One of the things I have been interested in with 3d printing is the way that it makes new forms possible. Because objects are more or less “grown” from raw materials, layer by layer, rather than carved out of raw material, or produced by injection modeling, different types of forms are possible. This makes possible an aesthetics connected to 3d printing. If we think about modernism as being shaped by clean lines and sharp edges which was in part influenced by using and working with industrial materials like steel and glass, working with materials in a new way migth influence a new aesthetic.
I think you can already start to see this taking shape in many of the designs on Thingiverse which have a much more “organic” feel to them, where straight clean lines are eschewed for curves and a structure that looks far more like something out of nature.
Above are two examples of what I am talking about. The first is the 2 layer ring, available on Shapeways with many similar variations. The second is a cellular lamp from Thingiverse. Again many other objects with similar looks are available on Thingiverse.
So I started printing things that are only possible to make if you have a 3d printer, i.e. can’t be done with traditional manufacturing techniques.
The first is a relatively popular print on Thingiverse, a Julia Vase. Because of how it is constructed there would be no way to get a mold out of the vase once you made it. Sure you could do something similar by casting it (lost wax) or hand blown, but this is plastic. It also reflects the aesthetic qualities that I was talking about above.
Second I printed a ball inside a box. Yes this was printed as all one object.
Third I printed a ship inside a bottle, a take on the ship in a glass bottle.
Finally, I printed a bolt and a nut. Except the bolt has a head on both ends, i.e. the nut spins up and down but can’t come off.