Sea Shells: Translating Wooden Sculptures into Digital Files and Printed Objects


This project started one day by me noticing my nice collection of wooden sea shells. They were all sculpted out of cedar over the years by my father. There are a limited number of them around, and I thought it would be nice to preserve them forever by scanning them into my computer. The forms actually translated wayyyy better than I thought they would into the digital world.  I am excited to see what else I can use these files for, and what other materials I can further adapt my father’s art into.

Now that I have the files from the scans, I can make smaller versions, add attachment points, design molds, etc. I think it is really neat to be able to use technology to create new abundance and diversity out of a small sampling of artwork.





These photos of all of a blue ABS 3d print of a larger one of his conch shells.

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This photo shows the same shell in a smaller, concrete form. I printed the original CAD model at 10% scale, and made a simple silicone mold, and then cast it in cement. In the center of this photo there is another one of his shells that was reproduced (in miniature) by the same process.


Atlanta Maker Faire 2015

This month, I participated in the Atlanta Maker Faire again as part of Oscar Eastwood (i.e. The Society of Lady Makers). With rain looming, we were a little concerned about the turn out, but everything worked out great. We had a blast helping kids make miniature light-up houses, lighthouses, and critter pins.


Some of our critter magnets, and the sign for our letter writing workshop.


A few more of our critter magnets (in 3D printed wood), and a little bit of our workspace.


This year we had a few of our zen gardens and 3D scanned designs on display for kids to play with(in). I love the way the colors looked all together.


Again this year the hot glue gun was key. We even found some great glittery gold glue to use for magnet making.


This year we even had a tropical bird weathering the storm with us at our booth.

All in all it was a great experience to see kids get excited about making. We had a few repeat visitors from last year and it was neat to hear about how they ended up using their creations after the Faire. I learned a lot about what level of detail children are interesting in learning about, and how to keep my instructions short and sweet.

3D Scanning a Turtle

This guy is a little critter I made to test out some more of our Makerbot Digitizer’s functionality. I scanned him about six times from all different angles. The digital file still did not pick up all of the cracks, crevices, and surface features, but I think the overall model turned out cute.


Clay sculpture on the scanning turntable.


Sculpture with the scan. Deep cracks didn’t really show up in scan.



A fun part of PLA plastic is that it floats and you can color on it with crayons, so bath toys!


3D Scanning a Whale

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I have been playing around with a low-endish 3D scanner (Ours is Makerbot Digitizer). It has a fairly constrained scanning area so I have been starting out small with a few of my little clay sculptures. This guy is a simplistic whale with a hole that runs through the center. I digitally smoothed it and then edited the model with a boolean function in Autodesk 123D because the hole did not scan correctly.  The bottom also had to be sliced off so it would sit flat for printing. The tail fused with the body of the whale, but I didn’t think that it was a huge deal.  These were printed with 1.75mm pink PLA plastic.  The prints are scaled at 75% and 50% respectively.

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