lab researcher Nina Hewelt
study Cross Media Design
research project colour and prism effects in 3D objects
This is a logo I designed a year ago. The letters of the word prism form an abstract figure. Back then I thought about possiblities how to incorporate the logo in a flacon, a 3D object but got only so far as to this sketch (shown above). My aim for the ArTechLab research project is to make a fluid holding container that incorporates the idea of gradiation in colour and if possible an actual prism effect in the material it is made of.
Before starting at the ArTechLab, I started with of letting go of the idea to build a container, but think about general ideas how to present the logo in a 3D space. By lighting the model above you can create shadows in the shape of the logo.
Printing with transparant filament
The first 3D print showed me a few difficulties: The 3D version of the logo, containing two times the logo with a cross connection (just like the metal model), is a difficult form to print with the 3D printer because there some parts that has to get printed in the air, e.g. the roundings of the letter S, and therefore you can’t achieve a smooth surface. But also the method in general is to question. Even with the transparant filament, the outcome is not as transparant as expected, not to speak of a prism effect.
Liquid with two colours
I made this DIY-lavalamp experiment to see how I could use the fluid to be the porter of colour within the object. Of course, there is the question, how you can combine the fluid with the perfume which should be the actual fluid in the container. Hereby, I think of a container with dubbel walls which are to fill with the coloured liquid.
With the multi-purpose dye I can easily mix colours. Those colours above I mixed from the three primary colours. The dying proces is really easy. You mix the dry colour pigment with salt and boiling water in a glas, stir it and then put in the piece of filament you want to dye. For those try outs I used a knife point full of multi-purpose dye, a pinch of salt and about 40ml of boiling water.
3D print with two colour printer
The two colour printing didn’t work out really well because of two major problems from which one is solved and the other one still needs to be solved. It took me three try outs to get the coordinates right for the two different glands. In Cura you can determine the position of the glands in relation to each other. But just if you set the y and x position of the glands on 0, the printer will print your design as a whole, connecting the two filaments in the right position. The other and still unsolved problem is probably the functioning of the gland of the used leapfrog printer itself: With several try outs I tried different materials and different temperatures but one gland seemed to have difficulties producing the nice smooth and even string of filament. Instead, I got grainy strings or loose bits of filament which got tangled up at the opening of the gland and therefore ruining the object.
After having cleaned the extruder, the 2-colour-print worked out. Unfortunately, the 2-colour-print works with totally separate forms that get melt together during the print. Even thought, you can create all sorts of shapes and therefore all sorts of patterns, there will always stay barriers in the object itself because it is made up out of different closed vorms. So, the 3D print with this colour using can’t be used as a liquid holding container. That leaves the possibility to explore other shapes of containers that can be printed with the 2-colour-printer and are made to hold liquid.
3D printing means that an object is build up out really thin lines of melted plastic. Those lines will be always visible in the finished 3D print. Even though, I got some really good results out of the nylon filament and the thinnest extrusion possible, the 3D print is not cristal clear. A light breaking effect can result from only really polished objects. With the lasercutter could that be accomplished. Another way to achieve that is using fluent plastic (epoxy) and a mould.
Even though it enables easy colouring, this method is not useful for the vorm I have in mind (container) because there is no way to create thin walls in small objects.
Colouring plexiglas with multi purpose dye and acetone have a reasonable outcome but unfortunately the plexiglas will get matte and therefore looses the light breaking effect. An alternative is the add the colouring factor at one side of the plexiglas object, so it gets reflected by the other sharp sides of the object. Therefore, material can be used that has an exciting colour effect in itself. The surface of a usual CD or DVD gives a prism effect which even gets stronger with the sharp edges of the plexiglas.
This effect will be the basis of my continuing work. I will apply this effect in a fluid holding container.
Exposition research results
For the exhibition, I decided to make A1 prints from details of the three materials I worked with (plexiglas, nylon and epoxy) to show the details and individual quality. For further comprehension, I printed all variations on postcard format.
EXPOSITION IN TETEM
For the ArTechLab exposition in Tetem, I presented my actual research pieces and the final piece in a clear and structured manner. The final piece gets its own space to emphasize the character of the material. The piece set on a turn table is lightened by one studio lamp letting see its reflective and coloured character. The research pieces are presented chronologically and with discription on the outside of the exposition space of the final piece.