Canadian artist Oliver Tiura, AOCA, MFA, SSC, is entering a new dimension in his sculptural pursuits with the help of Sheridan College. He usually works with mediums like bronze castings, encaustics and now with 3D-printed resins, which push the boundaries of his artistic field. His interest in marrying sculpture with additive manufacturing (the process of building 3D objects by adding materials layer-upon-layer) arose from a desire to create legacy pieces. Fortuitously, after deciding to create sculptures using this new medium, he was offered the opportunity of a solo exhibition at the Canadian Sculpture Centre.
“I wanted to ensure my pieces reflect the two main principles of additive manufacturing: reliability and archival, large print size” – Oliver Tiura
To achieve these works, Tiura began to explore commercial 3D services to see what they had to offer. “I wanted to ensure my pieces reflect the two main principles of additive manufacturing: reliability and archival, large print size,” he says. “Given there’s experimentation in Europe with 3D printing ranging from micro-production to that of printing full-sized house walls, I knew it is possible to achieve large-scale results.” He found that the largest 3D print options here were in the auto and aerospace industries, both of which carried either a prohibitive cost or were unavailable for consumer use. Unwilling to concede, he continued to investigate alternate options.
Tiura explored university and research facilities and found that while many use 3D printers, they tend to be smaller units or units limited to the use of particular materials such as metal. Very few of them were able to achieve prints in bronze, having restricted outputs no larger than 12 inches cubed using either a Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process or an Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process. Neither of which would be optimal for his size needs.
His research continued for print options capable of producing 3D outputs 30 inch cubed or larger. He learned that a reliable printing process to reach his directive was Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). He struck gold when he discovered that Sheridan’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) housed a Fortus 900, which uses the FDM process, printing to the desired size. The director of the facility, Dr. Farzad Rayegani, was receptive to meeting Tiura to talk about the possibilities for collaboration.
Tiura and Rayegani discussed challenging CAMDT’s Fortus 900 3D printer to generate large-scale artistic sculptures. “We are always open to exploring partnership opportunities for CAMDT and innovative uses for our 3D printers,” says Rayegani. “This was an opportunity for a new kind of partnership with the artistic community.”
“We are always open to exploring partnership opportunities for CAMDT and innovative uses for our 3D printers” – Farzad Rayegani
During the months-long process that ensued, many opportunities for learning surfaced for both the technicians at CAMDT and the artist including the science of materials selection, establishing print details, determining ideal thicknesses, file enlargement, creating needed structural supports and the finishing process. Attila Nagy, CAMDT’s technical advisor on this project and Hargurdeep Singh, a Sheridan Engineering graduate, worked closely with Tiura throughout the duration of the project.
The process of creating 3D models and casting molds for these large-scale sculptures was an exercise in innovation, experimentation and learning. The facilitation of an artist-engineer collaboration was a new and invigorating experience for Sheridan. With the support of Rayegani and the Sheridan CAMDT team, Tiura was able to realize his dream and deliver magnificent results.
Tiura’s ground-breaking sculptures are on display in his exhibition “Eternal Bronze Meets 3D Printing” at the Canadian Sculpture Centre 500 Church St., Toronto from July 14 to August 5, 2016. A truly unique part of his practice is creating that can be turned onto differing planes several times, revealing new imagery at each turn.
Pictured at top of page: Associate Dean and Director of CAMDT Dr. Farzad Rayegani (left) with artist Oliver Tiura
Written by: Heather McElrea, Marketing and Information Specialist in Sheridan’s Faculty of Applied Science and Technology.