ESCAPE HASH – 3D Printed Sculpture – Tactile Touchable Art

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3d printed interconnected blocks
Material: PLA
Hash Sign 16″h x 17.25″w x 4″d
Base 2.5″h x 13.25w” x 8″d

W/O Limits Exhibition
Beginning the assembly.
The final step of the assembly.
screenshot in blender
Blocks printed in Ultimaker 2+ 3d printers
The excess material on the blocks is support material which was removed. In 3d printing, parts that overhang need this temporary support material. 

My 3d printed tactile artwork ESCAPE HASH is being shown at W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, & Disability at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve
I’m glad to contribute a touchable artwork for the exhibition, as it is one of many other accessibility and adaptive measures to be most inclusive of the disabled art viewing public.

I would approach the design, with an architectural/engineering methodology. The 3d printed sculpture is made from 74 individually printed interconnected blocks. The blocks are modular, designed to fit together in multiple ways. With a master block that all the blocks are derived from, its shape is a rhombohedron.

Strategies I employed to make it accessible to the visually impaired are 3 things; contrast, pattern and relief to make it tactile to the touch. The blocks alternate between hash symbols in negative relief and positive relief form. Primary colors and black and white provide bold contrast between the parts, making them more visible. The deep cuts into each block project shadows making it both tactile and with a sharply delineated pattern also making it more visible.

The blocks were printed at Think[box] at Case Western Reserve University. Each block took 11 hours to print at high resolution. Director of Prototyping, Ainsley Buckner ran 6 printers simultaneously for over two weeks. Thank you Ainsley!

Hidden between where the blocks connect to each other is a wooden dowel that fit into holes in the blocks. They are alignment pins, assuring that the blocks fit precisely together and align properly. To adhere them, I used 3m VHB Tape, a super strong, super thin double sided tape.

# Work In progress – 3d printed sculpture Visualization in Blender

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Scroll down to read narrative below.

I’m honored to be one of several artists to be in the upcoming show in December “W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, & Disability” exhibition curated by Megan Alves and Mindy Tousley of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve. The Artists Archives has been awarded a grant from the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities where the organization will be able to incorporate strategies to increase accessibility with among others the use of braille and a 3d printed tactile sculpture for the visually impaired.

Megan asked if I would be interested in doing the 3d printed sculpture and I accepted, excited with the anticipation of revisiting shifting into 3 dimensions and also working again with Think[Box] at Case Western Reserve University. I had worked with Think[box] in 2015 where I printed 2 sculptures I call MODEL CITIZENS.

For the W/O LIMITS exhibition, In progress is a 3d Hash symbol with elements that make it accessible to the visually impaired. A modular system of 80 individually printed blocks (each block 2″ high) connected together and alternating between hash symbols in negative relief and positive relief form a bold singular Hash symbol. Primary colors and black and white provide bold contrast between the parts, making them more visible. The deep cuts into each block project shadows making it both tactile and with a sharply delineated pattern also making it more visible.

As an art object unto itself, the hash symbol with its use in hash-tagging represents our modern times, good and bad; where data is turned into meta-data; where information is categorized and made searchable; where so many find their voices amongst the billions of souls vying to be seen and heard to share joys, beauty, injustices, sadness…and so much more, elevating our humanity. But other voices use it to tear down our humanity and the beauty of our multicultural world. With this sculpture, however, I choose to express it as a symbol of empowerment.


In Print – ARTIST USES THINK[BOX] TO SHIFT INTO NEW DIMENSION – Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering 2014-2015 Annual Report

The School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University produces a beautiful annual report each year about the schools achievements, research, engineering and other advances the school has made in it’s past year and also has features about selected projects from the school. I’m pleased that my project “Model Citizens” was featured in the article “Artist Uses Thinkbox to Shift Into New Dimension” by Jacqueline Fitch.

Andrew Reach article in Case Western Reserve University Annual Report

read article below
Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering Annual Report "Artist Uses ThinkBox To Shift Into New Dimension



Concept Sketches


Screenshot of Autodesk Inventor 3D Solid Modeling Software

3D rendering of virtual model

3D rendering of virtual model

3D rendering of virtual model

3D rendering of virtual model

CAD File for Stainless Steel Laser Cut Plate


3d Printers at Thinkbox


Shopbot CNC Router at Thinkbox cutting maple parts


Model Citizens being assembled

In Print – Model Citizen 3d Printed Sculptures in Think Magazine

think, is the magazine of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The new fall/winter 2015 edition is out with an article about the move of thinkbox to the Richey Mixon Building. I’m honored that my 3d printed sculptures, “Model Citizens”, were mentioned and shown on the page titled Meet Some Makers.
I created them at Thinkbox at CWRU, a special facility that has state of the art equipment in the new revolution occurring in fabrication. Just think, in the past, an idea by a student,  just stayed an idea in the head. Now the student can think it, then draw it and now make it into a physical object. Thinkbox is moving to their new location, the newly renovated Richey Mixon Building, a 7 story building which through smart adaptive re-use, re-purposed the building for a new state-of-the-art hub for bringing new ideas to life.
At Thinkbox, the main bodies of the sculptures were printed on a industrial quality 3d printer. A CNC Routing machine cut solid maple into precise shapes that fit into the main body.

Think Magazine Page 13

The other makers on the page have made amazing things; a portable tester using a single drop of blood to provide near-immediate medical information; A walker, chair and caddy all in one to help individuals with physical limitations do household duties more easily; a custom off-road mini baha vehicle built by CWRU Motorsports Baja team; Compliant Modular Mesh Worm, a robot device that mimics how a worm propels itself to navigate through tight spaces. Applications would include much better inspection and repair of piping systems.


“Model Citizens”on display April-May 2015 at University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center