3D Printing is revolutionizing how and what we produce


At its most basic definition, 3D printing is a general term used to describe technologies that build objects layer-by-layer. Did you know that 3D printing dates back to the 1980s? The first 3D printer was created by Charles Hull, an American engineer, for use in manufacturing and rapid prototyping on a commercial level. However, a lot has changed since the 1984 and 3D printing is now more accessible than ever.

Growing rapidly in the last few years, 3D printing has been adopted by many industries. The area of medicine was quick to recognize the uses of the technology and has produced incredible results from the creation of plastic tracheal splints and limb prosthetics to 3D printed skin and casts.

3D printing offers a range of benefits not least of all its incredible ability to create customizable objects and fittings like no other machine before. Compared to subtractive manufacturing, the process by which 3D objects are constructed by the cutting away of elements from a solid block of material, the 3D printer employs the additive method allowing complex production and far less, if any, wastage than the former.

The material used in the printing process ranges from plastic and metal to glass and ceramics and this is diversifying with companies already looking at 3D printed food. Natural Machines, a start-up based in Barcelona has used the same technology to create a 3D printer that deploys edible ingredients through stainless steel capsules. This invention is called the ‘Foodini’ and although it is a long way from be a staple item in homes across the world, it is a testament to just how many options a 3D printer can allow.

On a general level, the maker movement has been instrumental in providing pathways for the everyday person to access 3D printing for a range of uses. This movement describes the contemporary trend in which individuals or a group of individuals employ the do-it-yourself (DIY) and/or do-it-with-others (DIWO) approach to ‘making’.

The great information highway has allowed creatives and makers to connect and form communities with the intent to exchange ideas and resources. These exchanges are also found in physical spaces. Think of Maker Spaces as a more egalitarian take on the ‘Men’s Shed’ in that they are literally a space where anyone, regardless of age or sex, can come to use equipment, partake in a workshop, work on a project, or learn new skills. 3D printers can often be found in Maker Spaces, as common these days as a saw or angle grinder.

So, you have access to a 3D printer because your local library or arts centre has become a Maker Space or you just bought one from Aldi (yes, Aldi!), but how do you use it? Almost all files that a 3D printer is capable of reading can be produced using CAD (computer-aided design) software and the machines themselves come with a software suite of their own. CAD software can be bought at a range of prices from expensive commercial packages like AutoCAD or free/open-source products like FreeCAD that are multi-platform. Don’t worry if you’re not a designer either because you can access 3D object databases such as Cults 3D, Thingiverse or GrabCAD that eliminate the need to design your own.

The question remains though, why might you use a 3D printer? You’re not a doctor, or a food producer or a designer, so what can you do with this technology? Here is a simple example: you’ve lost the panel that covers the batteries in your tv remote. Instead of taping the batteries in place or buying a totally new remote, you can use a 3D printer to make a new one, usually for a few cents! Perhaps you have some machinery that needs fixing, but the parts are so expensive you may as well purchase a replacement. If you had access to a 3D printer, you can print the items you need for a fraction of the cost, eliminating the need to waste what you have by throwing the machine out.

 Although you may not see a 3D printer in your home any time soon, the technology is developing at a rapid pace. Places like arts centres, makers places and service providers are already making it easy for people to use this equipment, creating fun, collaborative places where you can meet like-minded people, learn new skills and contribute to a society that produces less waste.

Erica Gray & Jake Hempson - A Match Made in sARTorial Heaven

Last month, we hosted the inaugural sARTorial: where digital art meets fashion, sound and technology. It was the result of just six week's preparation and collaboration between artists of varied disciplines; one of which was that between Gold Coast based practitioners, Erica Gray and Jake Hempson.

Infinity | Erica Gray

Infinity | Erica Gray

Erica Gray came on board as ambassador for the event, throwing her weight as an award-winning wearable art designer behind this fusion of fashion and tech. She presented us first with her piece Infinity, a personal representation of what she imagines as internet 'data being stored, backlogged and rewritten into wriggly, twisted thick black data cables and plastic antennae.'

As the weeks wore on, Erica sought to add another layer to two brand new designs she made specifically for debut at sARTorial - LUX OPERON. This layer would not be one of fabric or 3D printed material, but rather that of a reality augmented. Cue Jake Hempson digital character artist, creature designer and animator. 

