The Dragon Bench is the first sculptural piece created with the MX3D metal printer that we developed in-house. By combining our industrial robot (developed for our MX3D resin printer) with an advanced welding machine, we were able to print with metals such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze or copper, without the need of supporting structures. By adding small amounts of molten metal at a time, we can print double curved lines in midair. The combination robot/welding machine is driven by different types of software that work together closely. This will eventually have to end up in a user-friendly interface that allows the user to print directly from CAD. We are developing printing strategies for different kinds of 3D-printable ‘lines.’ Vertical, horizontal and spiraling lines, for instance, require different settings, such as pulse time, pause-time, layer height or tool orientation. The possibilities are mind-blowing. For the first time we can 3D print large-scale objects using high-quality, strong, self-supporting materials.
3D printing like this is still unexplored territory and leads to a new form language that is not bound by additive layers. The sculptural Dragon Bench explores this. Lines can be printed that intersect in order to create a self-supporting structure.
Dragons are in the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA, the Groninger Museum, NL, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, USA and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, AUS
(photocredits: Thijs Wolzak, JL, Adriaan de Groot, Friedman Benda Gallery)