THE MAGIC OF PRINTING THINGS – the newest book on 3D printing reviewed in 3Ds

Iris van Herpen is one of the first fashion designers who work with 3D techniques. In the conversation with Jan Kedves (‘Talking Fashion’ by Prestel reviewed lately by BOA) she says: “Sometimes when I’m trying to find out how I can create a certain structure, working with 3D print really opens my mind and suddenly gives me an idea which other material I could use and how I could handle it – so 3D printing really inspires my work.” Van Herpen’s designs are sculptural masterpieces, especially that the designer is not afraid of experimenting with synthetics. 3D printing obviously has also numerous practical applications for scientific field. Furthermore, it's successfully used in designing furniture or everyday objects. The technology pushes the boundaries and seems to have no limits at all in bringing solutions in many areas of our life. ‘Printing Things. Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing’ edited by Claire Warnier, Dries Verbruggen, Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten gives us not only an insight into the technical aspect but also an overall view of what is possible to achieve with 3D printing. The book reflects the potential of 3D printing, it’s:


DESIRABLE I once heard someone saying that if we step back from the bubble of hype surrounding 3D printing, we’ll notice many obstacles. The authors of ‘Printing Things’ succeed in presenting wide perspective that includes both possibilities and challenges. It gives an introduction to the materials, processes and printers (technical vocabulary looks fairly complicated). The chapter on the theory, apart from details on creating prototypes (many tips how to DIY) and manufacturing (including the newest technologies), points out important issues like authorship or copyright, which I find valuable. The authors pose important questions on the future of traditionally manufactured goods and analyse various fields where 3D printing is used or tested, including extremely promising medical applications. “Uniqueness and customization is something that 3D printing excels at”. Whether the technology is applied for printing tailor-made prostheses or design objects, it can either save one’s life or make it more attractive. ‘Printing Things’, embracing the subject in a complex way, is a highly appealing publication. 

DAZZLING The largest part of the book is the most thrilling one as it features lots of case studies presenting actual projects, from their inception to the final results. Some are truly breath-taking and it’s so interesting to have a sneak peek of the creation process. Imagine a photo booth where instead of a photo you receive printed miniature figurines in a frame or personalized toys based on children’s drawings or flexible lightning inspired by nature (Patrick Jouin’s Bloom) or the flow of water materialized in a printed vase (poetic design by Fung Kwok Pan), let alone sophisticated hand prosthetic or clothing based on biological skins (by my favourite Iris van Herpen). Sounds cosmic? In 3D printing the creativity, supported by the technology, is simply illimitable. Through the courtesy of Gestalten, I’m presenting some of the most remarkable projects but believe me, it’s just a small part of what you can find in the book:

DELIGHTFUL The book is interesting not only from the content point of view but also design-wise. Reading ‘Printing Things’ is an enjoyable and quite a dynamic experience – the theory is divided into small portions, all chapters, topics, subheadings are clearly outlined (great help in navigation) and the case studies richly illustrated. It’s transparent and fun. All those 3D wonders are so inspiring that may result in making you feel like creating your own pieces. Who knows, perhaps you’ll join the group of trendsetters featured in the book? There is a hint on page 16 how you can check the location of the nearest printing point…


Printing Things. Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing, edited by Claire Warnier, Dries Verbruggen / Unfold, Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten, Gestalten

 All images courtesy of the Publisher - from Printing Things, Copyright Gestalten 2014