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray | Image Credit: Aaron Leung Photography

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray | Image Credit: Aaron Leung Photography

Erica describes LUX OPERON thusly:

'Lux Operon represents the duality of visual expression observed in one form or another by an array of living creatures, be they some form of marine animals, or be they a form of bacteria, or be they an imagined entity within ourselves, they have the enviable ability to produce bio luminescence as a reaction to their environment. As humans we need technology, our own form of luminescence, to utilise and enhance our clothing, our accessories, our immediate environment…'

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray | Image Credit: Dusk Devi Vision

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray | Image Credit: Dusk Devi Vision

It was from this look and feel that Jake created his 3D models that would be viewed through augmented reality app Aurasma, providing audiences with more pieces to the LUX OPERON puzzle and unlocking a third-eye of imagination and possibility. 

Erica recently reflected on her and Jake's partnership:

'In September, Jake Hempson and I displayed our collaborative installation piece LUX OPERON at sARTorial: a Fashion meets technology event through DLUX. I designed and produced the 3D wearables and Jake designed and produced the 3D digital elements. It was the first time collaborating on a project for me and it was a great experience all round. The ephemeral quality of Augmented Reality over solid sculptural forms intrigues me and as applications become more user friendly, I see (AR) use becoming second nature as a means of displaying layered content to artwork, sculptures and wearables.'

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray AR Component | Jake Hempson

LUX OPERON | Erica Gray

AR Component | Jake Hempson

Students Prototype for a Better Town


For the past few days, dLux artist and National dLab Facilitator, Annie McKinnon has been working with students from Coonabarabran High School on a project that they will showcase tomorrow at the Dubbo Sustainable City Expo & Science Festival.

At the beginning of the week, Annie asked the participants "What is something that we could make better in Coonabarabran?" and after a brainstorming session they came up with a way to prototype a motion sensor that will activate the street lights in town turning on when needed and switching off when not. If realised, this idea would eliminate light pollution, save energy and allow a clearer view of the night sky as intended by the International Dark Sky Park project that inspired the prototype.


This is the second of three residencies for this year. Each engagement period has centred around a program called 'Thinking Machines' where students are encouraged to use design-thinking, problem-solving and teamwork to use technology for positive outcomes either for the school or the wider community.

dLux would like to thank Coonabarabran High School and Orana Arts for their involvement and assistance on this program.


Our Picks for Sydney Fringe

This September's Sydney Fringe Festival is going to be full on, so we've sifted through what's on offer to find the best ones so you don't have to! With over 300 hundred events and shows squeezed into 30 days, there is definitely not enough time to see them all and even though the program is chocka-block with a plethora of amazing talent, we've just had to highlight some personal favourites.

Dubbed by Broadsheet as Sydney's 'most interesting music venue', The Newsagency on Enmore Road in Marrickville will play host to a few performances throughout the festival. You can see Krystie Steve, a self-taught pop rock singer here on the 15th at 8pm (tickets available at the door - $15). On the theatre side of things, you should also make a date with The Newsagency sometime between the 5th to the 10th at 7pm each night to take a stroll though your own brain with award-winning Jim Fishwick (tickets - $20 - available here). 

If you've ever served customers in the cafe setting like I have, then 'The Barista Chronicles' will make you laugh (and cry/seethe with anger) when you watch Maria navigate the 'rocky terrain of the human condition fuelled by caffeine'. You'll find this show at Ampersand Cafe and Bookstore on Oxford Street in Paddington on Friday, 23rd and Saturday, 24th at 8pm (tickets here - $15).


We're happy to see that the Visual Arts are playing a big part of this year's Fringe with the Stencil Art Prize Winner's Announcement coinciding with the official opening of a whole new cultural precinct: Off Broadway. Come along to Gehrig Lane, Annandale at 2pm on the 11th to hear who wins $5,000 for their stencil art and stay for artist talks and other events in and around the venue. Check out Wayward Brewery for a cheeky beverage (or two) while you're there!

Artereal Gallery in Rozelle is giving you the opportunity to 'Meet the Makers' from 4pm on Saturday the 17th. Presented by YOKE magazine, Stevie Fieldsend will be talking about her latest body of work that seeks to capture and convey emotional realities through sculpture and installation. Penelope Cain, multi-disciplinary artists will follow Stevie to talk about her latest paste-up project happening at the gallery. This is a free event, but book yourself a spot here

Newtown is home to many unique faces and personalities, see them conveyed in portraiture by award winning photographer Zahn Pithers from the 1st to the 9th in selected cafes and venues along Australia Street. Visit Black Star Pastry, 212 BLU, Continental Deli, Drunk on the Moon, Newtown Fire Station and STAX of WAX and enjoy art with a coffee and/or cake between 7am and 5pm daily.

