SME to Display Art Created with 3D Printing and Imaging

If you use additive manufacturing, 3D printing, or 3D imaging technologies to create works of art, here is an opportunity to get exposure and recognition for your work.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is seeking submissions for artwork that will be displayed in the Contemporary Art Gallery during the RAPID Additive Manufacturing Solutions Conference and Exposition to be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 10-13, 2013.  The deadline for submitting entries is March 4.


“RAPID presents artists familiar with design software and additive manufacturing processes the opportunity to display their work to an appreciative audience, while providing traditional artists the opportunity to explore this new medium and participate in the 3D printing industry,” said SME business development manager Gary Mikola.

To enter, submit renderings in JPG file format along with your credentials and a list of the processes used to create the artwork. Event advisors will select the submissions that will be displayed in the gallery. Preference will be given to artists whose works have already been created using additive technologies. But artists are encouraged to submit works in CAD/STL files because a limited number of entries will be printed by professional additive manufacturing service providers.

All artwork in final form must be durable and stable for display on a 2-foot square surface pedestal. Artwork will be prominently displayed on the RAPID show floor. Artists will receive publicity and promotion in the form of press releases, listings in the printed show directory, online visibility in the RAPID Contemporary Art eGallery and social media marketing.

“This innovative artistic medium will provide an economic boon to the artists themselves, as well as to the additive manufacturing industry as a whole,” Mikola added. Since SME introduced their Contemporary Art Gallery in 2010, more than 50 works of art have been displayed.


Artists are using additive manufacturing, 3D printing and 3D imaging technologies to create dimensional art with complex patterns and geometries.  First, they use CAD software to create digital models of their work. The CAD files are converted into a 3D-printable STL file format that is then transferred to a 3D printing / additive manufacturing machine.

The machine outputs different materials onto a platform, building cross sections one layer at a time. Each layer corresponds with the virtual cross-section of the artists’ CAD file to create the final work of art. (For an example, see the post: Portrait Sculptures Created with 3D Printing )

The RAPID Additive Manufacturing Solutions Conference and Exposition is North America’s definitive event featuring 3D imaging and 3D printing technologies. The expo attracts buyers, sellers and end-users of design, prototyping, tooling and direct digital technologies. RAPID is produced by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the premiere source for manufacturing knowledge, education, and networking.


RAPID Additive Manufacturing Solutions Conference

What Is Additive Manufacturing?


Portrait Sculptures Created with 3D Printing


Learn About All Things 3D at 3DCAMP Houston 2012

The University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the School of Art will host 3DCAMP Houston 2012 on Saturday, September 29, 2012. Expert speakers will discuss how 3D technologies are impacting fields ranging from architecture, art, and education to engineering, medicine, and science.  At 3DCAMP, you can see how 3D laser, modeling, and illustration technologies are being used in sculpture, architectural visualization, game development, building information modeling, and the design and fabrication of Hollywood props and themed environments.

The all-day symposium is open to the public. The $15 symposium registration fee includes access to presentations by more than 15 speakers and a juried 3D art exhibition. Vendors will also be on hand to demonstrate the possibilities and uses of some of the most interesting and mind-blowing 3D technology.

“The rapid evolution in visualization technology is playing a critical role in advancing many important areas, from medical and surgical techniques to new methods of energy realization and information transmission,” said Mark A. Smith, dean of the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “With the university playing a critical role nationwide in these developments, it is satisfying as well as natural to help bring this understanding to our community through 3DCAMP 2012.”

Mike de la Flor’s 3D medical illustration of T-cell being attacked by HIV

Rex Koontz, director of the University’s School of Art adds that, “Technology, art and design are converging into a significant force on our cultural and economic landscape. The School of Art welcomes the opportunity to work with the cast of 3DCAMP to further the goal of creating synergies between art and technology.”

The conference is being chaired by David Morris, the technology consultant who started 3DCAMP in 2009. While attending school at Texas A&M, he helped create a popular open-source 3D modeling application that has been downloaded over 100,000 times by users around the world. Morris says, “I created 3DCAMP to help people understand what a wide variety of applications there are for 3D technologies—especially in an economy as rich and diverse as Houston’s. I would like to expand the audience for 3DCAMP this year, to be even bigger and better than before.”

