3D printing and colour: A multidisciplinary investigation
Huson, D., Parraman, C. and Walters, P. (2011) 3D printing and colour: A multidisciplinary investigation. In: Hoskins, S., ed. (2011) IMPACT 6 Multidisciplinary Printmaking Conference Proceedings. Bristol: Unviersity of the West of England, pp. 31-38. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/10860
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Publisher's URL: http://www.create.uwe.ac.uk/conf3.htm
We present ongoing research undertaken within the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England, which aims to investigate and exploit new 3D printing and fabrication technologies within the context of the Fine and Applied Arts and Crafts. This research is funded by a large grant from the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and Research Councils UK. The Centre has a well-established track record in practice-led research within fine art printmaking and print technologies, supporting the creative activities of leading artists, as well as working closely with scientists, technologists and manufacturers within the printing industry. Extending our enquiry to encompass emerging 3D media was a natural progression. Staff within the Centre’s 3D Printing Laboratory come from a broad range of backgrounds, including printmaking and digital art, sculpture, ceramics technology, industrial design and prototyping technologies. Our ongoing research interests are also wide ranging: developing appropriate methodologies to support art practitioners in the creative use of 3D technologies; the development of a new process for the direct 3D printing of art and craft artefacts in ceramic materials; 3D fabrication of “smart” devices for robotics applications and interactive artworks. 3D printing involves the use of computer-controlled machines to construct physical objects directly from computer aided design data. Our research explores novel uses for 3D printing in areas outside the “mainstream” industrial applications for which the technologies were developed. We begin introducing our exploration 3D printing within the context of the creative arts, and go on to describe aspects of the technical and aesthetic scope of these new and rapidly emerging technologies, illustrated by practical examples. We then present a project which set out to investigate some of the capabilities and limitations of current colour 3D printing technologies, focussing on the powder-binder 3D printing system (Z Corporation, Massachusetts, USA). Issues identified relate to on-screen pre-visualisation, and the accuracy and consistency of the colour 3D printed output. We describe the production of 3D printed colour charts and samples, to aid artists and designers in their selection of colours for 3D printed artefacts. Through our investigation of new and novel applications for 3D printing technologies, the Centre for Fine Print Research aims to open up further possibilities for creative practitioners across the art and design disciplines and beyond.