If laughter is your idea of art, September is the month for you! The Off Broadway Festival Hub and Marrickville's Factory Theatre are your go to for all things comedic. We love the sound of 'Attention Deficit....Ooh a Pony' that details the journey of Rose Callaghan's ADHD diagnosis at the age of 32. This show sold out in both Perth and Melbourne and Pedestrian TV calls it 'hilarious'. You can experience it on the 27th or 28th at 8:15pm in Marrickville. A performance that gives it all away in the title 'Aw F*uck, the Flat's on Fire' can be seen on the evenings of the 10th, 11th and 12th. Go along to Gehrig Lane in Annandale to watch the show's characters as they try to find out who set their apartment building a light in order for them to be able to claim insurance. Tickets and times here.

Last, but certainly not least, we've put together a not-so-little event of our own. We've brought designers, electro freaks, technophiles, artists and all-round creatives together to fuse art and technology with fashion, darling! This one night only pop-up is set for Wednesday, 21 September at 7pm at 74-76 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Annandale in the Off Broadway Precinct. Come along for an evening of kaleidoscopic light, sound, movement and colour. Our ambassador is artist and designer Erica Gray, nationally and internationally recognised for her contributions to the wearables industry - one of her pieces will be centre stage complimenting the other designs. No strangers to Fringe, art collective Purple Moustacho will also be projecting their surreal and striking aesthetics onto the walls for massive visual impact. Tickets are only $15 with proceeds going to help us keep doing what we're doing- you can get them here!



Introducing Our New Board

DLUX Media Arts Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Board of Directors that will guide the non­profit with renewed vigour at a time of unprecedented challenges in the arts in Australia. 

Newly elected Chair, Ms Louise Steer, said the new board represents “a unique but complementary” combination of skills and experience. 

“Each member is an outstanding leader and contributor in their own field, whether that be the arts, business or the not­for­profit sector.

"Most importantly, we each share a deep commitment to the success of DLUX and the artists it supports, as well as an understanding of the challenges we all face.” 

The new board of DLUX Media Arts Inc. is: 
● Louise Steer , (Chair) Lawyer, author and NFP philanthropy consultant
● Yujita Chaudhri , (Treasurer) Chartered Accountant
● Bec Dean , (Secretary) Curator and writer
● Michael Dixon , Policy and strategy advisor
● Michael Hutak , Journalist and artist
● Rebecca MacFarling , Marketer and fundraiser
● Kathryn Marshall , Business leader and General Manager
● Kate Richards Academic and multimedia producer

Ms Steer said that in a constrained public funding environment for the arts, the Board’s most urgent task was to seek out alternative sources of support. 

"We will be drawing on the wealth of experience in fundraising for non­profits that now exists on the Board. Our first focus is on securing the medium­term financial future of DLUX to enable the current program to continue to create experiences that generate a deeper appreciation of the linkages between art and technology." 

Since 1982, DLUX has brought to Australian audiences the outstanding endeavours of artists working in film, video and digital media, work that DLUX continues to promote through its stewardship of the "Scanlines Archive of Australian Media Arts". 

In the new millennium, DLUX has also developed an education program that has opened up new audiences for media artists, and a social program that has extended access to art and technology to young people from remote and indigenous communities. "As a new incoming board, we are indeed fortunate to have this significant and continuous record of achievement upon which to build,” said Ms Steer. 

What will you be wearing in the (not too distant) future?

Google glasses, apple watches, glow-in-the-dark gowns, Met Gala fashion - will this become the norm? It seems so, with experts predicting that technology will influence our fashion more and more. We might very well be walking around in outfits similar to Katniss Everdeen's in The Hunger Games sooner rather than later.

'Luciferin' created by artist and designer, Laura Jade | laurajade.com.au

'Luciferin' created by artist and designer, Laura Jade | laurajade.com.au

Designers are already creating clothing that can respond to certain environmental elements like pollution and sunlight providing an instant connection to our surrounds through the garments we wear.

Last year, The Guardian interviewed creative director at CuteCircuit Francesca Rosella who proclaims that “in five to 10 years, all the little gadgets we have to carry around - like mobile phones, cameras or bracelets - will disappear and everything will be integrated into a garment”. 

CuteCircuit was also responsible for the world’s first couture twitter dress worn by singer Nicole Scherzinger who unveiled the crystal incrusted digital dress that lights up to spell out tweets sent by fans. It was commissioned by EE to celebrate the launch of their 4G mobile network in London as far back as 2012.

Artists have long been involved in the wearable technology realm and we’re starting to see their early explorations being picked up by the fashion elite and worn by musicians on stage and at events, performers in plays and actors on the silver screen. 

Smart clothing is on the move with fashion houses like Ralph Lauren jumping on the bandwagon reaching out to OMsignal, a Canadian startup to create connected couture. 

