Wilcox vs 3D Printer: Duomo

Update to the below post see results here…

A couple of months ago I tweeted that ‘I want to race a Rapid Prototype Machine (a 3D Printer that makes objects) to make the same thing’. It was just one of those things you can say quickly on twitter as an ‘off the top of your head’ idea.

It turned out that curator Beatrice Galilee had been made aware of my tweet by a colleague and she then asked me if I would like to make my tweet become reality. She was organising an event called ‘Hacked’ based inside a large department store called La Rinascente during the Milan design week.

What I find interesting isn’t just the speed of making things but the simple idea of making an object with my hands competing against a computerised 3D Printer making the same thing. I will start with a block of clay, I’ve not made anything from clay since primary school and I know that my creation, no matter what happens, will definitely have the hand made human touch (imperfections are good!). The machine is controlled by the computer file used to create the model.

I remember hearing about the Kasparov vs Deep Blue chess match where the world champion took on the super computer.

I decided that the thing we both will make is the Duomo, a large cathedral only ten metres away from the department store in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo (a large square). The Duomo has a long history in Milanese life including, bizarrely, the fact that a model of the Duomo was thrown at the italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi not so long ago.

So the plan is simple, I will sit at a table making a model of the Duomo in clay and a 3D Printer will sit opposite me working away on making it’s own Duomo. A large clock will countdown for 1.5 hours.

The 3D printer is a Thing-o-matic MakerBot and will be controlled by WeFab.it
The ‘match’ event is on 19th April, 5 pm till 6.30 pm, in the basement floor, La Rinascente, Milan.

The details of the ‘Hacked’event are below
Milan, MONDAY 16 APRIL – SATURDAY 21 APRIL 2012 – ‘Hacked’, 100 hours of rebellious creativity, will be rampaging and rollicking its
way through Rinascente during Milan Design Week. Hacking – the thrill of modification and customization – will be celebrated here in bombastic style.

To celebrate the world’s original design festival, Salone del Mobile, la Rinascente’s flagship store proudly presents ‘Hacked’. Over the course of 100 hours the store will be radically altered – inside and out – as it becomes an interactive experimental lab space. By collaborating with the most exciting young talents in design, la Rinascente invites everyone to ‘Come, explore and hack’

For the line up and times of all ‘Hackers’ click here

Update to the above post see results here…

6 thoughts on “Wilcox vs 3D Printer: Duomo”

  1. I hope to hear more about the rules. Will the printer be allowed to predesign the 3D virtual model? Or will that be included in the time?

    1. I don’t think computers are advanced enough to design things they can only follow instruction of humans. The group Wefab.it are in charge of creating a computer model of the Duomo which will be fed into the machine to make at the start. This is about making more so than designing. The challenge is to create a model within the time limit.

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