Orihon: The world’s first 3-D printed book

As part of our artist books collection, Special Collections recently acquired a copy of Orihon, the first book printed using a three-dimensional printer. It takes the form of an accordion fold book, with the individual printed plates attached through folding connectors, all of which are made out of plastic.

[Burtonwood, Tom. Orihon. Chicago, Ill: Tom Burtonwood, 2013.]

[Burtonwood, Tom. Orihon. Chicago, Ill: Tom Burtonwood, 2013.]

The book’s plates contain three-dimensional images of sculptures at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In order to construct the book, creator Tom Burtonwood used a digital camera to take multiple photographs of the sculptures. The photographs were then digitally stitched together  to construct a three-dimensional wire-frame which could be printed on a three-dimensional printer.

Colophon for Orihon. The text is printed in three-dimensions.

Colophon for Orihon. The text is printed in three-dimensions.

Although initially issued in a print-run of fifty signed and numbered copies, Orihon is also available as a free open-source, print-on-demand project. The files used to print Orihon  are available for download at the Thingiverse website; each printed copy was also issued with a flash-drive containing all of the necessary files. One could use the files to print additional copies of the book, and one could even use the files to create variations on the original by altering the order of the images or introducing new ones.

Detail of three-dimensional images from Orihon.

Detail of three-dimensional images from Orihon.

Alexander Clark Johnston

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