Check: Where Engineering Meets Art

bishopI have the rare opportunity of frequently collaborating with our engineer, Lance Dettmer to complete design projects for clients that go beyond our singular skill sets. We’ve put our heads together and handed projects back and forth to create trophies, custom beer tap handles, masks, props for film and television, and more. While there are other companies out there making use of artists and engineers, I personally don’t know of another design team that works the way we get to. It gives us the means to offer our clients really unique service, and creates a really unique working experience.

My side emphasized smooth contours and free flowing forms.

When we dove into this project we already knew our theme would focus on the idea of art and engineering in an abstract way, and spent some time looking at chess sets that had already been created for 3D Printing. One of the most fun aspects of 3D Design for 3D Printing is creating something that really can’t be manufactured any other way. Our search for inspiration came with a degree of disappointment. Most of what we were able to find didn’t dig much deeper than simply converting standard chess pieces into lattice work. While 3D Printing lattice structures has some excellent applications we felt like there was so much more potential to both create a chess set that couldn’t be manufactured without 3D Printing, and that had a truly unique aesthetic. In the end, our design was the result of looking back to our unique approaches of design.

Lance’s side emphasizes the structure or order and definitive geometry.

As an engineer trained in solid modeling, Lance’s MO in design is a combination of precision and clean surfaces. Even his most elaborate 3D Models are the result of mathematics and hard planes. In my case, as an artist, I work in ratios and use organic techniques even when creating hard edges and rigid geometry. We come from two career fields that on the surface couldn’t appear more unrelated.

After playing with a few concept pieces, we settled on the designs pictured here, playing on a version of structured order vs. free flowing form in a way that celebrated the conflict and conversation of chess as well as the similarities and contrast of art and engineering.

The final chess set was printed using 3D Systems’ Projet 3510 and Projet 460.  The board was printed using the Mcor Iris.

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