3D Printing Flies a Kite
While the technology of 3D printing is pretty exciting, most of the uses are fairly mundane. Generally, 3D printers are used when someone needs a prototype to show the boss. Slightly less often they are used to create simple objects like iPod cases or key rings. The sculpture called the “Little Shining Man,” created by Heather and Ivan Morison is the antithesis of all that.
Using 3D modeling software and a 3D printer, the Morisons made art that actually flies. The kite was created using carbon fiber spars, Cuben Fiber fabric, and 1,700 3D printed connectors. The result is an ungainly looking cube that only gains its true majesty when floating in the sky, or lit up as part of a display of a larger piece called “Three Cubes Colliding.”
The piece was created for display at Dandara’s Castle Quay development in St. Helier, Jersey, where it will hang for 364 days each year. Once a year, the kite will be taken out of the display and set aloft on the winds coming from St Aubin’s bay.
The idea for the kite originated with Alexander Graham Bell’s designs during the great race toward flight. Working with architectural designer Sash Reading, the Morison’s spent 16 months developing the kite before taking the final version to the beach for a test run.
When we first took it out onto the beach you could feel the sculpture come alive; it wanted to twist and tumble as we took it across the sands. As the wind took hold it rose slowly, bobbing just above our reach, until a gust caught its sails and lifted way up above us. –Ivan Morison
Below you’ll find a video of the “Little Shining Man” in flight.