Digital Fabrication

A New Compass Tool In Cyant's Lab™

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We’re excited to have a new Compass tool available in Cyant’s Lab™ as of version 1.8.0! The tool will make it easy to 3D draw and have fun with circular shapes and arcs in jewelry and accessories, art, crafts / diy, STEAM projects and more. We’ve designed the tool to be intuitive to use, functioning much like a real-life compass and can’t wait for it to spark and fuel new creations. Versions 1.8.0 and above also include some updates, improvements and bug fixes to Cyant’s Lab™.

Happy creating and 3D printing!

New Ruler Tool In Cyant's Lab™!

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A ruler is part of an engineer’s, a school kid’s, a designer‘s and an artist ‘s toolkit, even a 3D one! So we’ve added a new ruler tool to our iPad app Cyant’s Lab to make it easier for Cyantists of all ages to 3D draw straight lines in the app digitally.

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Of course you can still use a physical ruler and an apple pencil too if you have one. :)

Digital or physical, you choose! What will you create? :)

Today's #CyantistWeLove: Alexis Walsh, Artist & Fashion Designer, And Creator Of The Apex Series

Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Fashion Weeks and Fashion Shows all around the world increasingly provide an opportunity to discover new designs and fabrication innovations involving 3D printing and digital design. This year, Alexis Walsh, an NYC based designer and artist, caught our attention. Her Apex Series, which we featured as one of our #TechTuesday picks, combines new technologies such as 3D printing with more traditional techniques, and 3D printed pieces (also called custom hardware) applied on fabric through a special design software she and her partner built. Due to the important and innovative aspects of her work, we decided to go a step further and feature Alexis as a #CyantistWeLove! Alexis kindly shared about the process behind her collection, her thoughts on sustainable fashion and fashion design, her advice for young Cyantists and more. A great inspiration for anyone interested in the intersection of 3D printing, design, sustainability and traditional craft!

Apex Coat - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Apex Coat - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

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Cyant: Can you please tell us about the Apex Series and what led you to this collection? What was the creative and design process behind it? 

Alexis: Apex Series initially began as a single piece - the Apex Coat. This was an idea that had been brainstormed with my design partner Justin Hattendorf. We were really excited about the idea of creating customized hardware [e.g. 3D printed decorative pieces that adorn a garment] that could have an engineered placement on a body. New expressions are possible through 3D printing that are either impossible or extremely difficult to attain in other mediums. With additive manufacturing, new ways of integrating different materials can be utilized, combining traditional handcraft and hardware elements with modern performative materials. After the creation of Apex Coat, the piece was so well received that we decided to expand the idea further into a continuing body of work. Apex Series is the first collection.

Apex Top = Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Apex Top = Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Cyant: Once designed, what was involved in making the collection come to life, in terms of materials, processes and technologies? And what problems were you able to solve?

Alexis: We created a custom software to develop our 3D models for this piece. The software took about 6 months of iterations before we were ready to start prototyping. From there, we tested a number of methods to apply the 3D printed hardware onto fabric. Rather than prototyping for a specific, isolated design problem, we decided to prototype a process for making an expansive collection of fashion products. This allows us to focus on each new garment in the collection with a sharp attention to detail, ensuring that our designs maintain a high quality of craftsmanship while giving us full creative freedom when we have an idea for a new hardware application. With 3D printing, small studios and independent designers are now empowered to work on new and disruptive design ideas with production on-demand. In the past, fashion hardware development required access to large scale manufacturing and would require extremely large minimum order quantities, which has often been unattainable for small businesses. Today we can use desktop 3D printers to prototype, and small fabrication companies to produce high quality hardware, allowing us to rethink old design standards and develop a new interpretation of fashion hardware. Using the custom software app that we built together, we mapped out the flattened pattern pieces and were able to engineer the exact placements of hardware to each specific pattern piece, before physically creating the garment. This efficient method allows us to rapidly test our designs until deciding on a final form, with absolutely no wastage of materials or labor. Though the designing of the software took six months, we were able to physically create all the pieces within Apex Series in about two months. Each piece was hand-sewn and the hardware was manually applied.

Bristle - Designed and fabricated at  Studio Bitonti  - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Bristle - Designed and fabricated at Studio Bitonti - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Cyant: Your work is at the intersection of fashion, technology and physics! How did your studies prepare you for your current work? Conversely, what else did you have to learn and what collaborations did you have to put in place?

