I made these pieces for the first annual 3D Print Show in London, 2012, in an attempt to show that, with the right finishes
and attention to detail, 3D printers can produce objects of art worthy
of public and private display. Not just miniature
figurines, or toys, or practical household objects, and not just
prototypes. They can
do more than evoke the desired object, they can be objects of
But I chose these subjects in particular — elemental, archetypal
museum pieces — to try to advance a different but complementary idea,
that with 3D scanning and 3D printing, private collectors and museums
have an unprecedented opportunity to recast themselves as living
engines of cultural creation. They can digitize their three
dimensional collections and project them outward into the
public realm to be adapted, multiplied, and remixed.
They should do this because the best place to celebrate great art is
in a vibrant, lively, and anarchic popular culture. The world's back
catalog of art should be set free to run wild in our visual, and now
tactile, landscape, and whether it turns up lit in pixels on our
screens, rematerialized in our living rooms, or embedded in our
architecture or clothing, it's all to the good.
And for forward-thinking, innovative institutions and collectors, and
for everyone involved in this young industry, there's prestige, money,
value, meaning, and beauty to be made in making this a reality.
- Cosmo Wenman
October, 2012 Portraits of Alexander the Great, -300, 1440, 1945 in
Lost Bronze, Firenze, and Wrecked Iron.
Portrait of Alexander the Great, -300 in Lost
Bronze. A bronze precursor to the British Museum's marble, with a
variegated green patina that might form after 2,312 years of
Portrait of Alexander the Great, 1440 in Firenze.
A deep, dark bronze, cared for its entire life, with shiny highlights
on its brow, nose, lips, hair, and chin, where its admirers have
touched it and inadvertently polished it bright over the centuries.
Portrait of Alexander the Great, 1945 in Wrecked
Iron. The conqueror king as rusted, abandoned industrial wreckage.
Head of a horse of Selene in Epic Bronze.
A well maintained, lightly patinaed outdoor bronze, its muzzle polished bright where people have pet it as they would a real horse.
Print progress photo. The British Museum calls the original "perhaps the most famous and best loved of all the sculptures of the Parthenon." I've seen a few references which state that plaster casts of this sculpture were extremely popular in the 19th century, and I can believe it — I find it extremely expressive and stirring in person, and I hope my reproduction captures and transmits at least some of that experience.
Portrait of Alexander the Great and Head of a
horse of Selene.
"Work in progress" teaser video, October 8, 2012
2012 London 3D Print Show Teaser Promo, published October 8, 2012
3D print of Bronze Head of Hypnos, finished in Green Sleep, presented at Autodesk University, Las Vegas 2012.
There's something surreal about the whole scan/edit/print process that's hard to describe. Like a dream, it needs to be experienced to be appreciated. But if there are sculptures that resonate with and might be able to communicate some of that weirdness, the ancient bronze Head of Hypnos in the British Museum is one of them.
The subject: the god of sleep, father to Morpheus, god of dreams—the design: the piece's odd asymmetry, the single wing, and the missing wing, the ambiguous gender. The whole package makes for a remarkable artifact of otherworldliness which has spoken to people across time.
In 1909, when he was on his way back from a tour of Syria, T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") passed through Naples and wrote a friend "The bronzes in the Naples museum are beyond words." Lawrence visited a Neapolitan bronze foundry and bought a cheap, flawed freehand copy of the bronze Hypnos head now in the British Museum.
Lawrence loved his Hypnos. He wrote to a friend: "nothing, not even the dawn—can disturb me in my curtains: only the slow crumblings of the coals in the fire: they get so red & throw such splendid glimmerings on the Hypnos." He also wrote "I would rather possess a fine piece of sculpture than anything in the world."
The whereabouts of Lawrence's Hypnos are unrecorded, but a friend of mine has good reason to believe he owns it (but that's another story), so I'm in a bit of a friendly competition to get one of my own—and now I have it.
I scanned Hypnos in the British Museum using Autodesk 123D Catch, printed it in PLA on a MakerBot Replicator, and coated it in bronze with a blue-green patina with Alternate Reality Patinas in an attempt to make it appear as old and hypnotic as the original.
— Cosmo Wenman
This print is on display at the Autodesk University event, November 27, 28, 29, in Las Vegas, along with my other British Museum scans/prints, and will also be displayed in the MakerBot exhibit at CES 2013. (Right-click image to view full size.)
My Cosmonaut figure as Venus, on a Replicator, after Botticelli. Archetype meets Renaissance meets 1920s futurism meets bleeding-edge pop culture. She's getting closer and closer to stepping out into the real world.
