Deltoids in Clay

Clay printing currently works best for objects that change slowly from one horizontal layer to the next. This suggests to create 3-dimensional objects that realize a changing 2-dimensional configuration in one piece. An example of that is the rotating segment within the deltoid that at every stage foots on two sides of the deltoid and is tangent to the third.


As the deltoid itself doesn’t change shape, it will become a cylinder over the deltoid. On the other hand, the rotating segment will become a ruled, helocoid-like surface. If we printed the entire model like this, the interesting part, namely the rotating secant, would be mostly hidden. Therefore we will only use one edge of the deltoid, while the other two are implied only by the rotating endpoints of the line.

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Doing this in clay is not easy. First of all, we print it so that time is vertical. This allows to use the deltoid wall as a solid support. Each layer of the rotating secant then becomes a cantilever, supporting subsequent higher layers.

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The point when the secant turns into a tangent is particularly interesting. One can see the gravitational pull on the emerging new layer that bends towards us in the image above. The contrast between the static, cylindrical deltoid arc and the dynamic, rotating secant is compelling and hard to convey in a single image. But that’s a fair enough reason to make 3D sculptures.

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