The Use of Rapid Prototyping in Contemporary Sculpture
The Use of Rapid Prototyping in Contemporary Sculpture

Rapid Prototyping techniques are widely used in industry to reduce the time taken to introduce new products on the market.

In recent years there has been a strong interest in these methods within the arts community. Computer Aided Design (CAD) has enabled sculptors to explore new ways of creating three dimensional forms, freeing them from traditional methods of making objects and enabling them explore creative thought processes.

Rapid prototyping provides automated methods to create complex objects which in some cases could not be made using conventional processes. Working in the digital domain sculptors can also send copies of their work around the world using broadband networks.

Although not yet available in schools because of the high cost of machines rapid prototyping is being taken seriously by artists who are beginning to develop unique approaches to making sculpture. The information and links below provide an excellent starting point for exploring this new and exciting area.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown is one of the foremost digital sculptors presently working in Europe. He is principal lecturer and Director of Art & Computing Technologies in the School of Art and Design and MIRIAD (Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art & Design) at The Manchester Metropolitan University.

Find examples of his work at:


Fast-uk is an artist centred and artist led unincorporated arts organisation with a desire to reveal new possibilities of making art within the realm of digital sculpture. Founded in 1998 by Keith Brown, Fast-uk brings together artists, using computers and related technologies to create sculpture as part of their arts practice. The diversity of working practice among sculptors in this area includes the use of the computer as a design tool to assist in the visualisation of ideas, helping with the manufacture of objects using C.N.C devices and other rapid prototyping technologies (SLA, SLS, FDM and 3D printing), and producing cybersculpture in new environments. Fast-uk supports this new breed of digital sculptors through exhibition opportunities, networking and by creating increased interest among curators, funders, and the general public.

Bruce Gernand

Bruce Gernand is Senior Lecturer in Sculpture at Central Saint Martins

Unlike Keith Brown whose work is created and printed using the computer Bruce uses a 3D modelling program to create forms which he converts in to line drawings that are folded to make prototypes used to create works in traditional media.

Samples of his work can be found at:

Annie Cattrell

Annie's work draws on the anatomy of the body and the relation between art, science and medicine.