Shark, glass, silicone, plastic, 1.5% Red Bull solution, 30 x 15 x 20 cm. This original work is offered for sale directly from the artist's studio, and will be delivered to the buyer by the artist himself (pending helipad proximity). Serious inquiries only, please. (Even Damian Hirst's shark likes it!)
The "Sexyboy" series of collectable art collector art toys celebrates the world's most prodigious collectors of fine art. I am producing an extremely limited run of hand-painted, signed originals (for serious inquiries, please contact Barrett White, firstname.lastname@example.org at christiesprivatesales.com), but I'm sharing the printable .stl files for everyone to enjoy.
Here's my first attempt at troubleshooting a slightly more complex object — an original "Botlet" robot designed by Christopher Romano. Chris sent me the figure's specs in .obj file format, with the figure broken down a couple ways: as a single solid/envelope, as a collection of major parts, and as a collection of major parts, each split in half so as to eliminate overhangs and create a flat surface as a base for each.
For the first test print I tried the split-in-half parts, all ganged up into one batch. I printed them without a raft because I needed smooth surfaces for gluing the finished parts together. But every piece presents an opportunity for something to come untsuck from the build platform. Especially small pieces; the lower their area-to-perimeter ratio, the more likely it seems these suckers start peeling up due to uneven or rapid cooling, ruining the print run. Fifteen thin, curled pieces of robot-cross-section garbage later, I had a feeling this approach was a dead end.
For the next run I tried coaxing ReplicatorG to print just the top half, from mid-shoulders up. I thought if I submerged the .stl model into the build platform, it might just print from there up. Nope. It printed the whole thing. Even though I knew the lower arm would be a mess, I let it continue to run so I could see what other overhangs might be problematic. The lower arm printed entirely onto empty space and is all spaghettied, as expected. A little bit of his junk is falling off, as well as some of his jawline, upper elbow, and wrist. But the rest looks good.
I scaled the last test up a bit, and turned on external supports. The supports fixed the lower arm problem, but for as much material as it uses, the software didn't put any supports in a few places that needed them. The jawline still sagged, and one of the lower fingers had only a pinpoint of support and came unattached. I had to glue it back on.
The top of the head seems just a bit too flat, and that sagged into the hollow space below. I think if I'd turned on some interior infill it would have been OK. (I printed at 0% infill: completely hollow.)
I could have spent more time preparing the completed print prior to painting, but I wasn't really shooting for a "finished" result, and I need to work fast or else I get distracted thinking about the next object to print. After a hasty paint job, I'm pretty happy with the result for this round, and I think I know how to tweak the whole process for a much nicer end product. Here's the target, "Nuts the robot", in action.
About my video:
I think I did a decent job with some of the camera jostling and blurring this time. Yes, it's a bit more subtle: I'm still trying to find the perfect degree of disorienting motion. And I'm not slacking with the sound - I did my best to find a thematically appropriate yet head-poundingly jarring, repetitive soundtrack. I thought I really hit the mark with Daft Punk's "Robot Rock" in the original (now deleted) upload of this video, but then I got this helpful message from YouTube. No joke:
"Your video "Makerbot Replicator Robot" may include the following copyrighted content: "Daft Punk-Robot Rock", sound recording administered by: EMI What does this mean? Your video is blocked in 237 countries: Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo - Democratic Republic of Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d'Ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Faroe Islands [plus another 150+ countries no one's ever heard of] ... Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
Your video is still available in 10 countries: Aland Islands Guernsey Isle of Man Jersey Montenegro Saint Barthelemy Saint Martin Serbia South Sudan West Bank"
Thanks EMI! (Somebody should write a song about those guys.)
I've got peeps in the Falkland Islands who are dying to see my Makerbot videos, so Crystal Method it is. Still edgy to me, but maybe I'm dating myself...
Gotta try to work in some Dubstep while it's still hep. I'd *really* like to use Orinoco Ninja Flow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xirQPCsL1us), but that might freak out the squares a bit *too* much :)
First run of my MakerBot Replicator, printing a default test object: the spiral box. I took this opportunity to explore the elements of the perfect YouTube video: an unnecessarily long 30-second intro before the action starts, cameras that are both shaky and blurry, and an overwrought electronica soundtrack. When I have a bit more time I'll plaster it with comment overlays. Enjoy!
A crude little portrait of a crude little man — MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd, emblazoned with the 09F9 AACS encryption key. I created this object and published a torrent of it on The Pirate Bay as soon as those crazy bastards announced their "physibles" category on January 23, 2012. The torrent is here. Print it, and behold the visage of yesteryear.