Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

3D and Rapid Prototyping Facilities

Facility Contact: David Huson
e-mail Address: David.Huson@uwe.ac.uk
Telephone: 0117 328 4979

Rapid protoype and 3d PRINT FACILITY

Image Capture

While software remains the main tool for designing and constructing objects for output, the possibility for sampling real world objects was anticipated through the acquisition of two different types of scanner. Currently there are a number of sophisticated 3D scanners on the market such as the GOM scanner which represents a pinnacle in current 3D scanning, however, both the high price and the awareness that the technology in this field may not yet have matured, led to the consideration of lower quality cheaper options that may be more easily accessed by the artist. After some consideration in terms of art and crafts accessibility, the combination of a Microscribe arm with a Microscan head and the Z Scanner 700 appeared to cover a wide base with complementary capabilities.

The Z Scanner – hand held scanner was found to offer the crucial range of flexibility that was required for scanning the detail of complex shapes whilst the Microscribe arm with a Microscan head offered a means of more readily capturing and tracing smaller shapes.

Rapid protoype and 3d PRINT FACILITY

Image Manipulation

To assist the 3D rendering and construction, a survey of software revealed that the 3D programme ‘Rhinoceros’ appeared to be one of the main current standards. To complement this, and assist with the cleaning up and processing of scanned material a further software package – ‘Geomagic Studio ’ - was obtained to work in tandem with Rhinoceros.

Rapid protoype and 3d PRINT FACILITY

Image Rendering

In order to render the files built or processed through the software, three additive style printers and a subtractive, 4 axis CNC milling machine were purchased. These were a Z Corp monochrome printer, a Z Corp colour printer, an Objet polymer printer and a Roland 4 axis milling machine.

Each machine was thoroughly tested in relation to build values, and assessed in relation to strengths and weaknesses in creating objects that could be presented in a fine art gallery context. Other types of 3D output were surveyed by sending test files to a number of facilities and manufacturers including Envisiontec and Stratasy. In addition to the assessment of build values, an assessment of colour qualities – specifically in relation to the Z corp colour printer was made and supplemented with the creation of physical, colour look up charts.

rapid protoype and 3d PRINT FACILITY

Print Finishing

As well as testing the function of current printer output and standard materials, the research sought to examine the use of alternative, more conventionally accepted permanent materials that would move the function of output from prototype to permanent object. This concept was addressed through the substitution of powdered ceramic material for the standard plaster and starch powders normally used

3D and Rapid Prototyping Research

Research Projects

Links with Industry / Artists


CPD Courses