Jan 7, 2017 | By Tess

For anyone with a nostalgia for Chia Pets, we may have found this decade’s equivalent: an art project called “Hairline”. Created by designer Shir Atar, Hairline consists of a number of 3D printed head statues, each with a wildly different head or face of 3D printed hair. Aside from being a massively entertaining art collection, Hairline also seeks to explore 3D printing technology as a fun and versatile crafting tool.

Shir Atar was inspired to embark on his 3D printing art project after receiving a failed print from his local 3D printing service. He explains that for timing reasons he applied the lowest print settings and parameters to his project, and found himself with a 3D printed object with rough ends and excess filament strands. Many of us can relate to the feeling of finding a totally botched print sitting on the build plate, but rather than get discouraged, Atar only saw potential. As he told 3Ders, “it felt as if my model decided to grow a beard without telling me.”

Funnily enough, only a month later, the designer was approached by an exhibition curator who was interested in exploring the role of hair in design, and so began the 3D printed Hairline project. Now, the art series consists of a number of pieces, each with a common Easter Island-inspired face, but each distinguished by the wild mane of filament hair that seems to grows out of the statues’ heads and/or faces. The choice to use the Moai statue as a starting point was important, as it provided a consistent and familiar face that would draw less attention towards it from the viewer, keeping the focus on the hair.

Of course, much experimentation went into the project. As Shir Atar explains to us, “I used a number of methods to produce the different hair styles, some more traditional and others a bit more experimental. To begin with, I used a CAD software to digitally model each strand, thus forming the initial base for the nozzle movement during printing…Later on I experimented with offset printing, changing alignment, printer orientation, various volume prints as well as printing speed, heat, fan speed and direction etc. All these tests were performed both individually and in conjunction with other parameters to test the outcomes.”

The variety of 3D printed hair styles and textures is very impressive: from tightly curled beards, to sleek long hair, to wiry manes, there is no shortage of hair variety in Hairline. While the pieces are distinctly made of plastic and do not pretend to mimic real hair, the textures and styles do come remarkably close. Perhaps the most convincing part is that the hair is actually printed straight out of the heads, really making it appear as though each strand is growing out of the plastic statue. In this way, 3D printing was imperative to creating the pieces, as the technological method of making the hair was really at the heart of the project.

In terms of the 3D printing technology used, the designer explains that he experimented with many different 3D printers and materials saying “each one had its own unique set of values and attributes I tapped into.” For instance, Atar used a Prusa i3 3D printer, which allowed him to make small adjustments to print settings on the fly, as well as different Makerbot 3D printers (2 and 5), which offered other types of settings. Overall, each print took about 3-6 hours to complete, depending on how much hair had to be printed.

All in all, Hairline is a playful design project that highlights 3D printing’s potential to be not only a precision manufacturing tool, but also a fun and somewhat playful crafting medium. By using an organic substance such as hair, which we all try to tame or play with on a regular basis, Atar has certainly succeeded in creating an engaging and distinctive 3D printed art project.

When asked what his future plans for his Hairline project are, Atar told 3Ders that he is currently in the process of finalizing a small series of figures, each of which will feature a unique hairstyle that “will highlight the various attributes of the hair printing technique”. The designer will also continue experimenting with different 3D printers, materials, and settings to see what new textures and hair-creations he can 3D print next.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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