Today I printed out a small version of “Thanata” the Catolith of Death in sparkly blue-green irridescent PLA plastic. This is the first version of the Catolith that I’ve modeled with decorative surface embellishment. I modeled this in the subdivision surface modeler “Sculpt” of Cimema 4D 3D software. My intention is to use these surface details as the basis for painted decoration of the big Catoliths. This small print is a useful experiment in painting technique that can be applied on a much larger scale.
Printing Test with Modified CR-10 S5
I’ve been running test prints of just the toe of the cat. First on the smaller Ender 3 printer with smaller size nozzle and now on the larger CR-10 S5 printer with correspondingly larger gauge of nozzle. I’ve modified this printer with a direct drive extruder and an improved bed heater. This is the first print I’ve done with the large printer. I am testing all of the parameters and specifications in preparation for replicating this with another 6 printers. There will be a total of seven printers dedicated to producing cathenge. I reckon one will be devoted to each section of the six height segments of the Catolith and the seventh for printing the divider components.
3D Printer Setup for Cathenge Production
I’m setting up a print farm of 7 of these CR-10 S5 printers. This is the first one which I am testing modifications on. This printer has a 500*500*500 mm build space, however the stock print bed only heats a 300*300 area, so I have upgraded this with a 500*500 heat mat. I also added the crossbraces since I anticipate that as the print grows tall and the load heavy that the z-axis will need all the reinforcement it can get.
Next up: I will replace the bowden style extruder with a direct drive extruder for greater printing efficiency and capability.
3D Printing Catoliths 2022
I’ve opted to print Cathenge myself. It’s a big undertaking – typically people print something the size of an action figure, but it’s possible to do much larger things, and so I’m printing all 6 Catoliths. Doing the printing myself gives me the latitude to experiment with the design and the technique and that is essentially what artistic control is about.
I was able to source high quality yet inexpensive large format 3D printers (Creality CR-10 S5) which give me a 500*500*500 mm build space to work with. I am setting up seven of these printers at my studio in Stinson Beach. Using all seven printers at once I estimate I can produce one cat in 3 days. I’ll begin production of Catoliths by the second week of April and hazard to guess I’ll finish all six Catoliths within a month.
Of course, I get to keep the printers which opens up a whole new world of artistic possibilities for me. Building on my long experience in 3D modeling, I envision new “Crazyological” sculptures 3D printed and embellished with paint, lighting effects, interactivity and/or kinetics. It’s quite exciting!