Week 5: When Natural Phenomenon collides with Rapid Prototyping

From this week’s lecture, what caught my attention the most is the rapid prototyping technology or so to speak 3D printing. I remember few years back I watched a video on YouTube of a person printing tools using 3D printer. At that moment, I was so fascinated of how a machine could scan a tool and “print” an identical one. They were not just prototypes but tools that could actually be used. When I was informed that we would be designing our own 3D printing object in VIS40 class I was thrilled! It was as if I immediately exported myself into the future. Rapid prototyping is a technique used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part of assembly using 3D computer aided design data. It was first used to produce models and prototype parts, but now it is used in a wide array of manufactures. This technology not only produces products that are functional but also can transfer 2D data to a 3D form.
Print tools:

When I was reading the natural phenomenon and its artworks in the text this week, I thought of what would art be like if it incorporated 3D printing and data recordings of the earth such as earthquakes. Then I was so curious if there was any art done in the field of natural phenomenon and its relation to 3D printing. I was lucky enough to find an art piece done by visualization specialist Doug McCune who was woken up by the sound of earthquake. He then downloaded data from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) of the largest earthquake that hit San Francisco Bay-area in 25 years.3D 4 He suddenly hit an epiphany and transformed by using data visualization to demonstrate this quake compared to tectonic disasters in the past.  From his skills with 3D printing, he was able to compare the different earthquakes by transforming them from 2D into 3D prints. Instead of using colors like how an earthquake data would show on a 2D form, he used different depth to show the magnitude of earthquakes and creating a visual for audiences to see what happened to the earth when that earthquake hit. 3D 2

3D 3

3D 1

This project as a whole is really interesting and it triggered me to think what else could be done to present a natural phenomenon by representing them in 3D printing form. Our society is so used to seeing photography and 2D data of natural phenomenon; what if tsunamis, volcano eruptions and tornados were presented in a 3D form. What could be added to this representation? Perhaps the artist could observe from a field like the lightening field of Walter De Maria. Maybe earth’s data or even space data could be transformed into 3D printing and present in a unique way. Not only do these art piece convey a realistic view of the happenings on earth, also to explore the technology involved relative to art. I look forward to the advancement in 3D printing in the near future and how artists could play with it.

Sources: http://dougmccune.com/blog/

-Wen Kuo


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