"Luster" a lampshade
by Silvia Sukopova

Silvia Sukopová is Slovakia based Independent Designer. She frequently works on self-initiated projects and commissions, ranging from unique objects to complex installations. The “Luster” project became the practical part of her dissertation work at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia.

At the beginning of her studies, 3D printing was still somewhat exclusive technology. However, she was always very interested in different techniques and how they work. After understanding the main principles, she often tries to explore the different features of the medium and use them in a manner that can be considered innovative.

“I’ve got very interested in 3D printing when my husband (then boyfriend) introduced me to his free time project a RepRap that he was building for a friend. Not from the kit, because back then, it was not so accessible. He was looking for all the needed components and then making first test prints. Not too long after that, he built one RepRap for me, and that’s when I started to print by myself,” Silvia explains her 3D printing beginnings.

What seemingly looks like printing error Silvia uses to her advantage. This came to be as she started to experiment with her own ways of using FDM 3D printer to the full extent of it’s potential. It didn’t take long after I started using my own desktop printer that I got a little bored with the results. So I decided to try to find a new way of printing, something unexpected, more ethereal and unconventional in terms of FDM 3D printing. I started to print “in the air” without using support, even though they were needed. And as the filament started to fall down, I let the physics do the job.”

The journey of experimenting and cultivating the flaws from a first test to final prints was, of course, lengthy. She had fine-tuned the vase mode so the final product is aesthetically pleasing and also functional.

“I use just one thread to print the whole object 40 cm in the diameter, and the object is full of holes. It took a lot of material tests to get to the collection of the pendant lights I have now.”

While working with all kinds of different techniques, Silvia learns a lot about their principles and peculiarities. With the Luster project, I learned a lot about how delicate 3D printing can be. Sometimes the test went well, and suddenly, the final print didn’t work. I even had to remodel my data when I switched from one printer to another,” she tells us.

In the end, Silvia opted for ASA because of its high UV and dimensional stability. However, changing from PLA to ASA wasn’t without the need for remodeling of the lamps. The model had to be adjusted for ASA Extrafill; she had to account for the different printing temperature and printing speed if the final product would be with the same result.

There were a few things that Silvia wanted to prove in her Thesis:

“Firstly, I was interested in the speculation that with digital technologies, we are losing craftsmanship, which isn’t true at all. I used digital technology to create the lampshades, but my work was mostly done in my studio, and I spent a lot of time testing. I had to master the particular printing process to get to the final product. The craft is not lost; it is just redefined.

Secondly, I tried to be independent as a designer – producer. That is why I used the most accessible type of 3D printer – desktop FDM printer. And that gave me freedom. I could experiment and still produce a functional product on my own.

Thirdly, I tried to draw attention to the fact that desktop 3D printers can also be used for more artistic projects, not only to produce sturdy little souvenir-like objects.”

Everybody has their unique story of how they encountered the materials that they stay with. For Silvia, it was through the 3D printing community on Facebook. “I was looking for the best transparent filament, and Josef Doleček, the Fillamentum founder and CEO, joined the conversation and offered me to try the PLA Crystal Clear filament. After I tried the PLA Crystal Clear, I was so happy with the quality of it that I basically stuck to using Fillamentum filaments,” she says. Silvia works on getting the lampshades into design stores to be more accessible but you can always get some directly from her.

Printed with:

ASA Extrafill

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