3d printed tree by Baptiste Tavernier

The Art of pushing the limits : Innovating with 3D Printing

Art has always been about pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. With 3D printing, artists can choose to take the safe route—designing something easy to print and producing many copies—or they can be more adventurous, pushing the printer towards heavy misprints and failures, and embracing the unexpected results.

Sometimes, I increase the printing speed beyond rational limits to get broken textures out of flat surfaces. Or I might do most of the print mid-air, with no supports, forcing the filament to collapse randomly. In the example here, this created a tree with a complex network of “branches,” made using PLA at 210°C. By adjusting the nozzle temperature, the filament’s flow can be impacted and the branches’ collapse can vary, giving the tree different aesthetics—from a structured form to a more willow-like, delicate appearance.

This print exemplifies the beauty found in unexpected outcomes. Despite being a plastic representation of a dead tree, the random collapse of the branches adds an organic, almost ethereal quality that captivates me.

Art should not use technology the way it is intended to be used. It should try to break the technology to go beyond and create something new.

This approach reminds me of the Shu-Ha-Ri concept in Japanese traditional crafts and art. These are known as the three phases of an artistic career: first, protecting the teachings of the master for many years (or even decades), then breaking that mold to add your own personality, and finally going beyond to create something truly new.

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