Today a group of artists with a knack for taking things from the digital world into the physical world will spend some time first doing the opposite: looking at real physical objects and capturing them with cameras and software and making them become digital. It’s that digital space where the new shaping and changing may take place.
Paper Folding Models by aubenc The recent news of a process for creating balloons of any shape using 3D printed molds and sophisticated balloon deflating modelling, reminded me of two really cool ways for creating paper models. First is TreeMaker by Robert Lang , an engineer and world-renowned origami master. Lang’s free and open source program lets the user specify the number and ratio of major “flaps” and it designs a base that should collapse into a model with that number and ratio of flaps. When folding an octopus, one uses a base with 9 flaps – 8 equal flaps for the eight legs and 1 shorter flap that forms the head. A giraffe would probably use five really long flaps (for the legs and neck) and one very short one (for the tail). The second is a type of software that assists with creating papercraft models by exploding a 3D model into a flat pattern that, when cut out and assembled using glue and tabs, would create a physical paper version of the 3D model. There are several different programs that do this, but I’m not aware of any that are free or open source. 1 If you know of any versions that are either free or open source – please share! Paper Folding Models by aubenc Few ages ago I was using a piece of paper “quite a 2D thing” to get 3 dimensional models, so this is a tribute to a couple of my first ever “made things”.
There was a really nice set of responses to a post last week about sketching. Basically, I asked whether blog readers and MakerBot operators were accustomed to sketching their designs from the very beginning or using CAD tools to 3D model a design from the get go
The Smithsonian museum is undertaking a project to 3D scan its collection ! While I imagine the Smithsonian will end up creating its own collection of virtual exhibits , we would obviously be thrilled to see a broad selection of replicas of the Smithsonian’s many wonders pop up on Thingiverse!
I had some questions in comments on my peg placement, so here’s a snapshot of the model with the pegs in. When it printed, they snapped off easily and the head turned out pretty well considering how small I printed it! I didn’t try supports for the belly and tail, and the underside of both came out a little scraggly as a result, but at this scale (less than 8cm long) those details ended up being less important than keeping the head from falling over during printing. On more complex models I’ve found you can get away with surprisingly little support, but the cost of going too far with this can be anything from a ponytail that twists off before it reaches the connection point up top to total build failure. Like with all home 3D printing, you get a “sense” for what will work and what won’t over time…
iPhone dock created in Shapesmith and printed on Thing-O-Matic How can I model the thing I want to print? As the population of 3D printer operators continues to grow, answering that question will become more important than ever.
I go on about how 3D printing and Thingiverse (and of course, the users who know their way around 3D tools) are well-aligned to provide things which aren’t just good enough to serve but which are precisely suited to their desired application, but this thing speaks for itself rather boldly. It does what it’s for. More or less exactly.