3D Printing at NMC:

Rapid prototyping for hacking reality

Ross Dalziel:

Art, Domestic Science & Technology


CloudMaker was an Arts & Humanities Research Council project Ross did with FACT exploring Minecraft as a social learning platform. It was also what got him (and his kids) using 3D printers. He went on to do alot of things connecting the real world to Minecraft because of the way the game could give young people agency in the world and as a space for learning


RF-Craft was a system built with Patrick Fenner for radio controlled minecraft games to augment the spaces of Wray Castle for Ross' Ok Sparks! project.

The lack of WiFi in the castle made us rethink how you could augment the game & bringing elements of the game into the physical world

Pocketmining Forests

Ross made a prototype pop-up minecraft server that you could play in Grizedale forest with a solar battery, a tablet & android phone. Microscopic images from forest floor slime mould were texture mapped to the minecraft world to allow players to explore bacterial communication for the DeadWood project.


WhitCraft was a pocketmine server for The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester


They wanted mobile devices to be able to explore the gallery in game while moving around the real gallery space; Mixed Reality engagement


Kits are a way of distributing art or ideas. They are convenient and mobile and they mean anyone can take part in a project. Artists, engineers and other creative people have been doing that for hundreds of years

Alot of what I do uses kits instead of art galleries to distribute my work. I call kits that really change the world Critical Kits and wrote a book & made a top trumps game about it with a group of artists called Re-Dock


ShrimpCraft was a kit to help people engage with waterways; canals, lakes and rivers by making simple computers from cheap components to measure temperature or turbidity and to talk about citizen sensing

Computer scientist Adrian McEwen and I made a simple kit and framework for posting temperature data from a Dallas DS820B waterproof sensor to minecraft, again for a kit for the OK Sparks! project and for Text games made with game making software, Twine.

My colleague and mate, Artist and Educator Neil Winterburn runs a project that makes kits to help build 3D objects to make thoughts and feelings visible. We initially thought about this as an approach to 3D printing; making things that embody feelings and experience are also useful.

I work at  DoESLiverpool a makerspace in Liverpool and we helped make Desktop Prosthetics.

Basically we used someone's kit of instructions to 3D print a prosthetic with Baylee and her Dad. Then Baylee & other families started hacking the design and it became a live production line for prosthetics for an exhibition with FACT and the Crafts Council.

Desktop Prosthetics

I like art that makes 'useful' things; the artistic role is to help people do it themselves creatively or make & facilitate new spaces to let that happen. Im pretty open to what 'useful' means.

Reality is a difficult place. The social model of disability says people are not disabled; society's lack of ability to make the environment suitable for everyone constructs disability. But sometimes we need to 'hack' our environment while we wait for society to catch up with us.

Hack Reality!

 A 'hack' is a simple way of making something work differently, not always good, but not always bad. It's a term from software culture but applied to things in the real world like IKEA Hacking

This is Raul Krauthausen a design teacher & activist in Berlin. He made some cool stuff with a 3D printer to help him get around Berlin and draw attention to things society might need to change. Society changed the entire surface of the planet to make cars work why not other vehicles?

He then published it on Thingiverse so other people can hack their pavements.

Pavement Hacking!

After our #NMCreativity day I think alot of us liked the idea of making stuff with 3D printers that could help us hack things from wheelchair controllers to bottleopeners or clips for a wire that otherwise would cost 90 quid!

As technology gets more complicated we rely on experts to make things for us but I think we can start doing that ourselves and that's what I want to start making with our 3D printer.


NMC Hacking!

NMC Hacking!

NMC Hacking!

NMC Hacking!

3D printing at NMC

By Ross Dalziel

3D printing at NMC

Basic artist introduction, what is 3D printing and what we'll start printing at the Neuro Muscular Centre with a printer on loan from Ultimaker GB

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