Digital Fabrication and Art in dialogue by WASP Hub Venice

Digital fabrication processes, 3D printing, bioplastic and the union between technology and craftsmanship are the elements that make possible new processes of creation and artwork reproduction, in an absolutely detailed, rapid and economic way.

Fablab Venice was recently involved in the creation of a large-format artworks, in collaboration with the London art-gallery SoShiro and starting from a scale sketch by the artist Arlene Wandera.

The work, with a strong symbolic meaning, represents a female figure wearing a large metal necklace, a symbolic representation of the typical jewels of the pokot people. In fact, the artist's work focuses on the issues of everyday life and female empowerment.

Manufacturing follows an articulated process, which explores the great potential of digital fabrication in the artistic field: the 20 cm high sketch, created by hand by Wandera, was scanned obtaining a detailed digital model; this was divided into portions and optimized for 3D printing and subsequent assembly.
For the printing phase, Fablab Venezia used Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL 4.0, Delta WASP 60100 and Delta WASP 3MT with filament extruder, the material used is PLA.

The assembly phase was followed by the post-production and finishing of the sculpture, using special resins and plaster, the process ended with the roller and brush painting.
For the production of the necklace structure, milling, laser cutting, and hot bending techniques were used.

The result is a powerful work, an exact reproduction of the scale model; the English gallery, at its first experience with digital fabrication, was pleasantly impressed by the intrinsic potential of a technology, 3D printing, which is increasingly venturing towards new applications, beyond prototyping in the manufacturing field.

Article text and images: Fablab Venezia

3D ABS sculpture

Huge 3D printed ABS sculpture

The world of 3D printers is now included in the majority of production processes thanks to technological stability and the improvement of technical materials such as ABS. The fields of applications are endless: medical, construction, production, ceramics up to the world of sculpture.
In this case WASP realized a 4 meter by 2.5 meter sculpture in ABS with the Delta WASP 3MT industrial 4.0 3D printer.

3D Scanning

We started with a small sculpture of a stylized bull, which was later to be replicated on a monumental scale.
Let's start with a 3D scan

3D scanning with Artec Eva

In this project we used the Artec Eva 3D scanner, a tool for acquiring objects using structured light. It is a process in which a luminous pattern is projected onto the surface of the piece that will determine the digital reconstruction of the subject.

The file obtained was resized by scaling it from 20cm to 400cm. To 3D print objects of this size you need a large 3D printer and a quick printing process.

Pellet extruder for ABS

The solution is the Delta WASP 3MT Industrial 4.0 3D printer, which thanks to its size is able to make objects up to 1 meter of print even in ABS. Furthermore, the possibility of printing with the pellet extruder, allows the use of nozzles with a diameter up to 3mm, and therefore print objects with a layer height 10 times higher than normal. .

This means that normally by printing with the classic filament and using nozzles with a diameter of 0.4mm, a 10-hour piece with the pellet extruder can be made in just 1 hour.

On the other hand, the possibility of reducing printing times by raising the layer height value inevitably creates a coarser surface, characterized by the various printing layers. For many in the design world it also becomes an aesthetic and design feature such as the Iride or the Bike Chair.

Before and after ABS post production

But we will see in the following chapters how to eliminate the various layers during post production. .

Continuous printing in ABS with Delta WASP 3MT Industrial 4.0

Once scaled the sculpture, through Meshmixer software it was divided into several parts to optimize the fabrication times. Four printers worked in sync producing 2 pieces per printer per day.

3D printed ABS pieces with Delta WASP 3MT Industrial 4.0
3d printed ABS parts assembling

Thanks to the technical improvements we implemented on the Delta WASP 3MT industrial 4.0 3D printer, in 3 days the 25 pieces in ABS were ready to be assembled.

The 50kg pellet tank with auto power supply and the material end sensor allowed the printers to work 24 hours a day without ever stopping. The system essentially recognizes when the pellet is almost finished inside the extruder and automatically feeds itself.

Tank for Pellet material

3D sculpture: ABS is an excellent material for post production

As the printers finished producing the missing pieces, two WASP operators began assembling the parts already made.

3D printed sculpture in ABS

The choice of the material to be printed is very important, especially in terms of end use:
should it be placed outdoors?
will it be subjected to heat sources?
will it have to withstand impacts or compressions?

