Mar 26, 2016 | By Tess

The creative possibilities of 3D printing technologies never cease to amaze us here at 3Ders, from the creation of fun gadgets, to stunning and evocative art, and even to the latest online trends. This next 3D printed project, called “By the Way”, was conceived of by Düsseldorf-based designer Thomas Wirtz, and seems to combine all three of these creative areas.

The project, which was Wirtz’s Master’s Thesis at the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, consists of an interesting and engaging experiment using 3D printed typeface characters and a variety of physical phenomena which have been applied to them and documented. Essentially, Wirtz designed a series of uppercase letters using an almost maze-like aesthetic, which he then 3D printed as plastic models. With the 3D models printes, Wirtz could then assemble them in a variety of ways to make words or expressions.

In the project, called “By the Way” or BTW, the German designer also investigates internet phrases and jargon such as BTW, FYI (for your information), DIY (do it yourself) and POV (point of view). The choice was a deliberate one, as Wirtz wanted to combine elements from the digital world with analogue media to further increase the meaning of the experiment.

The next phase in the project was applying a variety of physical processes to the 3D printed letters to see what sort of effect would take place. As can be seen in the photos, Wirtz did such things as light his letters on fire, pour liquid matter through them, cover them in colored gas, fill them with liquid dye, and pulsed water over them using an electric current. The results of his experiments with the 3D printed letters are not only incredibly interesting, but also extremely beautiful.

For the final presentation of the project, Wirtz recorded each of the treatments and processes he applied to the 3D printed typeface characters and slowed them down to create a four and half minute long video presentation. The video showcases the movement of the physical phenomena that the letters undergo and altogether makes for a soothing, almost meditative viewing experience.

With his Master’s Thesis project, Wirtz, who is now working as a freelance communication designer in Germany, has certainly demonstrated the versatile uses of 3D printing technologies. While we often think of typefaces and font designs as a purely digital realm, Wirtz has successfully brought his own innovative typeface into the realm of 3D with additive manufacturing and has shown just what amazing things can be done with real world physical experiments.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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