Visualize mathematics with sintered steel

Quintron geometric art sculpture
Combine advanced math, technology, art, and metal working and what do you get? You get these really cool, impossible looking objects that nearly anyone can appreciate.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time, but I always keep forgetting. Doh!

Some time ago, I saw a video interview with Bathsheba Grossman, an artist who has created an extremely unique combination of skills not normally found together which results in some really amazing looking sculptures.

To start, Bathsheba conjures-up some advanced math to create a three dimensional structure. I’m sure this is the kind of math that I’d write-off as looking too much like Egyptian hieroglyphics and is definitely not what I’d typically expect to find involved in artwork. A 3D computer model is created from the math formula allowing the her to select the most interesting permutation.

Geometric art sculpture uses high tech metal printing
That 3D model is then used to create a control file for a CNC machine that builds the object layer by layer. The machine uses powdered metal which is fused one ultra thin layer at a time, thus “printing” objects with interior structures which can be manufactured in no other way. This object is then heated in an oven which removes the binding agent and sinters the steel particles together.

The resulting sintered structure is quite porous and not very durable, so it is immersed in a liquid bronze alloy which fills the lattice structure of the metal giving it a solid appearance and improved strength. Each object is then hand-finished by Bathsheba to polish and smooth the edges. The result is what you see in these photos.

Pretty cool, huh? It’s a great combination of disparate talents that culminates in something that’s beautiful to behold and sparks the imagination. The only downside is that the CNC machine used to create the sculptures is pretty expensive, so the cost to make these objects increases with their size. For the 4 inch Metarino, for example, you’re looking at $475. Bathsheba produces smaller sculptures which are appropriately cheaper, but you cannot help but be tempted by the larger, more intricate designs.

Check-out Bathsheba’s Geometric Art site for more photos and information. Tell her I sent you and maybe if enough people do that, I can get a freebie Quintron 😉

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