3D printing has become the go-to for creating multiples. After 3D scanning and printing my friend and collaborator on this project, Nancy Sayavong, we decided to use her 3D print as the starting point for a a new project using mold-making and casting to create multiples of her form. Our process led to the transformation of the original sculpture as an art piece to the creation of figurines that could be played with on a game board or arranged free form- bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase 'playing with yourself'.
- we used an inexpensive Xbox scanner & Skanect to make the 3D print, check out some great instructables to learn how to scan and print 3D portraits
Scanning using $15 Xbox Kinect
Printing 3D portrait using Skanect
Step 1: Setting Up for Success!
1) Keep your space safe!
-Put down butcher paper or another disposable material on the surface you will be working on as resin can ruin furniture.
2) Keep yourself safe!
-Work in a well ventilated room when working with resins.
3) Gather your supplies
x1 Mold-making agent - We used Smooth-On Mold Star 30 two part 1:1 ratio silicon
x1 Resin - we used Douglas & Sturgess Insta Cast White two part 1:1 ratio resin
x1 Safety glasses/goggles to keep any resin/silicon out of your eyes
x1 Xacto Knife - for cutting your silicon mold
x1 Thick pair of rubber gloves - to protect your hands
x1 Rubber band - to keep your mold together when making casts
x1 Elmer's glue or hot glue gun - to secure the object you are casting to your container
x 3 Clear disposable plastic cups with measurement markings (we used 2oz cups) - to mix your resin/silicon
x2 Stir stick - to combine the A and B mixes for the resin/silicon - don't use the same stick for both
Step 2: Mix Two Part Silicon and Make Your Mold
Take the object you are making and attach it to the center of the container you will be using (make sure that there is at least 1/4in space above your object for the mold making material. A dab of Elmer's glue or a drop of hot glue will usually be enough. (your object will not stay put if you pour silicon over it without securing it first)
Get a differentcup and mark the half way line on the cup - in this case it was 1oz (our cup was 2oz)
Take Part A of the Smooth-On Star Mold 30, shake vigorously for a few seconds, and pour it until it fills the cup half way (white liquid).
Take Part B of the Smooth-On Star Mold 30, shake vigorously for a few seconds, and pour it over the Part A until it fills the cup (blue liquid).
Now mix the 1:1 ratio of Parts A & B with a stir stick until there are no streaks of white and the color is completely solid.
Pour the silicon mixture over the secured object making sure that completely covers the top by at least 1/4 in.
Tap the sides of the cup until you see air bubbles start to rise (this will prevent your mold from having craters and deformations because of air pockets)
Get a coffee - make some more art - go to work - watch your favorite TV show because this silicon takes 6 hours to cure (complete the chemical transformation) - you can buy different types of mold-making materials that have a much shorter cure time if you prefer. We chose this silicon because it was durable and could be reused many times. http://www.smooth-on.com/tb/files/MOLD_STAR_15_16_30_TB.pdf
Step 3: Carefully Remove Object From Your Mold
Now that you mold has had plenty of time to cure, pop it out of the container. (because the silicon mold is flexible as is the disposable plastic cup this should not be difficult)
Turn the solid mold with your object in it upside down so you can see the bottom side of it where there is no silicon mold material. (it may be helpful to mark 1/4in from the opposite end of your mold before continuing to the next step as we do not want to cut the entire mold in half)
Carefully take the Xacto blade and starting from the exposed part of your object gently cut down the mold until you are 1/4in from the bottom.
Repeat step # 3 cutting down the opposite side of your mold.
Carefully separate the mold near the exposed part of your object. Once you can get a grip on your object begin to pull it from the mold, which is flexible and will separate along the lines we cut using the Xacto blade.
You will be able to see a high degree of detail along the hollow space in the mold. This material will easily fit back together where you cut it for minimal cast lines in the resin cast.
Step 4: Prep Your Mold and Mix Two Part Casting Resin
You will want to take a rubber band and tie it a couple times around your mold so that it is held firmly together for casting.
Make sure to put your gloves back on - resin is harmful on the skin
Get a new plastic cup to use for mixing the resin. Mark the total amount you will be using on the cup - this will vary depending on your object. Mark half of this on your cup before you pour the first part of the mix.
Take your Part A portion of your Inst Cast resin and pour it until it reaches the halfway mark on your cup.
Take your Part B portion of your Insta Cast resin and pour it over Part A until it reaches the full line.
* If you want some of your casts to be different colors you can mix a resin pigment in at this stage. We mixed a black pigment in for some of the later casts, which produced varying gradations from dark black to grey.
Mix vigorously for 3-5 minutes with a stir stick. After it has been thoroughly mixed it will be ready to pour, the resin will warm as it mixes.
Step 5: Pour Your Resin Cast (mix Resin Pigments If Desired)
Make sure your mold is held tightly together with the rubber band. Pour your resin into the the mold.
Gently tap the mold so that the air bubbles rise to surface just like you did when you made the silicon mold.
The Insta Cast resin only takes about 15 minute to cure so check a few e-mails and when the resin has turned from clear to white, see if it is completely done by using the stir stick or your gloved hand to check if it is still tacky and needs a few more minutes.
Take off the rubber band and carefully separate the resin cast from the mold much like you did when removing the original object. - if all has gone well you will have a very detailed cast of your object - we could clearly see the filament layers of the 3D print in ours.
Step 6: Repeat Repeat Repeat & Play
We continued making molds and as we began experimenting with making half of the casts a darker color had the idea to turn the figurines into a checkers set, which Nancy laser cut.
You can see the variations in color that are hard to achieve when using many 3D printers.
We played around with the pieces and arranged them free form as well - and created a few gifs we made of the pieces.
Each process in sculpture has its own unique advantages. 3D printing is great for scaling objects larger or smaller. Traditional mold-making and casting allows for more variety of materials - ability to use many different coloring pigments in casting, and in some cases a much faster turnaround time than 3D printing.
The element of play and not completely determining the outcome of the project before we started led to a series of work based on the initial 3D art sculpture and a very personalized game for guests!
Step 7: Play Some More!
We continued to experiment with the figurine's made from the original sculpture adding the element of time and easily made GIF's into the mix. We used http://gifmaker.cc
Check them out - they are were improvised but reference...
Microscopic organism movement
...and what we think may be a competition among the little figurines to be #1!