Printing Technology into The Art World

Celeste Moore, Reporter

Art can be frustrating and in this digital age, sometimes working with a computer comes more naturally than wrestling with charcoal sketches or the pottery wheel. Now, the recent addition of a new Makerbot Replicator Three Dimensional printer to the art department is actually making it possible for students to modernize their design potential.

I’m interested in how precise [the printer] can be. It can get even the smallest details and it eliminates a lot of the time,”said So. Hays Braner.

The printer itself costs $3,000, and a grant from the Durango Education Foundation made its purchase possible. Roxie Mitchell, one of the art teachers of the department, applied for the grant and was given the money by the Michael Crane Memorial Art Fund. The printer can create 3D objects by precisely layering plastic material in a certain arrangement that is controlled by a computer program called “SketchUp”.

You can create a model on the computer program, and then make it. Using the printer, I printed a sort-of-to-scale 3D human heart. It took fourteen hours, but it was really cool,” said So. Maya Bradshaw.

So far, the printer has been used in the DAVINCI Foundations classes and by individual artists. Most students are looking forward to utilizing the printer for their Capstone, a project that all DAVINCI students have to complete by the second semester of their sophomore year as a final for the SLC. The projects can be anything that students want to showcase about what they have learned or a hobby they have developed.

It’s a self-run project. You choose what you want to do for fourteen weeks and then give your final presentation in front of your parents and the rest of the people in DAVINCI,” said Braner.

Mitchell is also looking to expand the ways in which the printer can be used outside of DAVINCI and the art department. Eventually, all departments will have access to the printer to create props for theater, graph models for math or even body parts to examine in biology classes.

This is the direction our world is going in terms of technology. As I research 3D printing more and more, there are so many applications for it. I think the careers of people that are graduating from this school will have technology like this, and I think it will give them an advantage as they move forward,” said Mitchell.

Still, the basis of having the printer is not just to improve students’ ability to command new forms of technology. At its core, the printer is meant to be a tool for students to further expand their artistic capacity and enjoy the opportunity to create amazing work.

I think in art, sometimes, [we] can feel restricted because we’re kids and we can’t build complicated things. I think that this helps us. [We] can print anything we want. It’s just limitless,” said Bradshaw.