I have been doing a lot of thinking about plastic material three dimensional printing. How three dimensional printing compares to true craft work with conventional tools and materials. Primarily when the entire item created is 3D printed.
The frustration I feel is from my feelings about the low intrinsic value of the item produced totally in printed plastic.
Three dimensional printed items are an interesting curiosity to the people who see and sometimes purchase what I make in plastic. Most of the time I give what I print, away. This is because I know I personally (other than design) put almost no physical effort in the creation on the item. I simply ran a machine that totally produced the item. Machine operator is not the definition of a craftsperson.
I am most probably under-rating the perceived value opinions of people who have no idea of the process. I realize most people have little insight to the full making process involved in most crafted items and judge value by the finished item appearance and function. That’s OK. Something cheap looking that was hard to make doesn’t add value because of the unseen extreme effort required.
The personal anxiety I feel is produced from what I see is a piece of plastic made by an automated machine. Plastic is the big negative factor in my mind.
But there are exceptions. I am much more satisfied when the printed plastic item is part of an assembly. Not a one shot, one piece print. I also like large heavy items that are more impressive looking than small light plastic trinkets.
My problem is totally self inflicted. It stems from my feelings about the lack of personal involvement in the “making” or “putting together” portion of crafting an item.
I have made plastic items from several separately printed, then assembled, parts. These products leave me with a much higher “value” impression because of my involvement in the assembly of the finished item.
So, there are two main factors that cause my dismay. One is the total automation of the “make” process where I only push a start button and am no longer involved. The other is the final product is totally plastic with no intrinsic value of traditional construction materials such as wood and metal.
One solution is to design much more complex projects where 3D printing is not the total and only process. I have made several items like this and feel good about the results.
(Maybe… I could try four dimensional printing? That would be interesting and more complex, but may require working at the quantum level where perhaps the forth, W dimension, could exist. Note: This is not the space-time dimension, but a true Euclidian dimension.)
Naw, I’ll stay at three dimensions.
Functional, useful objects are more desirable than plastic display shelf knickknacks that become collected plastic Junque. I have a LOT of plastic Junque. The Junque is what is bothering me the most.
Therefore, my plan moving forward is to produce more complex, multi part designs using the three dimensional printing process as part of conventional crafting projects as well as total 3D printed projects.
This will provide more satisfaction of the making process then I receive from single session printing.
If I tell myself this often enough and keep making posts about it, maybe I’ll start doing more of what I say! Ha! This as at least the third time I have posted a Blog somewhere on this very same topic. Proves to me only I can and should do something about it. It’s something only I control. My own actions.