Where we work tells the story of who we are. I enjoy space planning and getting the most out of small environments. I don’t enjoy excessive space filled with… well, space. Also not a fan of architectural spaces that offer volumes of open space. I find the echoes of cloppity-clopping of feet on marble surfaces and reverently hushed voices annoying. This seems an American thing, where scale of space and purpose are out of synch. Visiting Europe, or older sections of large cities anywhere, I find the ratio of space to purpose in better proportion. Less pretence, more utilization and intimacy – and less hallowed shrine to the gods of capitalism, perhaps?
I once expanded operations from a shared purpose three car garage to a facility of over 4,500s.f. – thinking more was better. But, what I found was a sense of inefficiency. A friend once commented that space had a tendency to fill itself. He was right. It’s like a lifeform with an insatiable appetite for “stuff”, leading to a need for more space. It was amazing how much junk became “necessary”.
In 2019, I down-sized everything by eliminating redundant accumulated equipment (donated to a Maker Center), and clearing/recycling “stuff.” The process was liberating.
Additive manufacturing – AKA 3D Printing – comes in several forms that produce various degrees of detail and part integrity. For most of us, the go-to process is FDM, which generates strong plastic parts at a reasonable cost, using a wide range of polymers to suit many needs.
FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling, also known and MLE (Material Layer Extrusion) – is a process in which a filament of plastic is heated and extruded, tracing the part and its interior, layer by layer. This is the most common process for making strong end-use parts, made from a wide range of materials. FDM printing is also very cost effective, using affordable equipment. Can produce crude optical diffusers, but unsuited to optical forms.
For art produced by the author at Lumenique, we employ a Stratasys F370 Professional grade high performance FDM 3D printer that can print a wide range of plastics. The F370 is a highly reliable printer, that can generate parts that take many days to produce, without failures or quality issues. There are many lower cost machines on the market, but they are not capable of reliably printing large, high quality parts runs without failing. We regularly print jobs that take more than 60 hours, that consume 75 cubic inches of material. We invest in the equipment needed to support this. Our previous Stratasys printer generated over 900 print jobs, with just 2 print failures in the 9 years we had it in operation.