Alexis: In 2015, I graduated from Parsons The New School for Design, with a focus in both fashion design and product design. My experiences with digital design, including computational design and 3D modeling, has been largely self taught. I was a student during the period where 3D printing was just becoming a mainstream concept. In order to learn more about 3D printing, I enrolled in industrial product design courses, and classes focused on fabrication materials and manufacturing processes. Through this, I was allowed access to the manufacturing buildings on the Parsons campus, which included an array of 3D printers, laser cutters, and metal fabrication machinery. I had an incredible four years of experimenting, and I definitely got lucky in having such encouraging professors who allowed me to explore. One particular instance was in a steel welding class, where I create a cage dress out of welded steel rods. I found a mannequin and would carry it up and down the stairs into the welding studio, welding directly onto the mannequin. Two crucial experiences to my current work were two 3D printing based internships. When I was a junior, I interned for the designer Bradley Rothenberg at his namesake company (now nTopology, a really cool software company!) This was at the height of 3D printing in fashion, and it was such a great learning experience. I was able to see how the studio collaborated with more traditional fashion design companies to work with technology. The next year, right after I graduated, I worked as the studio manager for Studio Bitonti, under the designer Francis Bitonti. Studio Bitonti worked with fabricating and designing projects focused on 3D modeling/3D printing, as well as teaching a workshop class about using 3D modeling for wearable designs. Without a doubt, the most important collaboration I have ever had is with my partner Justin Hattendorf. We work so well together, and our skill sets compliment each other. Justin has a background in architecture and industrial product design, and his knowledge of computational design is incredibly important to our process.

Apex Dress - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Apex Dress - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Cyant: What other innovations do you see possible, that combine traditional craft and new technologies such as 3D printing? And what other materials do you hope to work with in the future?

Alexis: I’m really excited about the potential of fully 3D printed fabrics. As a textile, I don't think the technology is completely realized yet, but there is so much possibility around fully 3D printed garments. I would also love to work with more sustainable materials, such as lab grown leather or mycelium.

Cyant: How do you think your work can advance more sustainable design in fashion? And to facilitate that, what are techniques that exist, or you think would be possible, that you hope to use?

Alexis: 3D printing is surprisingly sustainable! PLA filament is plant-based, and your print can be biodegradable. There are several companies focusing on the "recycling" of 3D printed filaments, too. Another printing method, SLS, is completely zero waste by utilizing nylon powder. Any excess powder is continuously reused for the next prints. With 3D printing, the amount of wastage can be drastically reduced as compared to more traditional methods of clothing/accessory/hardware manufacturing.

Lysis Collection - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Lysis Collection - Photo courtesy of Alexis Walsh (www.alexiswalsh.com)

Cyant: What would be your advice for young (and older :)) cyantists interested in fashion, and looking to use 3D printing and related technologies?

Alexis: If you're interested in 3D printing, now is the time to explore it! There are so many resources available online right now, as well as intuitive guides to help first time 3D modelers learn the programs. Several colleges are also beginning to offer courses focused on 3D modeling for wearable items, like clothing, shoes, or hardware. It might seem intimidating at first, but it's so worth learning and it's also fun!

Cyant: Finally, what is your favorite thing to draw? :)

Alexis: I love drawing portraits! In my free time, I enjoy sketching with graphite or painting watercolor.

Thanks Alexis for sharing your insights and experience with us! If you want to learn more about Alexis, make sure to visit HERE!

Today's #CyantistWeLove: Artist Rogan Brown

By mixing science and art, observation and imagination I hope to elucidate both, the breathtaking detail and complexity that exists at every level of scale in nature transformed by the eccentricity of the individual imagination.

Artist Rogan Brown takes inspiration in Nature and the infinitesimally small to create one of a kind paper sculptures, and works in an interdisciplinary fashion, for example by meeting with microbiologists, to help planning his exhibits.

The execution process, while relying on planar material, becomes inherently 3D as the artist conceives the final sculptures, and assembles layers to create them. So this art-meets-science work already highlights a very interesting element of 2D to 3D thinking.

The layers are painstakingly cut by hand, and interestingly, via laser cutter for most recent works. As digital fabrication progresses, the use of technologies such as laser cutting and 3D printing opens the door for artworks that push us to see Nature under different lights and better grasp some of its dimensions, and perhaps its beauty. Could this intersection of science and art also help approach learning and teaching science in different ways? :)