Computer Aided Art thread

Let’s talk about using computers to make art.

I’m thinking specifically about 3D printing, cricut-type paper cutters, laser cutters, and other devices that require a computer, as well as graphics apps and paper printers (especially when used in offbeat ways like printing fabric). Related topics I didn’t think of are welcome, as is anything you might think relevant. Or amusing.


I’ll start…
I have a 3D printer (named C3D0). I’ve gotten pretty good with Tinkercad, but would like to expand my abilities. Most of my projects are made up of flat pieces fitted together like furniture; I’d like to learn real dimensional stuff, like faces.

Any advice?


Have you looked at Fusion 360? It is free for hobbyists you just need to fill in a form. It’s a lot heftier than TinkerCAD.

Hubs is a product designer so we have a couple of CNC mills and a Formlabs 3d printer.

I have a Graphtec paper/sticker cutter and I’m looking at what I can use instead of a cutter to draw out designs.

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This thread reminded me of a Strange Loop (tech conference) talk I went to a few years ago entitled Creative Machines. He uses code examples to generate art and music but I don’t recall it being an overly technical talk. I need to go back and watch it again.


I noticed that my 3D printer was playing a phrase from the song, “Like a Flamingo,” and it led me to learn that people create files to make their printers sing. Not surprisingly, Star Wars and Harry Potter themes were top of the charts.

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I just need to whine a little.
My printer has been having problems. I keep finding and implementing “solutions,” but then a new problem–or maybe a new facet of the old problem–messes up the print. It’s making me nuts!

cool video on using a single-extrusion printer to make multi color prints.

You make a separate print file for each color, each one only 2 layers high, then print them one after the other without removing them from the print bed.

I don’t know any of the apps he was using, so I used what I have on hand:
Color separation with Pixlr online photo editor, AnyConv to convert that into STLs, Tinkercad to edit and make sure they lined up (I wonder if I could skip that step?), AstroPrint slicer, and my beloved Ender3 to print.

Here’s my first try; I started with a simple line drawing in black and white, added color, then separated it into four files: black, pink, green, and white, and printed them in that order.

If I were to do it again, I would make the black outline thinner; can’t do that in Pixlr, and I was too lazy to turn on the desktop with Photoshop, which would have done a better job, easier.

The green didn’t print everywhere it was supposed to, and those black spiderwebs at the top were some loose threads I didn’t notice until it was done. Overall, I’m happy with this first attempt, and if I ever come up with a use for the technique…