Forward-thinking technophiles are creating some really out-of-this-world things with 3D-printing, from a dress that reacts to your tweets, to a genetically accurate recreation of Vincent van Gogh’s ear. It’s clear that the tech world is already underway making really great, paradigm-altering innovations. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to see how all of these amazing breakthroughs affect the world at large. Technologists like New Matter 3D-Printer designer Bill Gross says that soon enough we could have 3D-printers in every home—but what would we do with them?
Redditor Mark Leonard (aka 3dKreashunz) is a 3D-printer enthusiast from Orlando, FL who bought a 3D-printer in the Fall of 2013 and has since he honed his skills as a DIY creator. Recently, he demonstrated the versatility of his craft by creating a beautiful, almost Baroque-style facade for a ceiling he was decorating. He 3D-designed and printed every single piece—over 1,000 total—of the ceiling with his personal printer.
For each element in the mesmerizingly complex ceiling, 3dKreashunz designed large structures made of small, repeating parts. Dozens of pieces can go into a single ring on the decoration, and they must be shaped so as to fit together seamlessly. Many of them can be printed all at once, but each needs to interlock as a whole. “The hardest part was not knowing how long it was going to take me," said Leonard. "I had a vision in my head but had to make it flexible and take detail out to be able to finish in time.”
The ceiling is an impressive recreation of the same types of ornate stylizations that used to be created with wood and stone—Leonard even painted the ceiling to simulate the texture of an authentic Baroque design. The key differences between this ceiling and the ones of the Renaissance are that computer imaging streamlined the design process and 3D printing instantly replicated the work that traditionally took master craftsmen entire lifetimes to bring to fruition. These similarities don’t invalidate this kind of 3D-printing as an art form—they highlight the fact that 3D printing is a natural progression of industry.
More and more people will discover applications for the technology that will streamline or fully replace an element of skilled labor, and Leonard shows that 3D-printing has a place in the world of carpentry and interior design. He told the Creators Project, “I want to show and inspire everyone to work on modeling and 3D-printing. I want to see the world change from a world run by giant corporations to a world run by its own people. Local and in home manufacturing and open-source technology is the key.”
You can check out Leonard's complete 3D-printing journey by scrolling through his Imgur album on the subject.