In addition, the choice must also be made considering whether the finished product must be sanded, painted or otherwise subject to post-production processes .

3D printed sculpture 4m x 2.5m

The 3D printed sculpture in question had to be smooth, painted and placed in a garden, so the choice of ABS was the perfect solution for this application.

3D sculpture and post production: ABS Juice

A mixture of acetone and ABS granules (you can also use waste or ABS supports), was used as a glue between the various printed parts. . 

ABS parts fixing

The diluted ABS in acetone allows a perfect adhesion / fusion between the various sections making the sculpture a single solid object, resistant to heat and weathering. .
Moreover, if used as a filler, the mixture is perfect to even out the entire surface

Finsihing with ABS Juice

With a spatula, gloves and mask, getting to the smooth piece is a snap.
Finally sandpaper in hand and the sculpture is ready ;-)

Painted sculpture

Baby, 3D printed sculpture

The applications related to digital manufacturing are endless. If we combine the fact that the tools used are the Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL, then 3D printers for large objects, the results are becoming more and more impressive.

Digital sculpt
The artist Luca Tarlazzi, who has been a WASP collaborator for the comic "Viaggio a Shamballa" for a year, has always been linked to the world of sculpture. In recent years, with the development and improvement of software, his sculpture has become digital. In fact, Luca using ZBrush, a digital sculpture software, invests his time in the creation of sculptures. After that the process ends with the printing of the pieces. The limit so far was the size too small and the materials post-workable. Now with the Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL, Luca manages to achieve his objectives, realizing digital statues in real scale, depositing thermoplastic materials starting from the pellets.

This is how the statue "Baby" was born, a young girl sitting with her eyes turned towards the sky. You do not know what you look at, what dreams, but surely it's something beautiful. A process, the one put in place by Tarlazzi, which fits exactly into the world of digital manufacturing, passing from the idea to the project on the pc, to the 3D printing. This was the development of the statue, which ended with a manual post-processing with stucco and paint to give the final touch. The statue was presented in Milan during the Technology Hub 2018 exhibition, sitting right above the one who gave it life, the Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL.

Luca Tarlazzi's studio is now continuing with the use of the Delta WASP Clay line, which allows him an even closer approach to traditional techniques.

How do you make a large statue printed in 3D?
The statue was designed with a digital sculpture software: ZBrush.

Errors can occur with software of this kind, like for example open edges. In these cases a very useful software is Mesh Mixer. To make the printing easier, the the same software has been used to divide the statue into several parts, and this have avoided the use of support-materials. So the bust, the legs the arms, being large elements, were printed with Delta WASP 3MT Industrial with Pellet extruder, which allows speed and stability. By replacing pellet extrude with Spitfire extruder in 10 minutes it is possible to switch from fast prints and very high layers printings, to more detailed and precise prints. Thanks to Spitfire on the Delta WASP 3MT Industrial the head, the hands and the feet were realized with a 1.2 mm diameter nozzle and a 0.5 mm layer height.

Assembly e stuccoing
The various parts were welded together with metal pins embedded in the plastic to allow stiffness and tightness. To make the entire surface of the piece homogeneous, an ad hoc stucco was used, easy to apply and excellent for hand-finishing. Finally the statue was painted with acrylic colors. With this approach it is possible to realize in a short time a statue of 2.2 meters in height.

"Baby" by Luca Tarlazzi

3D printed Mannequins at FAB14

3D printed mannequins at the main event of FAB14

At FAB14 2018, WASP Hub Madrid, in collaboration with FABRICADEMY, presents the first series of mannequins 3D printed with the Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL using the pellet extruder, a technology that could print a single mannequin just in 3 hours.

3D printing at WASP Hub in Madrid

Digital manufacturing and innovation. Fab14 is the international event during which every year over 1200 FabLab, coming from various parts of the world, meet to discuss and share the results achieved so far thanks to their research and their experiments. It is also an opportunity to create important collaborations for the future.

Esp0sizione a Parigi photo credits FABRICADEMY

After the opening event held in Paris, the FabCitySummit, this year Fab14, unfolds in different stages and locations in France, which have been chosen according to the issues addressed: agriculture and food, ecology, economy, education, energy , mobility, science and research, solidarity, until the "main event" in Toulouse, from 16 to 22 July, which will be dedicated to digital manufacturing.

