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3D Printing in Art Education

Tom Lauerman built this 3D Printer at Penn State

Tom Lauerman, faculty at Penn State's School of Visual Arts, built this 3D printer in 2014 by printing many of the componentson another 3D printer.

It takes a long time for each object to be printed so once designed, it is best to place on a memory card (like used in cameras) and insert card in the 3D printer. Then you can scroll through a small screen and select one design to print. It might need to run for hours for one object. Students are interested in checking on the emerging object printed throughout the day.

What is 3D Printing?


One idea for 3D printing is to do a line drawing, then scan it, and in Sculptris (free) excrude (bring up the sides) to print cookie cutters with unique designs. Then make cookies each designed uniquely.

iPhone covers are another idea.

Justin Markgraf, Antigo High School Art Teacher / Dept. Chair in Wisconsin, teaches 3d design to his Art Metal students using tinkercad. Students design a ring, print them on a 3d printer,  then cast them using the lost wax process & centrifugal casting process. 

Kathryn Rulien-Bareis uses a 3D printer to make adaptive tools for creative expression. Her business is at http://www.bableto.com/


PLA plastic (a biodegradable thermoplastic, a vegetable oil base)--about $24 (Yellow 1.75mm PLA Filament - 3D Printer Filament)for all classes for a semester of work. Other materials that can be used: clay, metals, nylon (wearable), cell tissue (bio printing). Some are recycling milk jugs, melting, and make into filament to make objects.

Programs for making designs to 3D print:

Museums involved in creating replicas of collections with 3D Printing:

Contemporary Art Concepts & Art Examples

  • The 3D Additivist Cookbook, devised and edited by Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, is a free compendium of imaginative, provocative works from over 100 world-leading artists, activists and theorists. The 3D Additivist Cookbook contains .obj and .stl files for the 3D printer, as well as critical and fictional texts, templates, recipes, (im)practical designs and methodologies for living in this most contradictory of times. The 3D Additivist Cookbook (3DPDF / 456mb) is available to download for free in 3DPDF format. It is issued here under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)