Monday, April 21, 2014

3D Printed TurtleArt Stamps for Clay Tiles

If you are interested in step-by-step instructions on programming and 3D printing your own tiles, consider purchasing my book, The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun, which leads you through the process step by step!

When I saw the MakerHome post on using a Sharpie to create the basis for a 3D printed object I knew I wanted to try a similar project with the lower school art teacher and fourth grade students. We would use TurtleArt to program a design then turn the design into a 3D printed stamp that we could use to create intricate patterns on clay tiles. This is an example of a 3D printed tool that creates other works of art.

The tile stamps were printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer in PLA plastic. I used MakerWare to print them. I was able to print two tiles at a time on the Replicator 2.

Once everybody's stamps were printed the students practiced stamping Play-Doh in anticipation of stamping clay. Students learned how much (or little) pressure they needed to apply to the stamp to get a good impression in the Play-Doh.

Prepared to stamp clay, the students used their 3D printed stamps to create their tiles. The clay was forgiving if the design did not come through the first time: they could re-roll out the clay and re-stamp it.

The students also printed out their designs and took them to art class. They used markers to color in their designs in anticipation of glazing their tiles. The paper versions of the tile informed their glazing efforts.

Once glazed, the tiles were fired. They turned out beautifully!

The students, the lower school art teacher, and I all agreed that this was a hard fun project! We were afforded plenty of time so no part of the process felt rushed. I feel that this project is a good response to Gary Stager's "...and then?" prompt because the 3D printed object was not the end product but instead the beginning step in creating something new and more complex than they might have been capable of without the new tool they created. I love the variety of designs and choices of glazes. One might not consider programming to be a an artistic act, but these fourth graders proved it can be, given the right prompt and the support to carry the project through to its conclusion.