Call for Entries in Art Exhibit

3DCAMP Houston 2012 will also host “The Third Dimension,” a juried exhibition of artwork of all mediums that use 3D technology in the creative process. The opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, September, 28 and the exhibit will remain open to the public during the symposium on Saturday, September 29.

The exhibition will be curated by artist and gallery owner Lori Betz, who is also president and founder of Houston Art and Culture, a local non-profit organization established to enrich the community with arts mentoring and scholarships. The jurors will be members of 3DCAMP’s organizing committee.

Traditional and digital sculptor Gil Bruvel uses rapid prototyping printing of metal.

All artists are welcome to apply. All art styles and mediums are encouraged, including digital and film, as long you adhere to the theme, “The Third Dimension” and have used a 3D technology during some point in your creative process. The deadline for submitting entries is September 3.

Betz says, “The exhibit will feature artwork that uses some of the techniques and technologies that the speakers will be talking about. It’s like nothing you have ever seen before.”


3DCAMP Houston 2012

Third Dimension Art Show at 3DCAMP: Call for Entries

Portrait Sculptures Created with 3D Printing

The Ponoko blog features an interview with Chicago-based digital artist Sophie Kahn who has been experimenting with full-color 3D printing to create portrait sculptures that look like unearthed ancient artifacts.

According to the post, Sophie originally perceived 3D scanning and 3D printing as post-photographic processes. Now she is incorporating 3D printing into the creation stages of her work. For example, she has experimented with using a 3D printer to output a model from a 3D laser scan and photograph of a live model. The 3D model is sandblasted and sanded to create the look Kahn wants.

“Laura RGB” by Sophie Kahn,

“What fascinates me about 3D scanning is the way it reveals the incompleteness of our own vision. Many of the holes and gaps in my sculptures are due to occlusion: the parts of the face that are hidden from view at any one time,” explains Kahn.  “My sculptures can look complete from one angle and very incomplete from another. I’m also interested in the art-historical resonances in technology, like the fact that 3D scans can look like fragmented classical sculptures, or plaster death masks, for example. I’m trying to make a connection between the digital and the handmade object.”

The work shown here, entitled “Laura RGB” was featured in the “Improbable Objects” exhibition of works by artists who are who using 3D scanning and printing technologies as part of their processes. The exhibition was held in April at the What It Is gallery in Chicago.

Ponoko is an online marketplace where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers can meet to make almost anything.


Ponoko Blog Post: Portrait Sculpture, an Artistic Tradition Carried on with 3D Printing

Artist Sophie Kahn

Sophie Kahn’s Process

Improbable Objects at What It Is gallery

About Ponoko


Autodesk Introduces Two New Apps for Personal Manufacturing

DESIGNERS. Autodesk, a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, is continuing to push the boundaries in personal manufacturing. Two new offerings in the Autodesk 123D family are designed to empower more people to imagine and create things, and share them with others whether for fun, learning, or profit.

With the software (now in public beta), you can quickly and easily capture 3D models from the world around you, then turn the 3D models into your own artistic creations.

Autodesk 123D Catch

This application uses the power of cloud computing to quickly transform digital photos into photorealistic 3D models. Anyone capable of using a point-and-shoot, mobile phone, or digital SLR cameras to snap a series of photos of objects, people, or scenes can use 123D Catch to generate impressive 3D models. For example, you can create your own personal avatar or favorite vacation scenes in 3D. The app also has built-in sharing capabilities with short movies or animations for viewing on mobile devices, YouTube and other social media channels.

Autodesk 123D Make

Available as a new,free technology preview for the Mac, this application converts digital 3D models into 2D cut patterns that can be easily assembled with low-cost materials such as cardboard, wood, fabric, metal or plastic.The cut pieces come together to create a physical representation of the original digital model. With 123D Make you can create art, furniture, sculptures or other quick prototypes to test how a design will look in real life.

Autodesk developed this technology to act as a digital engineer to individuals who want to create 3D models for products they might eventually want to produce and sell. 123D Make is designed for creative self-expression or for people who can’t find what they’re looking for in mass-produced item and decide to make it on their own.

