3D-Printed Nanomolecular Paintings

3D Printing & Imaging Craft & Design

New York artist Shane Hope‘s nanomolecular 3D-printed artwork is pretty spectacular.

Working in the MAKE office, I come across a lot of 3D printing remnants/mistakes, many of which are beautiful by themselves. The details of this artwork are reminiscent of those 3D printing remnants, if they had personalities and started grouping together socially. It’s an interesting fusion of digital glitch and organic form.

Shane works on acrylic, printing nanoscale 3D forms that have been modified by script algorithms he wrote himself. Then he paints on the acrylic a bit, and then prints some more. He also prints on the back of the acrylic, and that can show through, where the acrylic is unadorned on the front. Shane describes his process:

From research repositories, I appropriate .pdb (Protein Data Bank) files, nanomolecular machine component models, junk DNA sculptural origami and novel inorganic material models such as sheets of graphene, etc. With the molecular visualization system PyMOL, I overprocess or ornamentally-challenge models by writing and running Python scripts to algorithmically-automate alternative formal derivations, fractalize aminos off forms to perform generative crystallography, code for crazy carbon chaining, supersaturate all-of-the-above color palette assignments, deforming meshes and glitch render modes / ray tracings. All also callable command line by line, I script to induce and amass harvests of molecular mutations. I curate thereafter from the code-yielded crops, picking the ripest exemplary nano- nuance and novelty, so to speak. I use Gimp to compose resultant renders into 2D archival pigment prints called Qubit-Built Quilts. Qubit-Built Quilts are painterly plans for playborground ball pits of pure operationality all about atomic admin access-privs picturesque.

To process files for 3D printability, I continue manipulating my modded molecular models with MeshLab and manually carve them up into batches in Blender. I mean to make microsculptures in sheets that’ll incite the greatest gamut of ‘almos and a little extraa’ [sic] style artifactural anomalies. I predict / play with epic-print-fails, throttle or accordingly allow irregular parts likely to create collisions that all but muck up my printers. I’ve conscientiously crafted an arsenal of custom print settings in order to print more like painting. The goal is to glean abnormalities that aesthetically accentuate messy molecular modeling / 3D printing interstices, revealing how each translates one another with tensions that thereby ‘overheat’ the medium of rapid prototyping.

I just had an enjoyable conversation with Shane about nanomolecular structures, biomimicry, smart dust, and utility fog. Say hello to Shane Hope and check out his amazing artwork at Maker Faire New York this weekend, in the 3D Printing Village.

Shane Hope at Maker Faire New York 2013
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"To oppose something is to maintain it." –Ursula Le Guin

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