Harker wasn’t driven
scary or disturbing,
but QD is big, for-
in the sense
that the types
of shapes and
in the fash-
"I focused on how I wanted it to
come out [onto the runway]," Harker
says. "It’s this monstrosity that peo-
ple are not used to seeing, in form.
It’s the kind of thing that has so
many facets that you couldn’t make
it before all of this technology."
To humanize the model
after the initial shock, the
front piece detaches and
hangs from a sintered chain,
revealing the face beneath.
According to Harker, this
action changes the sculpture’s
context because it mimics the
female form on the bodice, at
the waist. He accounted for
the model’s dimensions to
ensure precise placement.
"I wanted people to be
shocked, to be moved by it. I wanted to
take the opportunity to do something big,
and have people intrigued by it. With all of the
media [we consume], we have seen everything.
To put something in front of a person, and make
them wonder what they are even looking at is a pri-
ority for me."
The headdress pays homage to Asian, African, and Native
American cultures that dress up the body to represent something
bigger than the human form. It wasn’t a representative version of
any one culture, but Harker wanted to make something in context
with that level of significance across cultures.
"I envision what these things will end up looking like, and tend
to make them symmetrical, so you get this kind of Rorschach
inkblot thing," he adds, noting the familiar psychological test.
"Because of the symmetry, people see things in them and possibly project faces into it; there is a monstrous quality to that."
Why Laser Sintering?
Harker poured approximately 200 hours of work into the headdress before handing the file over to Novi, MI-based EOS of North
America’s e-Manufacturing Solutions, which is primarily used as an
R&D and benchmarking facility.
Harker has worked with EOS laser sintering technology for more
than 10 years. "The [EOS] relationship grew organically," Harker
recalls. "Ten years ago, a perfect storm of technology, software,
and materials engineering all came together and it was simply the
technology that worked best for what I was making."
As Harker remembers, the technology was available, but the software wasn’t ready. "When I first started sculpting, the first material
I made a piece with used Polyjet technology. It worked, technically
speaking, but the material was brittle and collapsed under its own
weight. I didn’t like the colors, and I just wasn’t happy with it —
even though I had technically accomplished what I was trying to
do. EOS technology had cleaner builds and better resolution, so I
committed to vendors who were running those machines."
When the 3D Print Show offered Harker the opportunity to design
a fashion piece that was ambitious both in design and cost, EOS
stepped in and sponsored his effort. In turn, he built to the biggest
dimensions EOS’s biggest machine could handle.
The EOSINT P 760 Plastic Laser Sintering System is capable of
manufacturing fully functional plastic parts. The system can build
parts without the need for support structures, as big as 700 x 380 x
580 mm. The 760 can build up to 32 mm/h in as precise as 0.06 mm
layers. After 200 hours of design time, Harker’s masterpiece was
printed in polyamide in less than 26 hours.
"Josh has really taken the technology and used it full force for
his creations, lifting the constraints of traditional manufacturing.
How else would he have grown something like that?" asks Jessica
Nehro, field marketing manager, EOS of North America. "It’s
always exciting for us to be at the forefront of the market and to
see what is being done with our technology."
The printed headdress is both durable and robust. "What I like
about the process is that, with features one mm or thinner, it’s
not brittle," Harker says. "It has flexibility to it and it maintains its
shape under its own weight. The thinnest areas are the chains and
we’ve had no issues with those at all. The strength and durability
make it reliable."
According to Nehro, with an opportunity like this, cost isn’t a factor (and thus, not provided). "We didn’t even factor cost," she says.
"It’s hard to put a cost on it since we’re not a service provider, and
we didn’t look at it that way."
Nehro stresses that plastic laser sintering is a manufacturing
technology, not to be confused with desktop printers. "These are
plant floor system technology processes," Nehro adds. "With all
the talk about 3D printing comes a lot of confusion. Our systems
are not $19,000 systems."
Harker adds, "These are the technologies that are changing what
things can be; what we can make; and the shapes we can use that
have never been used before. Some of these things can’t even be
done in pieces and assembled, there is simply no other way to
The Quixotic Divinity headdress is further proof that industrial 3D
printing is no longer an unrealistic god, and it signifies the ongoing shift to design-driven manufacturing. PDD