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Saturday 1 March 2014

VISITING LECTURER - PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY

On arrival at Plymouth University I could not miss the three large Peter Randall-Page sculptures that had been sited outside the design building. My lecture was well received and as it was delivered to all of 3D design department I did not make it too ceramic centred and covered more was of working with digital tools, both hard and soft. Soft tools covering Processing projects where I use computer code to generate forms and hard tools in the self built 3D printer to get the digital information out of the computer and into physical form. I spoke of my interest in natural patterns and systems, showing drawings based around symmetries and forms generated from spherical harmonics. Afterwards I was told I must see the Randall-Page exhibition in the Peninsula Arts Gallery downstairs and the city museum across the road. I did to be quite shocked at the similarity in our work, although the scale is quite different as is the techniques we are using.

 

TOP: Peter Randall-Page Fructus, Corpus and Phyllotaxus outside the Peninsula Art Gallery, Plymouth University.

MIDDLE: Left, Randall-Page Harmonic Solids series, left my porcelain 3D printed Spherical Harmonics series.

BOTTOM: Left, Randall-Page Euclidean Egg drawing based around symmetries as are my Double Doodle digital drawings series, right.

Peter Randall-Page, Plymouth University

Peter Randall - Page, Jonathan Keep

Peter Randall - Page, Jonathan Keep

Saturday 1 March 2014

3D PASTE PRINTING WORKSHOP, BURG-HALLE UNIVERSITY, GERMANY

I was invited by Professor Aart van Bezooyen who heads up MAKE, a platform for materials and technology at Burg-Halle University in Halle near Leipzig to run a workshop to experiment with paste materials in the DIY 3D printer. MAKE had made their own delta 3D printer from the directions on my website and I took over a printer so we had two machines running and the idea was for students to export as many different types of materials as possible to print. MAKE does not run a course of its own but rather offers workshops for students to participate in from across the university’s design and fine art schools so there was an interesting range of participants. Students tended to work in pairs and we tried 3D printing with locally dug clay, builder’s silicon, wax, sugar frosting, sugar sticks and sugar fondant, wood paste and I had tried chocolate as way of preparation. Those materials that would work with the pressurised syringe type printhead did well. Wax and sugar where heat controlled print heads were required proved to be more tricky but with persistence, that the students and staff certainly showed, I am sure could be made to work.

MAKE, Burg-Halle 3D print workshop

MAKE, Burg-Halle 3D print workshop

MAKE, Burg-Halle 3D print workshop


Tuesday 4 February 2014

COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

I have set up a fascinating dialogue with Enrico Coen and Andrew Bangham who both head research labs at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Having heard on BBC Radio about the collaborative work they have been doing on growing biological shapes through computation I made contact and fortunately they were interested for me to try and 3D print in clay one of the shapes that they had generated. They have already been collaborating with London based artist Rob Kesseler and so we are hoping that a four way collaboration could develop.
I needed to alter the computer mesh that  I was sent a little to have a flat base to start printing from otherwise the shape printed is as grown in the computer simulation.

Enrico Coen & Andrew Bangham

Ceramic 3D prited vases


Tuesday 4 February 2014

CHOCOLATE 3D PRINTING

Having been invited to give a workshop on 3D paste printing on the materials course at Burg-Halle University in Germany I thought I must give printing chocolate a go in preparation. Chocolate is an interesting print material and with more time I think you could do some interesting things with it. Having a melting temperature of under 30°C (above it goes granular) and then re-solidifying at room temperature it has a very narrow working potential for extrusion. However the ability to go from solid to liquid and reverse makes it a good material for extrusion 3D printing, if you can control the temperature.

Predicting that liquid chocolate would not need much pressure to extrude I abandoned my normal studio air compressor and cobbled together a fizzy drinks bottle compressed air system. I believe a fizzy drinks bottle can withstand up to 6 Bar of pressure so with my bicycle pump and only pressurising the system to 1 Bar it was not stressing too much. The pressure needed to extrude the chocolate as I turned up the regulator did not register on the pressure gage so I cannot say what it was but the rate of flow was contollable. One priming of the fizz bottle with the bicycle pump was enough pressure for a syringe of chocolate. I began printing onto cling film, then gloss card, on top of a ceramic tile that I had put into the deepfreeze. This was to help re-solidify the chocolate as it printed. To print tall objects this cooling technique will need to be improved as beyond a couple of centimetres in height the liquid chocolate was not solidifying sufficiently before the next layer came around. However with a syringe, bicycle pump, and fizzy drinks bottle this print head could be cobbled together and attached to any RepRap type 3D printer. Give chocolate a try.

Jonathan Keep, Chocolate 3D Printing

Chocolate 3D Printing

Chocolate 3D Print Head


Friday 31 January 2014

3D PRINT - SCHOOLS COMENIUS MEETING, SWEEDEN

The second meeting of the 3D Print Schools Comenius project was hosted by  Erikslundskolan, General secondary school the partners in Boras Sweden. With the Navet Science Center as support institution to the school this made for a most interesting visit. Discussion was mainly about how to introduce 3D printing into the school curriculum. What subject areas it will be most useful for and the what sort of digital tools or software are available and useful to schools. At Alde Valley with the afternoon 3D print club we have asked students to look at Tinkercad, Sketchup, 123d Design and Blender (all free software) as possible 3D modelling software options. Each software has its advantages and disadvantages ranging from some being better for architectural type modelling and others more organic modelling. The learning curve of the different software’s is also problematic with Tinkercad being the easies but having limitations to Blender being a serious option that students can grow with but it is a daunting proposition to initially learn. On the hardware side the Duplicator (Chinese copy of the MakerBot Replicator) is doing a good job bathed in its mysterious blue light. 

Navet, Boras

Alde Valley 3D Print Club

Friday 31 January 2014

PLASTIC PRINTING IN SCHOOLS

In my advisory role to Alde Valley High School, Leiston with regards 3D printing they were looking to get a plastic printer. Feedback from the Schools Comenius project that the school and I are involved in has shown that problem areas are that 3D printing is slow and while the results are amazing the standard of plastic DIY 3D printing leaves a little to be desired. The decision was to go for value for money but still have a machine that looked good – looked like an emerging technology. My advice has been to go with a Wanhao Duplicator.   It is a Chines manufactured copy of the US open source Makerbot Replicator. Printme 3d based in London sell these machines and will do a good offer to schools and education institutions and by the time the VAT is got back and depending on what model you get the cost is around £ 700.00. Having not printed in plastic I needed to get up to speed with the machine and what better way than get out the Ipad with 123D catch and print a mini me family.

Jonathan Keep, Potrait 3D Printing

Duplicator 3D Printer

Friday 31 January 2014

PORCELAIN SNOWFLAKES

With my interest in natural systems and patterns, snowflakes had to be looked at some time. In Processing I edited out a vector drawing tool that included six fold symmetry. By loading photos of snowflakes into the view window one symmetrical edge could be traced and a complete profile exported as a .dxf file. Imported in Blender a 3D object could then be extruded from the 2D image. Printed in porcelain they made for good Christmas decorations, if a bit delicate.

Jonathan Keep, 3D Printed Snowflakes

Jonathan Keep, 3D Printed Snowflakes

Jonathan Keep, 3D Printed Snowflakes

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