Cabe Atwell

May 10, 2013

2 Min Read
SME Rapid Conference Hosts 3D Printing Art Gallery

With the onset of new-age media and the ongoing advancement of software programming that increases the creative capability of individuals, art creation has taken a significant step into the computer-aided realm.

We have already seen a growing community of artists who find sustenance through the boundless expression of creative coding. Now, as 3D printing technology continues to evolve, more and more artists are taking their creative pursuits to computer-aided-design programs, which can then be easily transferred to a format for 3D printing/additive manufacturing. In fact, the field has grown enough that the annual SME Rapid Conference has invited 3D printing artists to submit their artwork for evaluation to be displayed at this year's Contemporary Art Gallery.

Click on the image below to see four examples of the type of work that will be on display.


The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) encompasses all aspects of the manufacturing world. Each year, it hosts the RAPID Conference and Exposition in North America to present the latest developments in manufacturing. This includes displays such as novel systems, software, materials, machinery, and, most recently, 3D printing and 3D imaging technologies. The conference attracts huge audiences of buyers, sellers, end-users, and manufacturing technology developers to a world-class networking event on additive manufacturing.

The conference's Contemporary Art Gallery was introduced in 2010 to display the creative designs inherent to manufacturing. In the past three events alone, more than 50 works of art have been displayed on the gallery floor.

The use of 3D printing, 3D imaging, and digital modeling frees the creative process by removing physical limits to approach art creation and production in a new way. This high-speed process of 3D printing incorporates a multitude of materials outputting a finished product onto a platform one cross-section layer at a time. An artistic approach to the concept serves to spark ideas in the minds of additive manufacturers looking to improve upon their manufacturing techniques through the creative use of 3D printing technology.

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About the Author(s)

Cabe Atwell

Cabe is an electrical engineer, machinist, maker, cartoonist, and author with 25 years’ experience. When not designing/building, he creates a steady stream of projects and content in the media world at element14,, MAKE ─ among others. His most recent book is “Essential 555 IC: Design, Configure, and Create Clever Circuits.

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