Mix 3D printing, plein air painting, site-specific art, and instruction-based art together and this is what you get--a portable system that lets you generate 3D models from the environment and print those models by following the commands typically given to 3D printers. Essentially, you 3D print by hand with whatever materials you deem necessary. This project represents a step along an ongoing project I call Being the Machine (website, instructable, publication). The project explores ways that we can get out of the lab, engage our senses, and combine digital manufacturing workflows with the vibrance and unpredictability of the physical world.
The system consists of electronics, a laser guide, a mobile app, and materials, all encased within a portable easel that allow you to build with data in the wild.
The backbone of the system is the mobile app. This app generates 3D models from images taken in your building environment and communicates with the hardware that guides the building process. Use the app to capture an image and generate a model, then, you can begin to build that model by hand.
Building is as simple as following the movements of the laser pointer, almost like a game of connect the dots. The laser guide mounted at the top of the box projects a single point onto the building platform. This is your starting point. Place some materials on that point and use the remote control/key fob to advance laser guide to the next point. Once the point has moved, you follow it with your materials. Point by point, layer by layer, you follow the laser point with your materials until the model is complete. As you build, the mobile app gives you live updates as to where you are in the building process.