“Today’s DIYers need a range of cutting-edge 3D tools to make the most of the artistic and economic opportunities in the emerging maker movement,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products at Autodesk. “Autodesk is committed to removing obstacles to creativity and innovation in this time of the new industrial revolution.”

The Autodesk 123D family also includes the Autodesk 123D desktop application, enabling makers to bring ideas to life by designing highly precise and makeable objects/ The Autodesk 123D Sculpt app is for sculpting and painting 3D creations on the iPad.

Inventors, tinkerers, artists, entrepreneurs, and arts and crafts enthusiasts can use the Autodesk 123D portfolio on a variety of platforms and devices, with access to content, Autodesk fabrication partners and social connections at a single destination.


Autodesk 123D Make

Autodesk 123D Catch

About Autodesk


Ponoko Can 3D Print and Glaze Ceramics

DESIGNERS. Ponoko has made a new material available for 3D printing projects: Glazed Ceramics. The objects are printed with an alumina silica ceramic powder and sealed with porcelain and silica. The ceramic pieces can be coated with a lead-free, non-toxic white glaze that makes them food-safe and heat-resistant.

A ZCorp 3D printing machine is used to form each ceramic piece layer by layer, using an inkjet head to deposit binder onto a bed of compacted powder. The powder is layered and cured in succession until the object is formed.

The Materials section of the Ponoko website provides a detailed description of the ceramic printing, firing, and glazing process as well as design tips.

Other materials that Ponoko can 3D print include durable gloss plastic, gold plate, stainless steel, superfine plastic, cardboard, corrugated card, upholstery leather, felt, russet leather, verge tanned leather, aluminum, PETG, acrylic, styrene, silicone, melamine finished MDF, hardboard, bamboo, veneer MDF, and plywood.


About Ponoko

Ponoko Blog: New Glazed Ceramic for 3D Printing

Ponoko Materials: 3D Printed Glazed Ceramics


Practical Advice for Making and Selling Custom Products


Sculpteo Can Convert Photos of People into 3D Figurines

Picture some of the photo-merchandise possibilities of the latest 3D printing service offered by Sculpteo. After you upload front- and profile-view photos of an individual, Sculpteo artists will interpret the visuals to create a 3D model of that person which they will send you for approval. You get to choose the clothing and colors.

Sculpteo Mini Figurines

Within a few days, you will receive a personalized figurine (or 3D avatar or mini-action figure) between 3 to 4 inches high. The figurines are manufactured on a 3D digital printer, which builds and solidifies a material layer by layer until the finished object is created.

Sculpteo Bridal Party

The mini-action figures could be popular for graduation, birthday, and retirement parties or bridal showers and weddings. You might also create mini-action figures for sports-team banquets or as gifts for children of military parents serving overseas. You can figure out many other possibilities as well.



3D Printing Provider Says a Million-Dollar Product Is Just a Good Design Away

DESIGNERS. Two trendspotting organizations—Trend Hunter and JWT Intelligence—have predicted that 3D printing (aka “tangible printing”) will be one of those technologies that could really take off in 2011.

3D Printed Vase
At, everyone can make, buy, or sell their own products in more than a dozen different materials, including metal and glass with various finishes.

In a blog post on TechCruch, Joris Peels of the i-materialise 3D printing service predicts that the hardware and software will become more affordable and at least five new 3D printing startups aimed at consumers will be launched this year.

Peels even goes so far to predict that a designer will earn revenues of over $1 million with a single 3D printed product (not a prototype) in 2011. Peels says several designers have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars selling 3D printed items ranging from chairs to jewelry.

He predicts that as “As many designers get more knowledgeable about the 3D printing process, and media coverage increases, a million-dollar hit is only one good design away.”

In September,, the personalized-production company started by Royal Philips Electronics in The Netherlands, announced that it will be moving its headquarters to New York. As of September, the company was 3D printing more than 10,000 unique products each month, an increase from only 600 products per month in January, 2009. The online community has more than 50,000 members and more than 1,000 shops, with some shop owners earning more than $1,000 per month selling their customizable products directly to consumers.

If you’re not yet familiar with 3D printing and how it can be used, check out three sites of companies that offer 3D printing or product-fabrication services.