With my enthusiasm for 3D type, my research explores methods of creating 3D type with materials unique to typeface design as opposed to the more standard Bézier curves in two-dimensional space. The latest research has investigated unconventional typography through the making of ceramic forms to create three-dimensional type. It is an attempt not only to create a new realm between type design and ceramics, but also to inspire other graphic and type designers to discover and follow their own unique path for type creation.
This research began with the dual questioning of the dematerialization of type and a criticism of computer generated typographic design: “What is the best way to re-materialize type in order to restore the healthy tension between digital and analog?” and “Where does typography belong in the post-digital age?” Arguably, the conversation on typographic practice in a post-digital was just starting among a few graphic/type designers. The concept of the post-digital is not yet well known or discussed in digital artistic practices. There are a few ongoing discourses regarding the term ‘post-digital’ and no one can authoritatively decide how to define post-digital. But from my understanding, the debate focuses on the more human forms of digital technology as they are affected by the exciting and rapidly changing digital environment. The debate focuses on a paradigm shift in the arts under the development of technology. Mainly, there are two different approaches to the post- digital: high-tech and low-tech. In other words, one can either use a highly computer-assisted method, digital fabrication for example, or a handcrafted technique. It is not easy to anticipate which technique will emerge as more dominant in today’s changing technological environment.
In 2014, I made handcrafted ceramic pieces to create modular type — I made plaster molds and casted piece by piece. For more info, see Rematerialization of type – hexagonal module. Since the summer of 2015, I have been also interested in the possibility of combining typography, ceramic and 3D printing as an alternative way using high-tech features. Specially, desktop 3D printing drew my attention because I do not need a space and equipment for clay studio. Also, I can make more intricate and variety of designs with the new tool.
I am always looking for opportunities and venues to show my research. Please contact me if you are interested in a workshop, an artist talk and/or an exhibition.
Please visit my instagram to check the latest work.
Bored Panda Art This artist 3D-prints his clay art
xyzist.com in Korean '디자이너' Lee, Taekyeom 이태겸
MAKE: This Custom Machine 3D Prints Incredible Ceramic Sculptures
Interview on UNC website Appalachian State Professor Takes 3D Printing Approach
3print.com With Hard Work, Incredible Patience and Wits, Professor Builds Ceramic 3D Printer
3ders.org Professor Taekyeom Lee 3D prints stunning typography
3printing.com Making a Ceramics 3D Printer With Taekyeom Lee
all3dp.com Artist 3D Prints Beautiful Designs using Clay
printing3d.news in Turkish Sanatçı Taekyeom Lee 3D Yazıcı ve Seramikle Harikalar Yaratıyor
New York Magazine This Artist 3-D-Prints His Work With Clay
Weather Channel Artist prints Ceramic Vases
Business Insider – Insider Art video report
*they got my permition to publish my work
In the summer of 2015, I purchased DIY 3D printer kits. I have been played with the open source delta style 3D printers to figure out what I can do with this new tool and technology. There are several different types of open source 3D printers and RepRap is one of the famous open source projects. RepRap is able to produce its own parts —not everything, but it is able to print some parts— and make it self-replicative. Because many can build their own RepRap machines at low-cost, they are one of the most affordable 3D printers for for designers, artists and makers. The most exciting feature of these DIY 3D printers is that you can build your own tool and customize it to make something. For this project, I made my own tools to make something I was not able to make with my own hands.
The first step of the new project was creating my own clay extruder. I tried to use glue dispensers, but it was not a good idea because it could not really extrude clay. Also, I cannot use higher PSI to extrude clay. Eventually, I fabricated my own clay extruder with PVC pipe. However, it was not still easy to print clay. Although early works were not great, I was very excited to make new ceramic objects.
UPDATE: Oct 10, 2016
I received some advice on my clay extruder and an engineer said, PVC pipe is not a safe material because PVC can crack, or even shatter. Cooper or stainless steel will be good material. DO NOT use PVC piping system for use in compressed air. I will test stainless steel soon and keep you updated.
Also, I like my own clay extruder and experimented with it to create different clay objects. FYI, they are not 3D printed. I used the clay extruder as a kind of 3D pen.
The next step of the new project was creating my own 3D printer that can print small and medium scale ceramic object. Because the first printer was not able to print bigger pieces, I wanted to build scaled up version. As I mentioned, RepRap is able to produce its own parts and make it self-replicative. One day, I realized that my 3D printer is able to produce a new printer and wanted to fabricate a bigger version of a delta style 3D printer. Although there were numerous technical and mechanical problems, I was able to fabricate my own printer and print 3D objects from typographic sculpture to functional pieces. With the self-build delta type 3D printer and extruders, I am able to print small and medium scale 3D printed ceramic objects up to 300mm tall with a diameter of 300mm. Also, I have printed different types of clay bodies: white clay, stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, and Precious Metal Clay. For more info, See 3D printed PMC.
To make the printer, I printed parts using my 3D printer and ordered parts: steel shafts, motors, switches, arduino, etc. To make top and bottom parts, I used a sheet of MDF, but I did not get the accuracy I wanted without CNC. So, I tried find a space has a laser cutter to cut plexiglas. Finally, I was able to access to a laser cutter in campus after moving to NC for a new job. Although there were all the parts, I had been struggling to make my printer running properly for about two months. It had a problem with calibration and I did not know how to fix it. On Sunday, October 25, 2015, I solved the problem and my printer began working properly. I tested calibration with a pen and paper. The first word I wrote with my printer was “HI”.
In the summer of 2016, I wanted to make a new extruder because I cannot print more complex shapes with my pneumatic clay extruder. According to research, a few glue dispensing companies and some people are using auger valve to control the paste extrusion. As you may know, 3D printing is also known as rapid prototyping. Again, I took advantage of the 3D printing to make my own tools. I designed auger screws and housing on Rhino and printed them out. I have tested 56 different screws and 8 housings over three weeks. The combination of auger #55 and the housing #7 was working well together although there are few troubleshooting.
Also, collapsing is one of the main issues while printing wet clay. As a tentative solution, I installed three 120mm cooling fans to make wind blow. It is not a perfect solution, but better than nothing. I still have a workable idea and will test it out.
Building Delta 3D printer and clay extruder
steel shafts, plexiglass, Arduino, electric wire, etc-
18" X 18" X 30" –
printing area 300mm (diameter) X 300mm
2015 – ongoing
I built a DIY reprap delta ceramic 3D printer and my own clay extruders.