Type Design: 3D Print Letterpress (Part 3)

After aforementioned trials and tribulations due to the overuse of the Makerbot 3D printer, I sought out another resource to make my letter prints. Bob Oglesby, owner of Host Engineering in Jonesborough, Tennessee was kind enough to print them via his modeling machine. To save on materials cost, I extruded the models to .25in instead of type-height which would be .918in. I was very pleased with the resolution of the print quality(fig. 1.)


fig. 1

During the printing process there were several challenges. I had at first planned to also print my furniture in order to set my typeface onto the block like traditional letterpress. Due to time constraints, strips of mat board were cut and used as leading between lines and also along side the lines of type as rails (fig. 2.) The tracking of the typeface I meticulously built into the models so the letters were set flush to one another (fig. 3). Since only one copy of each letter form was printed, words and phrases with multiples had to go through the press several times. For example, the word “HONEY” (fig. 4) went through the press 2 times.

The letters themselves were slippery so the ink had to be thick and sticky. A glossy, red, rubber-based ink (fig. 5) adhered to the faces of the type well (fig. 6 & 7), it also made a wonderful “shick” sound when rolled on. (fig. 8)

The accompanying artwork are vintage woodcut illustrations which I digitally collaged and printed on Strathmore off white drawing paper. The lyrics used are from my original song “Free Running Soul.” 5 prints in total were produced, 4 illustrative posters and one specimen sheet. (fig. 9 & 10)


fig. 9


fig. 10

This poster series was displayed in the graduate show “New Media Collective” in the Digital Media center on East Tennessee State University campus on Friday, December 11th, 2015.

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