I visited Italy several times as a young child and was fascinated by the Italian technique of paper marbling. I begged my parents to buy me the marbled-paper-covered notebooks and pencils sold in Italian stationery stores.
Fast-Forward a Few Decades…
We have a Stratasys J750, and I’m excited to play with GrabCAD Voxel Print. The power to control full-color prints at the voxel level is too cool to pass up. I wanted to recreate the marbled paper aesthetic using math, in the form of a spherical light fixture. After studying this video of a Florentine artisan making marbled paper, I broke the technique down into discrete steps which could be replicated as a custom GLSL slicer:
- Drip circles of color evenly over your surface.
- Stretch everything out in alternating, low-frequency horizontal stripes.
- Run a high-frequency comb vertically.
- Run two low-frequency combs vertically with a sine wave offset. This creates the classic “pavone” style, which is Italian for “peacock”.
The J750 can print in VeroClear, so I decided to add a clear-coat and use fewer opaque voxels for better translucency. Then I realized I could vary the depth of the opaque voxel layer to create a 3d texture, increasing the depth with each pass of the “combs.” We don’t yet have a good way to visualize voxels in 3D, so I modified my surface shader to get an idea of what it might look like:
Print 20cm Diameter Spheres!
I’ve printed some as two hemispheres that snap together, and one as a full sphere:
Voxel Printing is an exciting and intimidating medium for artistic expression. The inherent flexibility and repeatability can make it feel like a design will never be completed. It’s just too much fun to tweak a variable for the next print. I’m currently working on a new variation that’s halfway between these two.