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  • jezclarke71

Quantity v Time v Budget = smart thinking

This is a simple post really.

Having just completed the epic 8 month long Sky Ocean Rescue Cafe project (see the case study in Wonderer) which involved 3d printing a coral reef from 100% Single Use Plastics, there's a small detail from the whole project that I particularly love - a process borne out of the age old production quandary: Quantity v Time v Budget.

As we evolved the coral design with the 3d modellers and 3d printers, we spent a lot of time staring at extreme close-up images of coral.

Their intricacy is just exquisite and the surface often porous, and we recognised that many species appear to grow upwards through themselves, almost in layers.

3d printing had ready been established as the only viable production system to produce the 1500 live coral pieces in the time and for the budget, but even that was going to require printing at a certain resolution. But then it struck us that the resolution could play an altogether different 'key' part in the authenticity of our coral.

Usually a model is all about an impeccable surface finish - and the 3d printing industry is certainly striving for the ultimate fast and smooth output, but by setting the print resolution to low and deliberately going for a very open porous texture, not only did this meet its main objective - to greatly reduce the print time - but we used the low-res 'imperfections' to give us a level an amazing degree of authenticity, one we could quite have easily overlooked had we been printing just a few.

So in this instance, the challenge of printing such a massive volume, led to creating an even better end result.

The striations and layers look completely organic and the imperfections and nobbles of each print also make them highly individual. In addition to varied colouring, each one was truly unique.

Here's some extreme close up images of our own coral.

Smart thinking, Team! Love it.

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