Quick solutions!

One of the best things about having a 3D printer available is that it allows for quick solutions to otherwise frustrating problems.

In this case, the MFA|EDA program was loaned a part for the optical printer that would allow for the duplication of Super8 film in addition to 16mm film. However, the loaned part came from a slightly different model of optical printer and so things didn’t quite fit right. However, the piece on the optical printer that was causing the problem only needed a very slight alteration, and was already a plastic part, so I decided to try making careful measurements and modeling a new piece with slight alterations for 3D printing. The end result was a piece of equipment with twice the utility, using a fix that would have otherwise been costly or extremely time consuming. The total modeling and printing time came to about 2 hours, the majority of that being printing time.

The original part:

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Two 3D models with slight alterations, made in SketchUp:

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The newly printed piece next to the original:

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Success! Now the optical printer can be used for multiple film sizes, and all it took was a little 3D modeling.

3D printed 16mm film

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16mm film was modeled in SketchUp and then printed on the MakerBot replicator. Printed in varying colors and thicknesses ranging from 1 filament layer (.2mm) to 3 filament layers (.6mm), the resulting 1-second strips of film were threaded through a JK optical printer and photographed digitally to produce video output. Still left to do: splice them together and run them through a 16mm projector! And possibly make some attempt at printing animations or patterns into the face of the film, other than the standard MakerBot crosshatch. P1080319  P1530381 P1530382 P1530383 P1530384

3D printed printing blocks

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Working with Photoshop CC’s 3D printing capabilities, I was able to make letter blocks that could be 3D printed with reasonable structural stability in order to then be used as printing blocks and run through a traditional printing press. The prints were made directly on the build plate of the MakerBot in order to permit both sides to be used for paper printing. The resulting prints, both inked and embossed, had a texture and quality not unlike embroidery or weaving, making them evocative, for me, of the earliest mechanical computing device, the Jacquard loom.

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