residence.

The initial design of one of the sculptures, scripted with Python, exported to Blender and colored in CCC. Photo via Matthew Plummer-Fernandez.

Pushing large-scale 3D design to its limits

Plummer-Fernandez, a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, extensively uses 3D technologies in his work. He previously used Shapeways 3D printing technology to create a low-poly piece called “Venus of Google” and produced 3D software-based interactive exhibit called “Disarming Corruptor.”

For this latest project, Plummer-Fernandez began by sketching out the complex spaghetti-like forms of the sculptures, based on “algo-spirals” (spirals generated by computer algorithms). The spirals are a convoluted string of repeated objects, that vary depending on the piece.

With the spirals sketched out, Plummer-Fernandez then coded the spirals using Python. A 3D render was developed by running the code through Blender 3D software.

Before 3D printing the initial test models and prototypes of his sculptures, Plummer-Fernandez colored and sliced his models using CCC, a parametric software he himself created.

Plummer Fernandez designing his sculptures with a 3D printed prototype. Photo via Fluxaxis.

Spotlight on digital design

When the method of scaling up the designs is finalized, Fluxaxis will fabricate the sculptures using on its HP Multi Jet Fusion 4200 3D printer. Each sculpture will be fabricated out of Nylon PA12 and it will have a layer height of 0.08m. Post-processing will be completed in the Fluxaxis Poseidon 5-Axis CNC Machining Centre.

Explaining the ideas behind one of the sculptures in this series, “Housing Solver v0.1,” Plummer-Fernandez said, “I like these impossible housing schemes and the algo-solutionism to crunch n’ solve housing numbers.”

Tom Higham, York Mediale’s creative director added:

“We are working with the community and creative partners from the ground up, to create work that is challenging, inspiring and a lot of fun – we want people to experience something completely new, unexpected and different.”

Plummer-Fernandez’s works will be on display alongside the work of a number of other digital artists at the York Mediale from 27 September to 6 October 2018.

Let us know about creative applications of 3D printing and make your nominations for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2018 now.

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Featured image shows a render of upcoming sculpture Housing Solver v0.1. Photo via Matthew Plummer-Fernandez.