Sure, perfected wearable technology has still got a while to go before all the creases have been ironed out and maybe it is a superficial fad, but it could also be a hell of a lot of fun!

We hope that the artists, designers, tinkerers, tech-heads and creatives that we are pulling together will be able to showcase their thoughts on wearables at sARTorial - a pop-up event as part of this year’s Sydney Fringe.

If you want to contribute your ideas to the future of fashion then submit your interest to our IS THIS ART? program. Follow this link - you’ve got until midnight, Wednesday, July 20.

Seven things you might not know about dLux

1. We’ve been around since the 80s

Beginning as the Sydney Super 8 Group in 1982, we became the Sydney Intermedia Network in 1990 before taking up our current name as dLux MediaArts in 1998.

2. We’re custodians to Australia’s most comprehensive media arts archive

Scanlines is both a physical and online archive surveying forty years of new media art in Australia. Scanlines.net is a broad resource profiling artists, curators, organisations and events since the 1960s. The database is an ongoing and evolving platform dedicated to preserving industry ephemera.

Scanlines.net homepage

Scanlines.net homepage

3. Our archive is currently in its second year of touring

Todd Fuller, one of our artists and curators, studied the archive and selected twelve works to create the national touring show: Scanlines. It features fourteen artists including; KURT BRERETON, LEON CMIELEWSKI, DANIEL CROOKS, DANIEL MUDIE CUNNINGHAM, STEPHEN FEARNLEY, STEPHEN HARROP, SUE HEALEY, SODA_JERK, JANET MEREWETHER, KATE RICHARDS, KATHY SMITH, JOSEPHINE STARRS, MARK TITMARSH, & JOHN TONKIN. Each work aims to highlight a particular period in media art history and showcase different techniques and technologies.

Scanlines on show at Dubbo's Western Plains Cultural Centre in 2015

Scanlines on show at Dubbo's Western Plains Cultural Centre in 2015

4. We’ve been working in regional Australia since 2011

Our dLab National Program reaches out to disadvantaged young people, especially young women from Indigenous and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, from remote and regional communities across the country. dLab uses the immediacy and accessibility of technology to encourage an informal learning environment often more appealing to those disengaged from traditional education. 

We have partnered with councils, schools and organisations in numerous locations in New South Wales including Wagga Wagga, Kempsey and Coonabarabran as well as Beswick and Nauiyu in the Northern Territory. Over the last five years, we’ve bought new skills in art, science and technology to hundreds of young people helping them to tell their stories, create work in response to environmental, social and cultural issues and build their confidence.

dLab in Wilcannia 2014

dLab in Wilcannia 2014

5. We’re passionate about media arts education

Our time in regional and remote Australia and through our touring programs inspired us to formalise some of the workshops we offer and establish ourselves as an organisation passionate about arts education. In May this year we received endorsement from the Quality Teaching Council through the Board of Studies Teaching Educational Standards NSW for a suite of workshops that relate to our Scanlines exhibition. 

6. We host a bi-annual pop-up event

IS THIS ART? has grown in diversity and popularity since it began in 2014. Now in its third year IS THIS ART? is a critical platform for the exhibition and promotion of cutting edge new media artworks created by young and emerging artists.

It has become our flagship event, a one night only pop-up extravaganza designed to push audience’s perception of media art. Showcasing a variety of digital art practices from sound and video to robotics and installation we aim to add our own flair to Sydney’s nightlife.

IS THIS ART? March 2016

IS THIS ART? March 2016


7. We are grassroots in our support of new media artists

All of our programs create opportunities not only for professional and established artists, but also for artists both young and emerging. We work closely with these practitioners to shape our dLab National Program, our touring shows, our educational workshops as well as for specific projects requested by galleries, councils and other organisations. We are committed to the promotion of all media art and all media art artists and we are committed to contributing to a vibrant Australian arts culture.


dLux is BOSTES accredited!

We're thrilled to announce that a suite of our workshops have been accredited for teacher professional development. These workshops, inspired by the national exhibition Scanlines, have been endorsed by the Quality Teaching Council through the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW.

dLux has been running workshops in art, technology and ideas since 2011. We have supported artists in their teaching and have made technology driven art practice available to artists, arts workers, young people and gallery audiences. We continue to support the best in exhibiting digital media art forms; and work consistently in regional and remote areas to make creative technology practices accessible to diverse audiences and communities.

Focusing on key historical and contemporary artworks by leading Australian artists, on visual education, and on using accessible and intuitive technology as a tool to engage and inspire young people, we will be working with artists to bring these workshops to teachers across NSW.