What is the question of the week regarding printing large outdoor sculptures?

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Title: Embracing the Outdoors: Crafting Large 3D Printed Sculptures

Introduction:

This week’s question from Fabbaloo reader Robin has sparked an intriguing discussion on the possibility of 3D printing large outdoor sculptures. Robin’s idea revolves around creating finely crafted, monocoloured sculptures that can withstand the diverse weather conditions of Sweden. In this blog post, we will explore the potential solutions to Robin’s query and address the challenges that may arise in producing detailed outdoor sculptures using 3D printing technology.

Segmentation and Assembly:

While the size limitation of Robin’s prospective 3D printer may seem hindering, it is possible to overcome this constraint by segmenting the sculptures into smaller parts that can be printed individually. By employing this technique, it becomes feasible to produce sculptures that are significantly larger than the printer’s build volume. This approach also mitigates the risks associated with printing large objects, as any failed prints can be easily rectified by reprinting the specific segment.

Printer Selection and Printing Time:

Considering the specific requirements of the project, it is advisable to opt for a fused filament fabrication (FFF) printer. Although other printer types may offer faster printing times, they are often accompanied by hefty price tags. FFF printers, on the other hand, offer a balance between affordability and functionality. It is important to note that printing larger objects using FFF printers may require considerable time, potentially spanning days or even weeks for completion. However, when assessing production time, it is crucial to consider the trade-off between faster approaches and increased expenses.

Addressing Environmental Factors:

One important aspect that needs consideration is the impact of the outdoor climate on the sculptures. To counteract potential issues such as UV damage, an appropriate coating should be applied. An ideal solution would involve thoroughly painting the sculpture with a few layers of primer, followed by a UV-resistant coating. This not only serves to protect the sculptures from the elements but also helps minimize the visibility of layer lines inherent in 3D printed objects. It is worth exploring various epoxy coatings available in the market for this purpose.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, 3D printing large outdoor sculptures is indeed possible, despite the limitations of printer build volumes. By segmenting and assembling smaller parts, it becomes feasible to create sculptures of desired sizes. While production time may increase, especially with FFF printers, it is a worthwhile trade-off for high-quality and affordable production. Additionally, by applying appropriate coatings, the sculptures can be safeguarded against environmental factors such as UV damage. We wish Robin the best of luck in his project and encourage others to push the boundaries of 3D printing, embracing the outdoors for their artistic endeavors.

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