May 13, 2015 | By Alec

While we see a lot of inspiring and highly artistic 3D printing projects come by, but some stick by us more than others, for whatever reason. In the case of the artists collective We The Builders from Baltimore, it has undoubtedly been their original approach to community-based art. You might remember that they created a 3D printed and very colorful bust of Benjamin Franklin (below) last summer, relying on the 3D printing community to make the 198 pieces in whatever material and color they choose.

That project was such a success, that We The Builders are back for more, with a larger and more ambitious project and tribute to perhaps the greatest writer to ever grace the city of Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe. ‘We're crowdsourcing Edgar Allan Poe this time. It's 250 pieces, and we hope to have even more folks help out this time. Ben Franklin and George Washington both came out amazing, and we're excited to see what Edgar Allan Print will look like,’ the We The Builders team tells Why Poe? Primarily because of his ties to Baltimore itself. ‘We The Builders was formed at a hackathon in Baltimore, so it seemed fitting.’

And as they explain, they are doing things a little differently this time to get a more striking result that last time. ‘We’re going to try to guide the randomness of the final sculpture by asking you to print with darker filament for the hair, and lighter colors for the skin,’ they say. ‘You've got your blacks, purples, deep blues, browns etc, and then the skin and scarf of Poe is going to be lighter colors. Whites, pastels, etc. You are able to select which color you'd prefer before the system assigns you a part, so choose wisely! We'd like the final piece to be consistent, so if you go all crazy and try to use bright red for his nose, we'll ask you to reprint it and reject the part.’

What’s more, this sculpture is a complete original. ‘The previous two projects were created from 3D scans of existing sculptures, but this one is an original piece and was designed in ZBrush,’ they say. Sculptor Ryan Kittleson took on this incredible challenge, which e thoroughly enjoyed. ‘Poe is such a great subject for caricature because he is very recognizable and his facial features are very unique. The challenge was to try and do it in a way that hasn't been done before since so many caricatures have been made of him already,’ he said of the challenge. This means that we already have some idea of what the bust will look like when completed. We The Builders subsequently sliced the model up into 250 separate pieces using Netfabb, which will eventually come together as a 33 inch tall bust.

Really the only thing that has to be done now is 3D printing, for which about 10% is completed, but they still have a long way to go if they’re going to catch the self-imposed deadline of 4 June. ‘We haven't officially been accepted yet but we did just apply for the National Maker Faire in DC in mid June and hope to have it completed by then. The due date for sending in parts is June 4th,’ they say.

Would you like to take part in this very fun community-based art project? It really is easier than ever, as all the files have been prepared, rotated, saved and named. ‘All you need to do is select the color of the part you’d like to print below, and get started!’ they tell us. ‘So far we've seen ABS, PLA, PHA, wood, resin, metal plated, UV reactive, bronze filled, glow-in-the-dark, and multicolor dyed and filament swapped parts.’ It is, in short, perfect for going mad with materials and colors. Go here for more information on participating. ‘We hope to have more than 200 builders on this project, so please tell everyone you know with a printer to help out!’

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Punny von Punmeister wrote at 5/15/2015 9:00:05 PM:

Why the long face?

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