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Creating complex objects of desire layer by layer By Michaella Janse van Vuuren | My passion for

realised or 3D printed, layer by layer, by the melting

creating technically complex design and artworks

or depositing of manufacturing materials. This

has its roots in my schooling at Pro Arte High School

manufacturing process, developed in the 1980s,

for the Arts in Pretoria. Here I made marionettes

was initially intended for the manufacturing of cus-

that were highly detailed, using innovative con-

tom engineered parts and prototypes for industrial

struction and manipulation methods. Many years

product development. In recent years the technol-

on, my work has drawn me once again into a direc-

ogy has become accessible not only to engineers,

tion where the technical and artistic meet. Today, I

industrial designers and a select few, but also to a

work as an electrical engineer – my day job – and in

wider range of designers and artists like myself.

my private time I focus on designing 3D printing or

This change has been driven by the reduction in

additive manufacturing. I enjoy designing and I find

cost of the hardware and software needed to cre-

the limitations and difficulties a fascinating chal-

ate the large prototyping files and also decreased

lenge. I love the challenge of creating something

the cost to manufacture objects – mass or one offs.

that is planned and then designed on computer and

Increased Internet bandwidth has also made it pos-

seeing if my idea ‘printed out’ as I envisioned.

sible to send the larger files required for manufacturing and a number of start-up companies have

The intersection of art, design and technology is

emerged who now provide short-run manufactur-

currenttly undergoing a time of exponential growth

ing services for individuals who produce their own

enabled by digital manufacturing. Digital manufac-

objects. The designer/artist can now lie at the cen-

turing methods such as additive manufacturing

tre of this exploration. More than in any other dis-

have changed the way that objects are designed

cipline he or she has the ability to create and ex-

and manufactured. Additive manufacturing refers

plore without the limitations imposed by

to the process where an object that has been cre-

traditional sculpting materials and their inherent

ated in the virtual world of the computer is then

properties.

DESIGN>MAGAZINE No 19  

DESIGN>MAGAZINE seeks to engage and inspire the design conscious and the design curious throughout Africa and beyond. It also explores conte...

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