The mannequins with the FABRICADEMY's leaders are exhibited both at the inaugural event in Paris and at the closing event in Toulouse, where on July 20 and 21, Gianluca Pugliese of WASP Iberia will be present.

The Delta WASP 3 MT is a multi-tools printer that allows you to create objects in complete freedom. It can be equipped with several extruders and in this specific case, the pellet extruder (the one which prints directly from granes) was used

For information:

WASP hub Madrid in collaboration with

3d printed street furniture

WASP gives a soul “l’anma” to its town

Now the 3D printed sculpture of the big peach-stone covered with golden foils is in the middle of the new roundabout just outside Massa Lombarda center


“All right, we can offer you a place where to test and experience your 3d-projects. We hope that this place will become, in a near future, a true virtual fabrication technological village. In return, would you like to do something for the community?”. We could do nothing but saying “yes” to this request risen more than one year ago by Daniele Bassi, Massa Lombarda’s Mayor. “We are planning a new rotary just outside the city-center at the beginning of Zaganelli road; a 3d printed street furniture in the middle of it would perfectly suit”.


A big responsibility

What a great idea. Everybody was satisfied. But immediately after, worries und wavering took place to the initial enthusiasm: we took a big responsibility that day in the mayor’s office.  As usual we had to face a completely new adventure.  New not only for Wasp if you consider that nothing similar has never been 3d printed before. If you add the fact that our job is so far from real Art (we do not think we are artists) the worry increases. What should we represent? Which kind of object?

A territory symbol

A badge was necessary, something connected to the territory, with its history, its tradition, with its culture but at the same time innovative. All characteristics belonging to people from Romagna. Fruit farming, in particular peaches cultivation bore in someone’s mind. The history tells that from the end of 800s to the beginning of 900s the first orchards were planted exactly in Massa Lombarda. Others followed this example and Industrial fruit-farming took place – then Massa Lombarda and surroundings became a datum point in the Italian and European market.

“What about printing some fruit, one peach!” somebody said. We were moving in the right direction. We had focused the subject but not the core yet…. the core… the peach-core that’s our object. We will 3d print a peach stone! The Core or the heart what we in Romagna’s dialect call “Anma” the essential – otherwise said the “romagnolo’ soul”.

The peach core

Step 1: scegliere il nocciolo

At this point we took a peach, not taking care about the king of peach – our aim was inside. First of all we had to test the possibility to print a giant peach-stone.

Step 1: Scansione (da cui ricaviamo la mesh). File formato STL aperto con Cura

We had to start from scanning the stone then we passed through an unknown path using the 3d drawing software to transform it in a huge stone but able to be “dropped” layer by layer using our 3d printers.

Then the material choice. At first we thought to porcelain because it had to last for a long time, but it was a failure: the first attempt literally crumbled in our hands.


Then we were suggested to use a special plastic material ASA commonly used in the car production industry because of its resistance to ultraviolet and like wood-modeling. The first stone prototype was realized is small size and we appreciated the fact that, though its complex shape, it could hold up without collapsing.

We started to print the real sculpture, about 1 meter high, after several months of attempts and tests.


The “’Anma” covered with real gold

Finally we 3dprinted the soul (the Anma) the most precious thing. It took 50hours printing plus the following finishing touches. But we were not satisfied yet. Then a flash of inspiration we would cover the sculpture with the most precious material: gold. The work would have been the representation not only of our territory history, but also of wellness. At this point the message would be whole.


The 90 cm peach-core, has been totally covered with 500 golden foils (8x8 cm, for a total surface of about 2 mq). It’s 25 kg and it is stained by a tubular steel stand.


From the 27th April 2017 it’s in the middle of the roundabout just outside the city center, unavoidable crossing for people coming from Ravenna to Bologna and for those coming in the opposite direction.


“We are very proud – The mayor Bassi said during the rotary inauguration - WASP is one of territory’s excellences where, several realities, spread our tradition and our innovation longing in the world. Massa Lombarda has strong roots but a lot of vitality too. It’s much better than how it’s normally represented”.