Sustainable products from explorations
Sustainable me means Ann Marie having valuable time, space and a smidgen of time pressure to not only explore and experiment with different processes and materials but to also add value to the abundant waste and scrap around us and create things that others can own and treasure.
A VACMA award gave Ann Marie Shillito just this. Closing the Loop‘s “MATTER | Earth, Material and Making” exhibition at the Barn gave purpose and a deadline. Fold, the shop at the Barn, gave an Ann Marie the opportunity to develop her explorations into finished pieces. The image on the left shows a scarf in a series with 3D printed motifs on beautiful designer deadstock lacy fabric. The black lace shows off the red 3D printed flowing caligraphic forms which were digitally designed using Anarkik3DDesign, a haptic 3D modelling programme.
Although only two projects out of five were selected for MATTER, the purpose of this series of Sustainable Me posts is to bring together the bulk of Ann Marie’s work created in the past two and a half years with information about their making process.
Previous to the MATTER exhibition, Dazzle Exhibitions celebrated 40 years and 150 exhibitions in 2021 by inviting forty makers from across those four decades to make a special brooch. Ann Marie was one of the 40. For her ‘Dazzle brooch’ she intended to continue her lockdown project investigating 3D printing on fabric as she had purchased a scrap of fine black ex-designer deadstock silk, her inspiration for her brooch.
She started by designing digitally using Anarkik3DDesign (screen capture on right) playing with circles and ovals of different sizes and shapes.
Next was to 3D print a prototype but in discussions during Closing the Loop’s monthly online meet-ups Ann Marie decided to try 3D printer filament that had a higher percentage of recycled polymer to virgin material. This meant testing (two prototypes far right image) as 3D printers have different configurations. Ann Marie Uses an Ultimaker 2+. Different makes and types of filament need 3D printer parameters tweaking to achieve quality results. This includes the temperature of the hot-end for optimum extrusion, fan and flow speeds, retraction rates, etc.
The strip of six images below covers the process of making the brooch: first the digital design was process for 3D printing and the first two images show one of the tests being printed. This was to check for size and the quality of the printing as the red PLA polymer filament (55% recycled) was new to her.
For the actual brooch the third image shows the loose-weave ex-designer deadstock silk material stretched, clipped and pinned over the first printed layers and then the printing resumed. The forth image shows the silk fabric cut away from the finished printed form, leaving a fringe of silk threads (5th image). The last image shows just some of the forty special one-off brooches which were exhibited at the Dovecot Studios during Edinburgh Festival, August 2021. Ann Marie’s brooch is bottom centre.
Next idea re Sustainable Me
Designing flowing caligraphic forms
The idea for the scarves came serendipitiously when she was rooting through her material. Ann Marie draped some black dotty ex-designer deadstock net around her neck on which a test piece had been 3D printed. She stitched the remainder of the net into two short scarves, amended earlier designs and 3D printed them onto the scarves.
For the MATTER exhibition and ajoining shop, Ann Marie wanted to make longer scarves with bespoke motifs. Designing with Anarkik3DDesign, she set herself a challenge – to design flowing caligraphic forms which she hadn’t tried in this programme before.
Using the line tool, with the ‘x’ key to create a straignt line, she then deformed the line, thickening and thinning it, pushing and pulling it into a curvy line, using the ‘y’ key too to keep the form flat. She also used non-uniform scaling, again with the ‘x’ and ‘y’ keys, in a serendipitious mind-set un-doing and re-forming to get shapes that worked well together.
The back of the forms were ‘booleaned’ uniformaly flat to give good adhesion when the motif was duly 3D printed on to designer deadstock scalloped lacey material that has been sewn into a long panel.
Ann Marie had also purchased a square meter of ex-designer deadstock organza with printed paterns which she had cut and edges machined as scarves ready to be 3D printed on. This was a more ambitious task as the fine lacy patterns called for a lighter, maybe more complex, form.
In Anarkik3DDesign she started with the previous forms, and used the same tools and methods to refine and duplicate the shapes.
The design was processed in Cura, that is sliced, and a test print done on an offcut of the organza using a blue ONE PET filament.
ONE PET is a 100% recycled filament made from post-consumer PET plastic bottle waste. This is a stiff and tough material with excellent interlayer adhesion and available in a wide range of colours.
As noted above, different makes and types of filament need different 3D printer parameters and desktop 3D printers are configured differently. Producers of filament provide general settings for the temperature for the hot-end for optimum extrusion and layer adhesion, fan and flow speeds, retraction rates, etc. and the necessity for oven-drying the filament at for instance 65° for 24 hours. The design of an object also dictates that 3D printing parameters be tweaked to achieve quality results. Ann Marie uses an Ultimaker 2 upgraded in 2020 to 2+. This all adds up to too many variables!
In the image below the test print in the blue ONE PET filament produced a reasonably good 3D print on the organza (left) but the colour is too intense for its delicate colours and patterns. From somewhere Ann Marie had acquired a sample length of a pale gold coloured filament which works colour-wise but the polymer type isn’t known! It took numerous test to achieve a half decent result and she persisted as she wanted to use up what is lying around, not purchase new filament even 100% recycled PET polymer.
From somewhere Ann Marie had acquired a sample length of a pale gold coloured filament which works colour-wise but the polymer type isn’t known! It took numerous test to achieve a half decent result and she persisted as she wanted to use up what is lying around, not purchase new filament even if it is 100% recycled PET polymer.
The next post is about 3D printing on stuff other than fabric. The two posts after that are about making objects that use all her waste and scrap filament in creative ways, designing frames and connectors that add value to the abundant bits and pieces that are in Ann Marie’s studio from at least 10 years of desktop 3D printing!