Enter the 3D Printer!

Mike Slobot vs. the Prusa i3 mk3
image courtesy of Prusa 3D

When I make a new Slobot sculpture, I typically get inspiration from some piece of plastic or something I pick up in my everyday life. That one item will become the centerpiece of the sculpture and I will begin to create the rest of the robot sculpture by adding from my collection of “bot parts” (that’s what my very patient wife calls my multiple plastic containers full of items I have collected!)

Most of the time, I find the perfect piece in one of those bins for the eyes or hands or back pack or whatever part of the robot I am looking for. On occasion, I will find the right piece but it will be too big or too small. Sometimes I can’t find what I am looking for at all. Usually I work it out, but I have always thought, “What if I could 3D print the piece I need?”

So, back in early 2019, I applied for a Professional Development Grant for Artists with United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County. My hope had been to secure funding to add a 3D printer to my studio. I filled out the paper work, application and submitted my artist resume and some images of my work. I also set about learning to use Blender, an open source 3D modelling application, and started researching 3D printers to decide what I would purchase should I receive funding.

Last month, I found out that I had been selected to receive grant funding. In preparation, I redoubled my efforts at picking a 3D printer. In the end, I settled on a Prusa i3 MK3S kit with the MMU upgrade. I’ll be spending a while putting the whole thing together and getting it working, but it should be worth it in the end.

Oh, and there are Haribo Gummy Bears in the deal.

The Professional Development Grant is funded and administered by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. This project is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
The program is operated in partnership with the Franklin County Arts Council, Johnston County Arts Council, Vance County Arts Council and Warren County Arts Council.