The high art of digitally fabricated design

3D printed and Lasercut projects in Atlanta galleries

Kevin Byrd is a seasoned digifabber and has been using Ponoko Personal Factory before the US hub even opened!  Kevin’s formal design education means that 3D printing, CNC routing and laser cutting are established core tools in his design process.  His latest projects with Personal Factory incorporate laser cutting and 3D printing and are an engaging mix of practical and conceptual explorations of form and function.

The Femur Table was designed for The Southern Design Concern exhibition titled “Fixed”, which as the name suggests, centered around repaired objects, where ‘repair’ is a production method, extending beyond its essential notion that focuses on literal or aesthetic implications.

My concept was to fix a table leg by replacing it with a leg bone. With the proliferation of 3D printing technologies, in the near future we may see dentists fabricating teeth or doctors creating organs on-demand. So I wanted to show that through the piece itself. I kept the polygon angularity of the bone maintained as a signifier of the modeling process.

The initial 3D model of the bone was solid, but then Kevin’s jaw dropped at the sight of the build cost, and he hollowed out the design making it affordable.  The 25mm thick plastic shell was filled with expanding insulated foam for additional structural strength.

The Transpose Series were designed to feature in Modern Atlanta’s “Design is Human” week.  These art pieces were created using laser cut acrylic sheets joined together with epoxy resin.

The shape of each box can best be described as a “house with an inverted roof.” The depth of the dimple tricks the eye–when viewed from afar, it seems deeper than when you approach it up close. I also like the way the light passing through the layers emits patterns over the course of a sun-filled day, and the way the colors mute on a cloudy one.

The Not-A-Clock series are a response to the current obsession with digital media everything.  Kevin laser cut black acrylic to frame photographic works of artists he knew.

It doesn’t respond to movement or interaction of any sort. Nor temperature fluctuations or sound waves or RSS feeds. The NOT·A·CLOCK doesn’t care that you have an iPhone. It’s simply a display for 35mm slides. It lights up. In a time of social media and a net-enabled world, my aim was to make something wonderfully analog.

How would you describe your creative process? I generally concept in sketch form, then develop an idea further in either Sketchup or Illustrator. I prefer to build with the actual materials rather than prototyping with cardboard. Getting a feel of material, the weight, finish, how it reacts to light, etc. is an important part of my design process. I make a lot of design decisions during the assemblage. I like when in production of an idea or form, something new can come from the building. Idea + Execution = New, Better Idea.

I get a lot of inspiration from Donald Judd’s body of work. Online though there’s a ton of inspiring things happening everyday from artists and designers. When I’m in a new city I always find myself seeking out art & design museums, galleries and exhibitions.

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Absolutely love the femur table. Would love to see a family of tables,thought that would be quite cute.

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