How Professor Yuko Oda Uses 3D Printing in Art at UMass Lowell


Technology is changing how art is created in numerous ways. From the lasers used in “Assemblance” that allowed people to interact and sculpt with light, to the “Rising Colorspace” in Berlin that had artwork created in real-time by a climbing robot called Vertwalker, technology is opening up new methods of expression and helping create some really interesting exhibitions around the world.

3D printing is another technology that’s seeing its fair share of use in art. Yuko Oda, a professor specialising in the area of 3D and expanded media in art and design, has used 3D printing on a wide variety of projects. She first used FDM and SLA in a college curriculum, before joining UMass Lowell in 2017.

Now, Yuko Oda uses 3D printing to create art and innovate in the classroom, delivering 3D modelling and animation courses to students. By taking her passion for technology and applying it to education, she is able to realise her two biggest passions and help the leaders and innovators of tomorrow develop their skills.

Formlabs 3D printing at UMass Lowell

One of the most important tools Yuko Oda has is the Formlabs Form 2, which enables her to make models and sculptures from liquid resin.

The benefit to this process over FDM, is that it allows for greater precision and the creation of more geometrically complex and intricate parts. This is because the process is not limited by the size or directional changes of an extruder.


Yuko Oda uses the Form 2 to produce high-quality and precise parts and models. Some models she prints in one go as sculptures; while for others, she prints a series of parts which can be assembled depending on the subject. This process is fast, cost-effective, and enables students to gain experience with the machine itself.

“Students can sculpt a 3D model, import it into Zbrush, and then print in various resins, including Clear Resin,” says Yuko, “The ability for Formlabs machines to show intricacies that were modified in Zbrush is unparalleled when compared to other printers in the lab.”

Inspiring projects

The results of Yuko’s and her student’s work are nothing short of magical.

For this project, UML Art and Design student Alex Twyman made a VR Sculpted Model:

Project 1

And in this project, called “Darkness Meets Light”, a series of 3D printed objects were printed in Black Resin to create a contrast between black and white:

Project 2

Another project, called “Morning Dew”, used real leaves and 3D printed water droplets to bring nature and technology together:

Project 3

As we’re sure you’ll agree, the results are fantastic.

Yuko really values her Form 2 printer because it’s accurate and very reliable. “Our FDM printers, if I was to print 3 student projects, I would expect 1 of the 3 to fail,” she says, adding, “With the Formlabs machine, all 3 of the prints would be successful.”

3D printer: Form 2 — however, the Form 2 has now been superseded by the Form 3.

Materials: Clear Resin, Black Resin and all Standard Resins.

This information was first published by Formlabs. If you enjoyed this case study, you can find more like it at our higher education page.

All images in this article are credited to Formlabs.