Digital Tech and Analog Workspace
This semester at Reedley College boundaries are being pushed by the incorporation of digital technology and 3D printing into our Ceramics Foundation experience. Students are exploring ways to make practical use of printed objects in the hands on studio atmosphere Students will be composing images using the foundational principles of design to create images and patterns that will be transformed into 3D printed objects. These objects will function as tools for studio production. Tools such extruder dies will be the first experience for students to explore. This simple tool is often overlooked because of the limitations of dies and all too generic shapes readily available. Extruder dies function best when produced with precision. Hand cut dies while possible are difficult for novice tool makers to execute, but with the aide of basic digital software such as photoshop, students can crete complex and precise patterns and compositions. Image such as the ones made for this purpose are easily translated into object (.obj) files and printed with our 3D printer into PLA plastic objects. These extruder dies can be used to produce sculptural elements, handles, rims, feet and amazingly complex coils and ribbons for straight forward construction.
With simple approaches to translating images to object, students' concepts can quickly be put to use in the studio. Hands on construction methods are still used here at Reedley College, and with these new approaches to 3D printing the perceived limitations the often painfully slow printing process of a PLA printer is dissolved. We're finding practical ways to incorporate digital technology into the analog processes of a ceramics course. The ability to make tools that can quickly see and entire class room of students is a game changer in how we will incorporate the abilities and possibilities of digital prints into the educational and ceramic production environment.
Below is a small sample of the process and what students will be playing with in the Intermediate Ceramics course at Reedley College.
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