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3-D Printing

A human touch

By Gretchen Salois

No matter how advanced, technology cannot replace skilled hands

June 2015 - “A common misconception is that 3-D printing eliminates the role of materials and fabrication in a design process—nothing could be further from the truth,” says artist Patrick Delorey. As an artist in residence for Autodesk, he couples software with expertise, his hands working just as hard as the technology.

In San Francisco, artists can apply and be selected to create work using equipment provided by Autodesk. Artists have access to workshops and receive a stipend to concentrate on their projects. Delorey was one of those artists, working on a number of different projects using various technologies and methods. 

Trained as an architect, Delorey also works in product design, “but most recently I’ve begun identifying my work as a hybrid art and design practice, with art playing an increasingly greater role in my creative output,” he says.

Although he had no experience in metalworking, Delorey took on a number of projects that include metals, particularly casting. “Few fabrication methods feel as much like magic to me as pouring out a [molten] liquid only to reveal a completed solid piece a few hours later,” he says. 

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Residency aptitude

During his residency at Pier 9 Autodesk, Delorey completed three projects. The Ossis handle (above) used a consumer desktop FDM printer, creating a model from which a ceramic-shell bronze cast was made directly (no need for mold or wax pour), he explains. “The printer is able to subvert the requirements of a traditional foundry and the bronze cast brings an entirely different set of qualities to the 3-D-printed form.”

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Delorey also worked on an Agere lamp, again using 3-D printing along with metal by nanocrystalline, electroformed copper. “Using animation software, I generated a continuous series of forms from which any number of unique, singular designs could be extracted,” he explains. “The chosen design was then printed, and the completed part was finished with a very thin layer of copper.”

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His third project was an aluminum panel (above) from the Erosia series he completed, exploring the effects possible using a waterjet cutter to etch metals, “as opposed to traditional through-cutting,” he says. “Unlike so many other fabrication methods, the marking of the material doesn’t immediately suggest a particular tool, so the work remains somewhat more mysterious, almost alien.” (Detailed look, below)

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Delorey made use of Maya, Mudbox, Fusion 360 and other software tools while at Pier 9. Autodesk also made other tools—such as waterjet, CNC mills, etc.—accessible, which would have otherwise been difficult for Delorey to procure. 

Architectural background

Using his architecture training, Delorey has worked at firms such as Situ Studio, allowing him to develop the design of a large-scale installation piece as well as furniture and exhibition-scaled projects using CNC and hand-finishing work in the Autodesk shop.

Working with design applications such as lattice-structured jewelry designs, Delorey has also printed in ultra-high resolution resin with ember and titanium with the DMLS (direct metal laser sintering) process. The lattice was fused together “and the design became much lighter and porous.” He had hoped for a different effect. “Rather than considering it a failure, I was able to polish the ring to achieve a lustrous effect on high spots while leaving the matte finish on the lows—a technique not unlike traditional patina processes on bronze casts.” In the end, he ended up preferring the “failed” print.

What is the main takeaway Delorey finds as he takes on projects? “Every project involves a journey to uncover the right tools and processes to produce it,” he says, adding each project has him examine tools and processes in a different light. “It’s what keeps things interesting.” FFJ

Sources

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AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

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