Folium: the 3D printed book that houses some of the history’s most famous artwork

Folium is a profoundly impressive 3D printed project from the innovative artist Tom Burtonwood. The Chicago-based innovator has previously put the technology to use in projects such as The Rabbit in a Hat Trick (21 sculptures that show the gradual disintegration of the Stanford Bunny) and The Orihon accordion book. Folium, however, represents his most ambitious project yet.

Folium 3D printed book

It’s a twelve page book, entirely 3D printed, collecting nine of history’s most significant works of art. Each piece is taken from the Chicago Art Institute’s permanent collection and rendered as a bas relief. The artwork, which was created across the last 2,000 years, is listed below:

3D printed books

  • Relief plaque depicting the Gods Horus as a Falcon, Late Period – Ptolemaic Period (664 – 30 B.C.)
  • Relief plaque depicting a Queen or Goddess, Ptolemaic Period (305 – 30 B.C.)
  • Relief Panel, first century A.D.
  • Buddha’s Footprints, India, Andhra Pradesh, second century
  • Stamped Tile with Crouching Ascetics, fifth century
  • Architectural Panel with Parrots, Indonesia, Java, ninth century
  • Coronation Stone of Motecuhzoma the 2nd (Stone of the Five Suns), fifteenth century
  • Plaque with Portrait of George Washington, nineteenth century
  • Louis H. Sullivan, Felsenthal, Eli B., Store: Decorative Panel, early twentieth century

The book itself is decorated with floral patterns, which give the piece its name, folium being the Latin word for leaf. Each page was designed using Autodesk’s 123D Catch and Recap photogrammetry application, before the artist used NetFabb Pro to edit the scans of these ancient art works. The final piece is created in NinjaFlex, the ultra flexible, easy-to-handle 3D print filament, which allows for ultra-strong prints that retain elasticity. The final piece was then bound together with two long bolts.

3D printed book

Burtonwood stresses that it can also be printed in flexible thermoelastic polymer or Polyflex. It’s accessible to the visually impaired reader too, thanks to Braille translations  explaining each page’s content. Want to get your very own copy of Folium? You can get the files over on Thingiverse.

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