Karen-Ann Dicken

Integrating 3D printing and hand fabrication in contemporary craft practice

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Tool making is recognised as an essential aspect of being human and plays a significant role in shaping society and culture. With the recent increase in modern technologies such as 3D printing and CNC milling machines our society has seen a change or advancement in production methods that moves us into the next industrial revolution. Although toolmaking, craft and previous design movements are well recognised the implications of using these digital technologies as tooling in the craft process and the impacts to wider society is under researched.

black and white vase

There is a recent trend amongst craft practitioners to create tooling for hand-crafted objects using Computer Aided Design and 3D printing technologies, for example ceramic artists using 3D printing to make moulds for the traditional process of slip casting; architects and builders printing hammers and metal workers making jigs for holding wire in place and printing multiple sprues for metal casting.

This study seeks to establish the relationships between makers, technology and society through a practice based investigation of the ways contemporary creators are integrating 3D printing and traditional hand fabrication through tool making. In this research, a maker is defined as; someone who makes things, including craft practitioners, designers, architects, engineers etc.