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When 3D printers fail, the results are beautiful

When 3D printers fail, the results are beautiful

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The "digital detritus" of computer imagery gone wrong provided the foundation of glitch art, which celebrates the wild, uncontrollable pieces of an otherwise ordered artificial world, even if it was always confined to a screen. As 3D printers try to replicate the clean lines of a virtual model, though, that possibility of accidental chaos escapes into physical space. "The Art of 3D Print Failure," a Flickr group that started in late 2011, chronicles the most beautiful mistakes to come out of 3D printers, from headless figurines to tangled loops of ABS plastic.

Despite its name, the group isn't just about showing off unexpected but gorgeously weird results. Members are supposed to tease out the problems behind the failed models, getting help from other users. "Add a description of what happened and your thoughts and analysis and hopefully others will comment on how best to avoid the problems in the future," the description reads. While many pieces of glitch art are a deliberate aesthetic choice, the results here are a happy fusion of found art and finely honed craft.