3D Printing Art: How New Technology is Changing the Way Sculpture Is Made

3D printing art

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In this post I will cover some of the questions typically asked when an artist is considering the use of 3D printing when creating art and I will also provide links to video resources that show how art can be 3D printed.

Traditional sculpture methods are time consuming and difficult. It can take an artist weeks, even months, to create a single sculpture using traditional methods. This process is often very labor intensive, and the results are not always what the artist is hoping for.

With 3D printing art, you can create amazing sculptures in a fraction of the time it would take to create them using traditional methods. You can also print multiple versions of your sculpture until you get the perfect result.

3D printing is a new technology that has many potential applications in the art world. One of the most exciting possibilities for 3D printing is its ability to create sculptures.

This process usually involves an artist sketching out their ideas, and then developing the object from there. With 3D printing art, this process can be managed digitally and mistakes can be fixed on the fly without wasting valuable materials. 

scultpture 3d print

What is 3D printing and how does it work?

3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file and using a 3D printer.

The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by successively adding material layer by layer, usually building the model or sculpture up from the base layer all the way to the top until it is complete.

3D printers used to be out of reach for most people on a budget let alone artists but as with all technology, the costs and barriers to entry start to drop as the technology is more widely adopted. For example, the first time I saw a 3D printer it was close to $20,000 for a printer.

These days I can pick up a reasonable 3D printer for under $1000 and the size of the printers have also become much smaller, allowing them to be placed in home studios and small studio spaces.

things to 3d print when bored
Image by Graftencom from Pixabay

How is 3D printing used in art?

3D printing can be used in many different ways to create art. One popular method is to use 3D printed molds to cast metals or other materials. Casting is a commonly used method when making bronze sculptures.

This allows artists to create highly detailed sculptures that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to create using traditional methods.

Additionally, 3D printing can be used to create multiple versions of a sculpture until the perfect result is achieved.

What can an artist do with a 3D printer?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D printing and art. 3D printers can create sculptures of any size, shape, or color.

Artists are also experimenting with 3D printing human organs and body parts. In the future, we may see entire museums dedicated to 3D printed art.

Artists can use 3D printers to create copies or variations of existing artworks, they can make 3D renderings of 2D paintings. Imagine a Vermeer painting in 3D!

You can also use a 3D printer to make renderings of organic shapes found in nature, of animals, plants, flowers and the like.

As a painter, I am excited to try 3D printing art models and studies so that I have a realistic reference to a mental image.

Is 3D printing considered art?

When we ask this question we are questioning the tools and the process rather than the execution of an idea.

Do we ask if paint brushes or chisels are art? No we do not.

As I mentioned earlier 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

3D printing art refers to processes in which an artist has designed an artwork and then used material solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with material being added together layer by layer.

So yes, 3D printing can be considered art.

What are the benefits of 3D printing art?

The benefits of 3D printing art are that it allows artists to create amazing works of sculpture straight from a computer, it is cheaper than traditional methods, and it offers more freedom and flexibility to artists. Additionally, 3D printing provides an opportunity for artists to experiment with new materials and techniques and to do so quickly.

Traditional sculptors and painters may use 3D printing to enhance the traditional processes of making art.

Additionally, if you are not the greatest sculptor and are just starting out, then 3D printing can help fix many of the costly mistakes you make using traditional methods before you waste valuable materials.

Is 3D printing creative?

Yes and no. For 3D printing art to work, an artist still needs to design the artwork digitally. A 3D printer can’t just spit out an artwork without first using software to create an initial design (no different to creating a thumbnail sketch before painting).

3D printing can enhance the artistic process by speeding the process along.

3D printing can be considered creative because it allows artists to experiment with new materials and techniques.

3D printing provides artists with an opportunity to create amazing works of sculpture that would not be possible with traditional methods without becoming an expert at modeling and sculpture.

So, if you are looking for a creative outlet, 3D printing may be the perfect option for you! Thanks for reading!

How has 3D printing changed art?

3D printing has changed art by giving artists more freedom to create whatever they can imagine. 3D printing has also made it possible to create art that is interactive and can be touched, held, or even worn.

3D printing has made art more accessible to the public, as well as making it possible to create art in a shorter amount of time. 3D printing has also allowed artists to create larger works of art than ever before.

How has 3D printing changed the way artists create their work?

Before 3D printing, if an artist wanted to make a three-dimensional object, they would have to sculpt it by hand or use a mold.

3D printing has made it possible for artists to create their work directly from a computer file.

