3-D Printing: Art made real

By Cody McFarland

The shapes and sizes of the art on display in the Eddie Rhodes Gallery are as intriguing and diverse as the possibilities of the ever-progressing media used by the featured artists: 3D printing and computer numerical control carving.

Titled “Return of the Thing,” the exhibit features the work of four local artists — Robert Geshlinder, Robert Michael Smith, Kim Thoman and Andrew Werby.

The reception took place on March 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., during which time guests were provided refreshments and allowed to peruse the gallery, interact with the artists, try their hand at using digital sculpting software and attend a guest lecture by Smith, who has worked with 3D printing since the late ‘90s and is an associate professor of fine arts at the New York Institute of Technology.

Throughout the reception, a desktop 3D printer set up in the gallery provided a live demonstration of how the technology works.

“I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the electronic revolution,” Smith said during his lecture. “(3D printing) technology will take a decade to become ubiquitous, and another decade before it is of the desired quality. Then again, my projections tend to be longer than what happens in reality.”

Objects that are 3D printed require either a full-color printing process in which a gypsum powder and a binding agent used to solidify the object are set and CMYK is applied, or the extruded method where a filament material is melted and deposited in layers to create the object. CNC carving is a subtractive technology that uses computers to precisely carve raw materials, such as stone and wood.

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