3D Printed Aztec Ceiling Design

Jun 21, 2015 | Art

Simon from 3ders.org
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While we’ve seen how 3D printing has been used to create a range of product designs for everything from consumer electronic prototypes to even bionic arms, some of the more unique applications have remained among the most memorable.
Among others, Aztec Scenic Design has been using 3D printing to create custom interior work for high-end homes including the design, development and installation of intricate custom ceiling designs.

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Led by 3D printing enthusiast Mark Leonard – who 3Ders reported on last December after he 3D printed a fully functional broom – the company has managed to create an expansive collection of decorative 3D printed patterns that have helped contribute to furthering what’s possible when a 3D printer is involved.  Leonard, along with a team of designers, artists and fabricators have combined their respective backgrounds to create a unique, effective and successful method for creating next-generation custom interiors.  Among other tools used by the team to create their designs include Autodesk’s Fusion 360 and an 8″ Makerfarm Prusa i3 3D printer.

Recently, Leonard sat down for an interview with 3D Printing for Beginners to further discuss how he got involved with 3D printing and how Aztec Scenic Design creates such stunning work.

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“I saw my first 3D printer on Youtube by watching the Giant Robot Project,” says Leonard.
“After seeing this great but completely crazy project materialize (the use of a 3D printer was paramount in the making of the robot) I was completely hooked and knew 3D printers could be used to make just about anything.”

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From there, Leonard leveraged his previous CAD knowledge and began using Blender to better understand the processes of modeling, rendering and animating, among others.  His first 3D prints were not in fact printed on his own but rather, through Shapeways.  It was after receiving the prints when Leonard confirmed that he wanted to own his own 3D printer.

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“Once the printer was acquired, I learned how to use it and started making little decorative parts, mainly by modelling and printing moulds,” he says.
“I kept pushing Gabriel (Gabriel Collazo, the manager of the Aztec team) to let me try and use it for our work. It started off slow with a couple little jobs, like making little decorative parts. I was mainly making moulds and the casted parts were then used for Aztec jobs.”
After doing more small jobs with the 3D printer, Leonard and Gabriel became more confident in using additive manufacturing as a method of creating the custom intricate ceiling designs.  To test this, Leonard decided to do an installation on a “decent-sized ceiling” that was fully 3D printed.

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As they say, the rest is history.
“Those ceilings, for me anyways, were life absorbing. I spent every waking moment working on them and I lost total track of time. I really wanted to push the limits of 3D printing and take it as far as possible until somebody told me to stop.”
Today, Leonard and the rest of the Aztec Scenic Design team continue to use 3D printing for many of their projects and are focusing their efforts on new and better ways of finishing the ceilings with a variety of post-processing techniques.

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As for how he feels about the recent surge of interest surrounding full structures that have been created using additive manufacturing techniques, Leonard adds:
“Size and speed are still very limiting. I could take this so much farther with faster and bigger prints. I also think that a multitude of smaller machines are better than few bigger machines because it is still just one nozzle travelling around. These factors are being improved so rapidly though. With 3D printed concrete homes in the future it is very interesting where 3D printing is going. Just imagine being able to have sculpted walls and ceilings that are just printed as the house is being built. Imagine electronics and different materials and colors being thrown into the mix. 3D printing technology is here to stay for a very long time – way past my lifetime anyways – the future is bright!.”

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To find out more about Aztec Scenic Design, the company has recently updated their portfolio which features all of their most intricate 3D printed ceiling design workhttp://www.3ders.org