Jan 14, 2016 | By Kira

Japanese 3D design artist Tomoo Yamaji has just released a new 3D printed sculpture that, though abstract in form, loosely evokes the sleek and modern sketches used in the early stages of car development, while representing a deeply personal message about the dangers of misusing technology. The 26cm sculpture is 3D printed in durable nylon plastic and comes as a 2-part, snap-fit kit that can easily be assembled without screws or adhesives, and is currently available for sale via Shapeways’ 3D printing service.

Yamaji is a longstanding artist who has participated in and hosted several art exhibitions through Japan over the past few years. His work consists of intricate and articulated objects that can completely transform from one unexpected shape to another, often fusing ultra-modern shapes with a more traditional, Kimono-inspired patterns. For example, a mythical Japanese dragon sculpture that transforms into a wreath of delicate flowers, without having a single part removed. We also previously wrote about his 3D printed Stingray robot, an intricate and highly detailed figurine inspired by the original Transformers cartoon series.

For his latest sculpture, however, Yamaji left all toys aside and instead decided to express a more serious message, channeling a deeply personal experience and warning to future generations through his 3D modeling and 3D printing art.

Before becoming the 3D designer we know him as today, Yamaji had spent 10 years working as a civil engineer for a maritime construction company. At the age of 26, with no warning, Yamaji collapsed at work, experiencing excruciating pain in his lower back. He found out later that this was due to a condition known as spondylolysis; one of his lumbar vertebrae had broken causing his spinal cord to be compressed.

“Every single daily performance was difficult for me due to the severe pain and numbness,” he told 3Ders.org. The pain forced him to leave his job as a civil engineer for good. At first he sought to treat himself with painkillers and a lumbar corset, however these treatments only masked the pain. After some time, he finally turned to chiropractic care and found the relief he was looking for. He then decided to dedicate his life to being a chiropractor so that he could share this natural healing method with others who are in pain.

“I know it is an instinct of human beings to desire a healthy body without any physical problems,” he told 3Ders.org. “However nowadays, some people modify their body even for the cosmetic purposes. I worry about our future where we will loose the human dignity by the overconfidence for our technology.”

Through his 3D printing art, Yamaji hopes to express “the excessive modification for human body. It is a warning for the incorrect use of technology.” Rather than seeking outside modifications, painkillers, cosmetic implants, or other external solutions, our bodies often have the power to heal themselves from within. “The idea of this work is closely related to my physical problem.”

To design the abstract 3D printed sculpture, Yamaji first traced a sketch by hand, and then imported into Rhino 4.0 to be modeled in 3D. He thoughtfully designed it with a durable endoskeleton, and a two-part structure that can be easy assembled and disassembled. Just as our bodies rarely need external modifications, the sculpture does not rely on screws or adhesives to stay together.

The 1/18 scale car is meant to align with the standard size of model car products. The final, two-piece assembly kit is 3D printed in white nylon by Shapeways at the price of $199—not exactly cheap, however the sculpture’s unique shape and design do convey an important message. The 3D printed sculpture also comes with a transparent display case and a wooden pedestal with non-slip rubber sheets installed on the bottom.

For his own versions, Yamaji finished the sculpture by painting it with traditional patterns used in Japanese Kimonos. Yamaji plans to design a series of larger-scaled 3D printed sculptures with a similar shape for an upcoming contemporary art exhibition.

Yamaji does one day dream of being able to permanently heal his broken bone thanks to technological advances. “Yes, I believe that the rapid progress of technology will allow us to modify our whole body fundamentally in the future,” he said. However, does not believe that humans should abuse technology for their own personal gain, a message he hopes to share through his chiropractic practice and his 3D printing art.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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