3D Print Simulator, 2015. 2048x2048 pixel normal map for 3D software

3D Print Simulator eschews the tendency to fetishize the 3D print by attending more closely to its most disappointing and tricky formal qualities, specifically its striations and particulate noise. In doing so, it not only focusses on an obvious resemblance to geological sediment that calls to mind the material ancestry of oil and plastic, it also opens up a wider line of questioning to do with the complexities of production.

The flimsy, hollow, grainy 3D print is an unwitting symbol for an age that views technology as redemptive. The 3D print – like the iPhone, the Nest Thermostat or the self-driving car – is expected to “just work” and the fact that it doesn’t is the focus of this piece. All the pitfalls and contingencies of 3D printing point towards an uncomfortable and inconvenient reliance on human labour and unstable materials. The expertise involved in fixing a 3D model so it can be printed is hard-won and the degree of human problem-solving should not be underestimated. If it is, we capitulate to the devaluation of labour in the name of frictionless tech. This project ironically removes the human friction as a means to drawing attention to it.

It's simple, works in any software and tiles seamlessly. Best of all, free to download! Click here.