Drawings : Thomas Lanham



MICROHYBRID_004 | The fourth piece was the first attempt to disassociate a ground plane, and utilize balance to express gravity’s forces. Like its predecessors, the same process was followed, but found a new tool to be utilized in the digital processes. Simulation becomes imperative to dimming the risk of failure and potential budget bites. In the fourth step where the block is to be oriented, we decided that placing it on a corner and then tilting it produced a strong tension between the piece’s composition and the ground plane. This tension provided the disassociation we desired, but bringing forces into play introduces an entirely new set of physical consequences that are unanticipated. For instance, how does the orientation of the 3D print to the printer bed produce the desired aesthetic and of course transfer of forces? How do we resist shear forces on such a delicate state of balance? Though we had simulation to help guide us, digital rabbit holes needed to be avoided in such a fast pace iterative project.


Simple simulations of gravity’s forces on our print and the plug were enough to convince us to continue the printing process. The print was designed to ensure the structural integrity of the piece, but needed to appear light weight to enforce the ground plane tension. This resulted in using screens to open voids through core spaces of the print. This was the first use of a screening technique in any of the Microhybrids, and brought with it a formal order not seen in any of the other pieces. This screen became a significant aspect of the composition and opened a new world of lessons learned in both expression and digital tolerance. A 3D printer head can only print a certain resolution and if the print contour is not oriented to have the screen lay flat, there is a risk of the plastic bending from either material weight or the plastic cooling inside the 3D printer. The success of the Microhybrid_004 allowed us to become more comfortable in taking risks with structure, and revealed to us that levity can be achieved in form, and gravity in formal relationship. Like the other projects, we took this opportunity of representation to find new lessons. The documentation of the Balance model looked to use graphics to inform intuitive perceptions of depth. This use of graphics to produce a specific perception became a lesson in achieving depth through layering and direction rather than shading.

© Thomas Lanham, Greg Luhan, Ebrahim Poustinchi, Irvin Shaifa

Lanham, T., Shaifa, I., Poustinchi, M. E., & Luhan, G. (2017). Craft & Digital Consequences | Micro-Hybrid Explorations at (Full) Scale. In Fioravanti, A., Cursi, S., Elahmar, S., Gargar, S., Loffreda, G., Novembri, G., & Trento, A. (Eds.). ShoCK: Sharing Computable Knowledge – Material Studies Methodologies. The 35th Annual eCAADe International Conference Proceedings, Volume 2, 327-336.