Friday, March 8, 2013

3-D Jewelry Print-a-Thon

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When I first heard about 3-D printing from my fiance, I didn't really realize the implications of what it would mean for the world of fashion and the world in general. The idea that a printer could create designs that were real and of just about anything was completely foreign to me and I could not even imagine what the results would look like until I saw Iris Van Herpen's 3-D printed designs in January. So naturally when my friends at Small Girls PR invited me to check out a 3-D jewelry print-a-thon at the Ace Hotel I jumped on it.
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The print-a-thon featured Jewelry designers like Ten Thousand Things, Ursa Major, Verameat, In God We Trust, Lindsey Adelman, Anna Sheffield, Chris Habana, Kostika Spaho, thefuturefuture and Duan Scott. These designers paired with the creative technologists to create sustainable 3-d designs forged out of nylon powder.

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As great as it was to see the results I was also fascinated by the process. There were machines by
Shapeways and MakerBot printing some of the jewelry designs before my very eyes. The process was slow and I only witnessed 1% of a bracelet completed as I stood for a few minutes before a printer but it was fascinating to see something so detailed being created before my very eyes. Designs that are incredibly intricate was being created 1 layer at a time. The size of each layer printed is 100-microns  - which is pretty much equivalent to the thickness of a sheet of paper. Pretty incredible when you think about it. The finished product had a dry light hand that felt unlike your average piece of polished plastic. There was a rawness to it, despite the smooth edges. Some of the designs were also created in metals - although I'm not sure how that worked. Perhaps a prototype was created before being cast into metal

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My favorite piece of the day was the printed skull that looked as delicate as lace. As technology advances I have no doubt that we will be seeing more and more of the technology popping up in our wardrobes and in our everyday lives.
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