Financial Times interviews The Factory NYC founders

In a three-part series from Financial Times (FT), Louie Hinnen and Paul Outlaw were interviewed by Rana Foroohar to learn about how The Factory NYC is modernizing sculpture and form-making with 3D Printing.

Categorized as Press

In a three-part series from Financial Times (FT), Louie Hinnen and Paul Outlaw were interviewed by Rana Foroohar to learn about how The Factory NYC is modernizing sculpture and form-making with 3D Printing.

The series examines how additive manufacturing technology can boost innovation and jobs in a de-globalising world, as the pandemic, war in Ukraine, and climate change underline the dangers of relying on fragile global supply chains.

Reported and produced by Rana Foroohar; produced and edited by Joe Sinclair; filmed and co-produced by Gregory Bobillot; graphics by Russell Birkett; additional images from Steven Ciravolo/SQ4D, The White House/YouTube, Getty, Reuters.

Transcript:

The Factory NYC is a custom fabrication studio making sculptures for experiential marketing, retail displays, props, and artworks. 3D printing only makes up about 15 percent of their business. But sculptors Paul Outlaw and Louie Hinnen say it’s already revolutionized how they work.

3D printing, for us, has been revolutionary in the way that we make three-dimensional objects. Reductive methods were just sort of painstakingly slow. You have to start with this giant volumetric block. You’re always just carving away all of this material until you can find the sculpture inside that you’re trying to excavate.

3D printing, we could skip the foam. We do all the artistry work in the computer. We can download models. We can create models. We can download and modify models. So the possibilities are much, much, much greater.

Possibilities like creating the statue of Jesus with the face of actor Nick Cage.

The beauty of 3D printing is that it is all done on the computer. So that we’re able to do whatever manipulations we want to do and show the renderings to the client and be, like, this is exactly what you’re going to get.

Computer models are easily modified. You can even print 3D scans of real humans.

She didn’t co-operate during this scan. So we were only able to get a screaming child. But this is my daughter, Elvis Outlaw.

This Venus de Milo is a more conventional example.

We were able to download a model online, and modify the model, and make that within 15, 20 hours. So now we can make something like this Venus de Milo in a week or two for $8K to $10K, whereas before we would have had to carve it for weeks or months. And then it would be cost-prohibitive. It might be $50 or $60,000.

The factory has 10 different kinds of printing machines, ranging from $800 to $350,000. But with technology changing so rapidly, so does the price. A machine that was $8,000 three years ago might be closer to $800 today. The Venus de Milo was printed in their flagship Massivit 1800, which can do models that are six feet tall. Right now, it’s printing a giant wrench.

If Michelangelo had had a 3D printer, what would that have been like?

I don’t think Michelangelo could fathom a 3D printer. Right? I mean as genius as he was. I mean, I think the subtractive brain and the additive brain are very different ways to think about production of artwork or maybe manufacturing of anything.

For your business, will 3D be the future?

3D is going to play a huge part of what we do, yes. Right now the technology can’t accomplish everything that we fabricate, but it certainly helps in a lot of different areas. It’s really opening the doors to what we’re able to offer our clients.

We can take on projects that we couldn’t take on before in timelines that we couldn’t do them in before for budgets that we couldn’t hit.

And I got two asparagus.

They’re perfect for sword fighting.

I know, exactly.

It’s really inspiring to see artists like these find a way to take their passion and turn it into such a burgeoning business. And that brings us back to MIT. Because additive manufacturing is wrapped up with innovation, both in terms of art and manufacturing. And manufacturing is about jobs and wages.