When it comes to arts and crafts, technology is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, that is quickly changing with several artists realizing that 3D printing enables them to express themselves in ways they never thought were possible. Andrej Suskavcevic, the president and CEO of the Craft and Hobby Association, is one of the supporters of this technology saying "It really takes the lid off of what's possible".
There are several possible applications of 3D printing to the arts and crafts world. Firstly, it allows artists to create objects that would be extremely difficult or impossible by hand, such as sharply angled shapes or intricate details. This enables artists to express themselves in new and innovative ways.
It also saves artists money by allowing them to create files online, where they can easily make changes before printing their designs. This results in lower material costs and time savings. Particularly when designing a new product, such as jewelery, it is highly beneficial to see what the finished product will look like before manufacturing begins.
Ken Denmead, the editorial director at Make magazine, has compared 3D printing in art to the Industrial Revolution stating that 3D printing "takes it back to people building things in their workshops". Instead of manufacturing being limited to those who can afford it, any individual with an idea will be able to develop it much more cost effectively. This will have vast implications in the future, including encouraging innovation and allowing people to duplicate products such as replacement parts, conveniently at home.
Currently, one of the main limitations for arts and crafts hobbyists is the high cost of 3D printers. However, several companies including Proto3000 offer services which allow artists to print their designs without having to purchase a printer. Furthermore, in comparison to the costs of errors associated with manufacturing a product, 3D printing actually becomes quite affordable.
The applications are not limited to simple arts and crafts projects. Several other forms of art can be printed, such as records that actually play music and wearable accesories. 3D printing arts and crafts projects also appeals to the younger crowd, who like to always have the latest products. With back to school fast approaching many useful products can easily be printed, including phone cases, business card holders, ipad mounts and more.
Clearly, 3D printing is beginning to revolutionize the arts and crafts world. What kind of art would you like to create that you did not think was possible?