Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What software do you use?

Mostly Rhinoceros. It has good scripting, many plug-ins, both NURBS and mesh tools, and many file import and export formats. Things tend to come together in it. Other tools include T-Splines, ZBrush, Materialise Magics, Surface Evolver, and Perl scripts that I write. For rendering, Maxwell all the way.

If you're looking for direction, I don't especially recommend this toolset. It's personal to my own background and workflow. What I'd say is that no one tool can do everything, and it's more important that your tools suit your style, than that they belong to a particular culture or even that they're made for a particular purpose.

May I use images of your work?

Yes. I would appreciate a mention of my name and/or this site. If you need high-resolution images for printing, just ask. If you would like an exclusive image rendered or photographed, I may be able to do this for a fee.

Will you give a talk?

I'm off giving talks at present. There's no harm in asking, but don't take it personally when I decline. (If you aren't local to Boston, please bear in mind that I travel only with expenses paid, and only if it is actually fun.)

Will you give me the STL file of a design?

You can use models here freely; for the rest no, I won't just hand it over. That said, I've licensed models for many uses, and if yours is amusing or may generate cash, maybe I can help.

Don't reverse engineer my designs. Doing so infringes my copyright, makes me unwilling to work with you in future, and is weak.

I'm a retailer, can we do business?

Probably not. My designs are expensive to produce, even as 3D prints go, and I don't have enough margin on most of them to offer anything like keystone pricing. I don't consign. I do work with a few retailers which are either big enough or well-targeted enough to make it go. If that sounds like you, it's worth asking

I'm launching a 3D printing store or community, will you join?

It's OK to ask, but probably not. I consider that the market for these is oversaturated; I haven't seen a new niche open here in some time, and do not expect to see more until the technology makes a leap. I also don't offer STL files for download or sale.

If your main product is community, I wish you well but can't contribute. Only money is useful to me.

Do you take commissions?

You can ask, but I hope you won't take it personally if I decline. I'm a slow worker and don't find it easy to design to specifications.

Can you make huge laser glass pieces?

No. No etching laser that I have access to can fire more than 3½" into glass, so 4" is the largest useful thickness. Large glass blanks are also very expensive. The largest piece I've worked on was 26" square by 4" deep (it was a galaxy), and the blank for that cost over $10,000.

The largest piece I have available is 200 x 200 x 80mm, and that will have to do.

My sculpture is dirty, how do I clean it?

Metal
Wash it, with soap if needed. If the inside is hard to get at, try a dishwasher. If it's rusty – this can happen in a corrosive environment such as the seashore – use a rust stripper. Anything with phosphoric acid should work, including Coke; then apply a light oil such as 3-in-1 to protect the surface.

Alternatively, consider that you own an iron-rich artifact and you live on an oxygen-water planet. Letting physics take its course and enjoying the enriched patina of time is a valid option.

Glass
Use a glass cleaner such as Windex to remove crud. It may be possible to buff out small scratches using a mild abrasive, such as toothpaste, with lots of elbow grease. (Google has advice on this.) If that's too much work, a little Pledge or other furniture polish can help to hide light scratches.

Will you help me make something?

Metal
Only if I feel like it. I don't hire out as a designer. It's fine to ask, but please don't take it personally if I decline.

Glass
If it's scientific, please visit CrystalProtein.com. I do a lot of proteins and small molecules, but all kinds of 3D data can work.

If it's something else, please bear in mind that I specialize in scientific imaging projects. If your design is a portrait, car, building, photo, or something else not scientific, my friends at Precision Crystal Gifts & Awards may be able to help.

I'm writing a report, tell me something about what you do.

That's not a question.

If you have a question that doesn't seem to be answered on this site, you may ask. I can't answer general questions such as "how do you make your art", and "what is the relationship between art and mathematics". Specific questions such as "Was piece X inspired by katydid wings or artichoke leaves?" are more likely to get a useful response.

How can I stay in touch?

My news page has an RSS feed. I Facebook and sometimes I tweet. New designs often show up in my Shapeways shop first.