Part of my exploration of 3D printing is learning about other practices and their approaches. A key influence is Unfold Studio in Belgium, Claire Warnier & Dries Verbruggen, who's 3d printing philosophy is to 'think in lines'. When it comes to 3d printing, a common starting point is to model virtual objects and then release them onto a 3d printer via a slicing software. This approach focuses purely on the object and does not consider the uniqueness of 3D printing, which is its ability to deposit material in a Cartesian XYZ plotting space. 'Thinking in lines' takes the opposite approach, it starts with understanding the 3d printer and then designing virtual objects through the logic of a 3D continuously plotted path. The outcome are objects that procedurally build up and, in some cases, express lines as a feature. A great example is Unfold's experiments with ceramic printing that celebrate the line as an aesthetic.

Unfold Design Studio - Experiments atAlfred University

Having control of the line requires expertise in virtual modelling that I will explore through this blog, namely through G Code. I will write more about this in future, but essentially instead of modelling a 3D digital object in a software package, generating machine readable 'G Code' allows direct communication with the printer to provide more creative control.

Unfold's approach reminds me of Paul Klee's saying 'a drawing is simply a line going for a walk'. In Klee's case, the drawing exists on a 2d x,y coordinate plane, and pen variables include direction, line weight, colour, and speed. Taking a 3d printed line for a 3d walk adds complexity and requires careful calibration of additional variables, such as z height, material behaviour and flow rate. My practice will start with creating virtual objects to learn the 3d printing machine and its affordances. At first my files will be simply sliced to print in layers, but at some point, I intend to describe how to build an object through a material line, and then explore how machine code instruction can generate difference when released into the world of atoms.