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

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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.

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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.

It’s a Llama!

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It’s a little llama that jumps when you pull his strings. This design is meant to be a build-it-yourself kit for making an ornament. The pieces all snap together and string can be added to hang it and create the frolicking motion.There are 11 pieces altogether, not including the string, that you can print in any color combination you want.

All of the STL files for printing one are available on Thingiverse here.

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This llama was created as a part of a series that I like to refer to as my mildly mechanical designs. I like the idea of making things that incorporate one or two basic engineering principles. I think of these designs as way to teach myself how to use these principles, as well as a way to show others how they work.

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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

Designing and Making Custom Cement Pavers

Here are some in-progress shots of a batch of our concrete pavers. These photos show four of our first custom designs. The next designs are currently being formulated and won’t be so fish-centric. All of the pavers were made on the porch of my own (tiny) apartment from homemade silicone molds.  You might recognize the fish art from one of my previous posts.  
inproductiontunaThis guy is our yellowfin tuna design, prior to it being painted.

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My porch is only about 12 x 7 ft. so it gets a little tight when there are more than a couple pavers in production. In this photo you can see the dolphin, wahoo, and sailfish designs. The surfaces are sanded down and polished to fix any imperfections.

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When it starts raining, everything gets moved inside. Here is a photo of me experimenting with paint. The final pavers are coated in concrete sealant on top of any coloration of the designs.

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These guys got a realistic paint job since they were for a pretty hardcore fisherman.  Going forward the designs will probably end of being more monochromatic due to time constraints.

This design project is ongoing as part of ShipHouse (a product production collaboration between myself and one other.)  We hope to continue to design, produce and sell pavers locally.

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.

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Clay sculpture on the scanning turntable.

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

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

 

Bait Fish & Big Fish Drawings

I have recently been drawing fish for a new design project. These are hand drawn in sharpie and then scanned in in black and white mode and converted to vector outlines in Illustrator.  I then open the vectors in the CAD program Solidworks and create models by extruding the shapes. In this way I can use my own drawings to create and 3D print models that will later be molded into other materials (in this case concrete). My process is a combination of both old school and new school techniques but I enjoy the process of seeing my drawings transition between materials and dimensions.

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Big fish (marlin, wahoo, & dolphin) and bait fish (flying fish, pilchard, & cigar minnow).