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3D Printing Designers Interview: Isaac Budmen

1. Isaac, can you say a few words about yourself and your work?

I am an artist, author and inventor from New York. My work asks questions about the presently possible behaviors, processes and techniques at the intersection of creativity and technology. My approach is to let the idea and my imagination drive the process and shape the piece, this means being open to and actively seeking unfamiliar methods and materials in order to realize the idea with integrity. This approach means in my workshop traditional wood turning and screen printing is just as much at home as robotic mills, lasers and additive making machines.

2. Where do you get your inspiration to create these fabulous designs?

Inspiration comes form of questions. When presented with a tool, technique or process my brain immediately begins to ask the question “What else can it do?” This means constant experimentation in pursuit of answers to that question. Admittedly, it’s a bit of an obtuse way of looking at the world as constantly challenge archetypes creates a lot of work, both in understanding what has been done and in inventing new ways of doing it. However, if you love the work the way I do its a small price to pay for the fascinating and diverse results this approach produces.

3. Which CAD software(s) do you use to make your designs?

I am program agnostic. There are so many great 3D modeling softwares out there, from interactive to parametric to 3D capture, all of them seem to have a different set of specialized functionality. When pursuing an idea, I typically use 3 or 4 different CAD programs moving it from tool to tool in each to craft the piece in exactly the way I want it. The most used lately have been: OpenSCAD, Fusion 360, Blender and Meshmixer.

4. What 3D printer have you got and what are your regular printing settings?

I have two workhorses that do most of my printing - A heavily modified Replicator 2 with redesigned carriages, full metal extruder, heated build plate and modified hot end, nicknamed the ‘BucketBot’ and a home brewed 12 inch3 machine. Regular print settings are a 220 micron layer height, 1ti% or 30% infill with 2 shells.

5. Finally, among all your great work, what is your favorite creation?

It would have to be 21 Terms for the 21st Century. If words are thoughts, then it stands to reason that learning new words means we can think new thoughts. Additive manufacturing is such a unique technology, totally different and new compared to anything human history has ever seen. While using analogies to describe AM is great, it conjures up images that are less than 1 to 1 representations of the technology at hand so we need new language. This
project assigns 21 brand new words to ideas, behaviors and techniques made possible because of 3D printing. Things like a “Scanvenir: (n) An object 3D scanned on vacation and fabricated at home” or “Meshmash: (v) to combine two or more computed 3D meshes”.
Each word has an example object. This project is the culmination of thousands of hours of experiments, ideation and creative contemplation taking the most interesting pieces from my research and explorations and considering them in the greater context of our industry and planet. During this past year this project has been on display in both Manhattan and the San Francisco Bay Area and is being published as a book, 21 Terms for the 21st Century by Isaac Budmen, this fall.

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