Art whether 2D or 3D is something that many have always believed should be physical, as such many see artwork done on a computer as not being real art. What then if a design made on a computer can then be made into something physical? A 3D sculpture that is printed from a design created on a computer can it seems be accepted as art as much as any sculpture; the potential of 3D printed sculptures allows designs to be made that would be impossible with traditional techniques thanks to using technology developed for rapid prototyping services.
In traditional sculpture you start with a solid block of material and remove pieces to shape it, this has always had limitations; with a bas relief you have always been limited to one side of a scene for example and internal detail has always been impossible. The solution is to build materials up but to do this by hand is very difficult: you end up with many joins, little strength and a model that may be far from the idea you had in mind.
Joshua Harker has a great ability to imagine complex and beautiful sculptures but has always had the frustration that they have only been possible in his imagination with no way to make them. First though came 3D design software allowing him to create his ideas on screen as 3D CAD files. These files, let there be no mistake, are incredibly difficult to make, each one may take weeks or months and there are no shortcuts. Still even with his 3D design skills the ideas are still Mr Harker’s and few would deny that there is artistic merit in these 3D models on screen. With the 3D printing technology that now exists and has been developed for rapid prototyping services Joshua Harker has at last been able to make his designs into physical real world pieces of art. Rapid prototyping services 3D printers are designed to quickly create products from 3D CAD files with complete accuracy and with any parts preassembled and importantly internal structures already there. The way that all 3D printers work is to build up materials usually either using hot plastic or other materials that can be added with pin point accuracy and then set or by using a powdered or liquid resin and a binder or laser that solidifies in just the right places.
Each layer in these 3D printing processes is around a millimeter thick, depending on the exact printer, so there is little limitation on detail and you get no pixilated effect on the finished item.
Joshua Harker has used Rapid Prototyping services to create his sculptures many of which were on the theme of bronze tangles: interwoven pieces of bronze made by using the printed model to make a mold into which bronze is poured. Harker’s latest model though is a little different. Named Crania Anatomica Filigre it is a detailed model of a skull made of the plastic straight from the 3D printer. The skull is based on traditional Mexican skull art that originated with the Aztecs, they used lava to create sculptures, 3D printing though is bringing the art form up to date.