Blog Post 4 – Making Sculptures from the Modern Trash

Amount of the plastic waste is filling our environment. Since the patents of 3D printers got free in the last decade, the amount of 3D printers have gone up rapidly. Many people produce 3D prints in their jobs, universities, local libraries, and homes. Vast amount of those prints and their side products end up being waste. There is some ways to recycle or reuse those, but I came up with a idea to make 3D printers side products to solid metal sculptures.

3D printing is an additive manufacturing method that lays material on top of the layer below according to 3D model. If the shape of the 3D model have spots that doesn’t have layer below, 3D printer needs to make a support structure where to print the layer. 3D model is converted to 3D printer through a slicer program. Slicer makes the coordinates for the 3D printer and counts the needed support structure. Slicer calculates the support structure to be as material and time efficient as possible.

Image 1: Support structure

At the end of the last year, I was at a Contemporary design process -course, where we made class cast by using 3D printers for the mold model. Shape of the support structures of that print [Image 1] interested be. It was same time very organic and still mathematically most efficient way to produce the support structure. It reminded me of some science fiction plants and I wanted to make that type of shape to be more long lasting.

Image 2: 3D model (red) and support srtucture (teal) in a slicer program

I decided to make 3D models to have similar support structures [Image 2] and to turn them into metal sculptures. I printed the support structures and made ceramic mold from them that were then filled with melted aluminum. After the aluminum was cooled, the molds were broken around them and I got this set of three metal sculptures that were shaped as the support structures [Image 3].

Image 3: Finished sculptures

One point of this process was to test the usage of side products and to make it possible to utilize waste material. Other aspect was to use the waste shape that pleased me but would have been thrown away normally. I would like to encourage people to use their creativity to use the side products and materials of the industries to make them to something interesting, cheerful or in some other way useful.

If you got interested about this process, here is a link to the production video:

One thought on “Blog Post 4 – Making Sculptures from the Modern Trash

  1. Hi! This is such an interesting and inspirational topic! I like that you give some background information about the problem and the process of 3D printing. The video was a nice addition.
    It would have been nice if you had spent a couple of extra minutes editing the text since there are a few minor typos. All in all, great work and what a beautiful sculpture!
    – Janita


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