Gianluca (Owen) Pugliese is an artist who uses a variety of materials and 3D technology to create his pieces, but of late, his principal material has been light.
Now working with an Italian company which has been manufacturing 3D printers in Italy for the last couple of years, WASP (their name stands for “World’s Advanced Saving Project”), Pugliese is using long exposure times in a dark environment to digitally photograph the movement of a light source attached to a 3D printer, and he calls it “CNC light painting.”
“Until that moment, almost all 3D printers were Cartesian printers,” Pugliese says. “The results I got were pretty good, but not satisfactory. Then, the Delta printers came along and I finally realized they were all I needed to get what I wanted.”
Pugliese began refining his technique after discovering an open source project on the web which allowed him to build his own Delta-based 3D printer, and he says that was the turning point. His results improved dramatically, to the point where one of his projects was included in the Venice Biennale.
It was in Venice that Pugliese met Sebastiano and Marcello Pellecchia from WASP.
“I showed them my project and they showed me their machines. A great friendship and a useful collaboration were born,” Pugliese says.
Following a series of tests with a Delta Open, WASP gave Pugliese a Turbo to use, and he then developed a novel attachment for the device, the LightExtruder, which replaces the plastic material extruder and it does not require any additional power supplies or specific settings. While he says the extruder can be used on every Delta WASP, it performs best on a Turbo as that machine allows the LED lights to move faster, thus reducing total exposure time.
The LightExtruder is essentially an RGB LED along with a selector which allows the photographer to choose the color of light being output.
“All you have to do is put the camera on a tripod just in front of the printer, turn the light off,” Pugliese says. “Then you run the printer and you take the picture with the BULB mode. The printer starts moving as it was printing something – at a higher speed though – and you can see the LED moving around. The camera is actually capturing all these movement, and once the shooting is done the magic trick appears: the object, created with the light, appears on the screen of the camera”
He says he regularly discovers new ways to manipulate the process. In one, he takes several pictures of the same subject and simply turns the printer 15 degrees before creating every file. The resulting photos are then assembled in sequence digitally and that allows him to build a video of the “object.”
Pugliese has also created what he refers to as transparent objects to achieve a holographic effect,and you can find instructions to let you try the technique yourself on Thingiverse. He calls one of them the Holo Pyramid.
Do you know of any other projects where artists and engineers are using 3D printing hardware to “paint with light?” Let us know in the 3D Printing With Light forum thread on 3DPB.com.