There are few places in the world that 3D printing technology hasn’t touched in some way. We hear and write about certain areas more than others; for example, Dubai with its 3D Printing Strategy tends to show up in the headlines on approximately a weekly basis. Some of my favorite stories, however, come from countries we don’t hear about as regularly. Cuba is one of those countries, but a small 3D printing workshop in Havana has just put itself on the map with what its owner calls the biggest 3D printed sculpture in the country.
Abel Bajuelos runs 3DFab CREARTE, a small workshop and 3D printing service that he began in 2015. Though it’s a small company, it’s a major hub for 3D printing in Cuba; 3DFab CREARTE has served the 3D printing needs of everyone from individuals to small and medium businesses to large state organizations, participating in projects in the fields of art, architecture, engineering, industrial design and more.
“One of our most valued services is reverse engineering for spare parts,” he tells 3DPrint.com.
3DFab CREARTE’s biggest claim to fame, however, may be a sculpture by a promising young artist named Linet Sanchez Gutiérrez. The untitled piece is an MC Escher-like mind trip composed of multiple small staircases that collide with each other, overlap and face in every direction, drawing the eye into a complex, repetitive web. It’s one of those sculptures that’s difficult to look away from – the viewer wants to continue to return to it, feeling as if he or she may have missed something. That’s exactly the point, says Gutiérrez, who describes the piece as a “chaotic, unreal image” that echoes the repetitiveness of an obsessive state of mind.
It’s a fascinating piece by itself, but the amount of work that went into it makes it even more impressive. According to Bajuelos, it’s the biggest 3D printed piece to be created in Cuba so far, and 3DFab CREARTE, where Gutiérrez printed the sculpture, went through six rolls of white PLA to complete it. The sculpture is made up of 150 pieces, each of which took four to seven hours to print on a FlashForge Creator X 3D printer. The total size is 68 x 68 x 7 cm.
The hard work and long hours paid off, as the sculpture is now showing at La Acacia, one of Havana’s most well-known and prestigious art galleries. Gutiérrez has gotten quite a bit of press regarding the piece, too. Her talent as a designer is obvious, as is her skill with a 3D printer, and from a look at the gallery of photos on 3DFab CREARTE’s Facebook page, she isn’t the only talented artist whose work has emerged from the small but successful workshop.
Though the printing service’s biggest source of business may be functional parts, it’s the creative pieces that stand out the most from any makerspace or service bureau, and I’m excited to see what else Gutiérrez, as well as the other artists who work from 3DFab CREARTE, create in the future. You can learn more about 3D printing in Havana in the video below (in Spanish), which was filmed at the 3DFab CREARTE workshop. Discuss in the Cuba forum at 3DPB.com.