This means that artists can now create more intricate designs and larger works of art than ever before. 3D printing has also made it possible for artists to create artwork that is interactive and can be touched, held, or even worn.

How much are 3D printers?

The price of 3D printers varies depending on the brand, quality, and features. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $5000 for a 3D printer depending on the store, brand and supplier.

I have a few linked here on Amazon if you are curious about the cost of more affordable printers in the lower end of the price range.

Official Creality Ender 3 S1 3D Printer, Upgraded Direct Drive FDM 3D Printers, Quick Assembly, with Auto Leveling Bed, Dual Z-axis Screws, Spring Steel Print Bed, Build Size 220x220x270 mm
Official Creality Ender 3 S1 3D Printer, Upgraded Direct Drive FDM 3D Printers, Quick Assembly, with Auto Leveling Bed, Dual Z-axis Screws, Spring Steel Print Bed, Build Size 220x220x270 mm
  • 【”Sprite” Direct Dual-gear Extruder】Creality Ender-3 S1 3D Printers Use Brand-new self-developed “Sprite” direct dual-gear extruder features two chrome steel gears . The extruder realizes smooth feeding and discharging of filaments without slipping and works extremely well in printing flexible filaments such as TPU. Compared with other direct extruders, the “Sprite” is lighter and features less inertia and more precise positioning.
  • 【CR Touch AUTO-Leveling bed 】Ender 3 S1 3D printer is equipped with CR Touch Sensor, which is indepently developed. The intelligent leveling system can automatically compensate the error height (accuracy ±0.04mm) at different points of the printing bed, which effectively improves the model printing quality and printing success rate, and makes leveling bed more easily more precise.
  • 【Power Loss Recovery and Filament Sensor】Ender-3 S1 features the function of detecting filament runout or breakage/power loss and resume printing after recovery. By accurately recording the printing data at the time of power outage/filament runout or breakage, it helps to avoid the waste of filaments and time caused by accidents.
  • 【High-precision Dual Z-Axis Higher Printing Precision】With a Z-axis dual-screw+Z-axis dual-motor design, Ender 3S1 works smoother and more synchronously to lower the possibility of lines and ridges on the sides of your print, thus improving the printing quality.
  • 【After Sale Worry-Free】Creality 3D printers are provided lifetime technical assistance and 12-months hardware warranty. Whenever or why, when encountering any printing problems you can contact our shop seller, We will provide you with the most perfect solution.
FLASHFORGE Adventurer 3 3D Printer Leveling-Free with Quick Removable Nozzle and Heating Bed, Built-in HD Camera, Wi-Fi Cloud Printing
FLASHFORGE Adventurer 3 3D Printer Leveling-Free with Quick Removable Nozzle and Heating Bed, Built-in HD Camera, Wi-Fi Cloud Printing
  • 【Leveling Free】– Build plate is well leveled in the factory.Removable and Heating bed,much easier to take down models.It’s suitable for various 3d printer filament PLA,ABS,PETG filament etc.
  • 【New Quick Detachable Nozzle】– loading more smoothly with new nozzle and more compatible with third-party filaments. Remove the nozzle from extruder just in one push; Stainless steel tube material; Nozzle fast heated to 240°C in 50 seconds.If you need to print high-temperature filaments, you could purchase additional a 0.3, 0.4, 0.6mm 265℃ nozzle.
  • 【Filament detection function】– Printing will be suspended automatically when filament is broken or used up, and printing will be resumed after user replaces the new filament.
  • 【Out of the box】– Best 3d printers for beginners,super quiet,the sound of operation is 50 decibels. A fun STEM educational experience in mechanical engineering and electronics.
  • 【What you get】– Flashforge 3d printer Adventurer 3,12 months warranty, lifetime technical assistance and 24 hours professional customer service.

3D printing art – Supporting videos

There are a few videos that will help demystify the process of 3D printing art. I will start with a simple one that quickly shows how to print a small model. You can use this process to make your own artistic models.

This interesting video shows how 3D printing is used as a tool to produce a large scale sculpture.

I have also linked to some interesting things that can be 3D printed and considered art.

3D Printing art – wrap up!

What do you think 3D printing will do for the future of art? 3D printing will continue to change the way we think about art and its place in our lives.

3D printing will make it possible for anyone to be an artist, regardless of training or experience. It’s an exciting time to be an artist!

Do you have any questions about 3D printing art? Leave a note on my Instagram or on the Contact Us page and let me know! I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!


Image by Maciej Czerwonka from Pixabay

Image by Graftencom from Pixabay

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Joe Colella - Chief Wasted Talent
Joe Colella – Chief Wasted Talent

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