Icarus Had a Sister With 200 3D-Printed Wings

(Stratasys Blog) Nine years ago, UK artists Andre Masters and CJ Munn had a vision to create a work of art based on the engaging premise, “What if the mythical Icarus had a sister?” Their original design included a graceful lifecast shape of a woman, the couple’s absolute specialty. But another element proved a serious barrier to full flight — more than 200 metallic feathers affixed to the lifecast shape. Masters, explained “I wanted to depict in a minimalist sculpture the fragility of the female form as she’s balancing on this precipice waiting to take her initial flight but also her strength, which is conveyed with her powerful wings.”

True to nature, each feather had to look unique with its own individual flaws and characteristics. No manufacturing techniques available nine years ago could meet the challenge — not from an economic or a technical perspective. Then fast forward to 2012 when the couple heard about the possibilities of 3D printing. They were a bit fearful of technology replacing artistic technique at first but they decided to give it a try.

With the help of Gary Miller of the 3D printing service bureau IPF, Masters and Munn began experimenting with 3D-printed feathers. IPF used Objet Connex multi-material 3D printers from Stratasys to produce the feathers on a variety of materials — rigid VeroWhitePlus, VeroClear and VeroBlackPlus at 30 micron accuracy. The feathers were 3D printed, covered in copper, and then hand patinated.

“We have lost almost no detail from the original design whatsoever. It was so beautiful to work with and we can hand patinate it, just as you would a real bronzed or copper piece… We’ve got incredible detail from the 3D printing; this is something that was simply not possible from traditional sculptural techniques.”