Instructables

Making patterns from 3D objects sans computers or fancy math

I went to expensive school to figure out computer 3D modeling to make my inflatable sculpture. What a fool I was! I don't need computers or school! All I needed is a handful of mud, masking tape and a blade. The following pictures were taken while I was doing a residency in Haiti for the Nov 1st celebrations (a little bit like Day of the Dead in Mexico).
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Make or find a form you would like to copy

I made my form from some clay dug out of a drive way. I used a a piece of wood to shape and simplify my form into planes, you dont have to do this but it makes for a simpler pattern. You could also copy a pre-existing object, say a detergent bottle or a fruit, but first ask your self if you could not simply peel the fruit and use the peel as your pattern.

Step 2: Cover in masking tape

I had a bit of trouble getting the tape to stick to the clay, but I persevered by using long pieces, careful smoothing, and layering. About 3-4 layers all over is good, keep it smooth and neat.
cagrik1 year ago
I am a graphic designer in inflatable advertisement bussiness. So, that walkthrough is very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.
what kind of fabric did you use?
Very nice. :) I may not have read carefully and you might have already said it, but what material did you use?
slithytove26 years ago
For your UV mapping, I suggest Blender 3D. it is free... and very good. you can make the items as simple or complex as you like.
Argon276 years ago
If you register at http://autodesk.com/firstbase you can download some autodesk software free. Look at the web page there to if you are interested in robotics.
kellimaier6 years ago
I usually hate one word comments...but I can only really come up with "excellent".
Love it. :D
rhino7 years ago
I have always wanted to get to Roswell. I would like to wander the crowd and dowse for aliens. That would be interesting. I will check out your website.
rhino7 years ago
I am not affiliated with McNeel and Assoc. who own Rhino, but I do use it and am the moderator of the Rhino forum and UV Mapper forum at www.renderosity.com and the UV Mapping forum at http://poserpros.daz3d.com/

I think that everyone should try the Rhino. LOL 8) I do my uv mapping in UV Mapper Pro, but there is an new app in beta testing called UVLayout that looks much more promising for unfolding organic shapes like this. I was really attracted to this project because I used to help my mom make stuffed animals when I was younger and this reminded me of that. BTW you do not have to go to an expensive school to learn Rhino. We will help out anyone with a legal copy of the software who wants to learn it. Maya is among many considered the holy grail of 3D. Do you not get along with it? I like the idea of doing real sculpture as opposed to modeling on the computer and one day hope to sculpt a lifesize alien to display at Halloween along with a crashed saucer. Keep up the good work and good luck.
gowithflo (author)  rhino7 years ago
RHINO: OK I'm going to check all that stuff out. I'm a Mac person, want to get a PC in addition though. MAYA: I liked it OK seemed pretty easy to use, I havent used it in a couple of years but it didnt unfold like Form Z and didnt have any physical properties like 3DSMax, it probably does now I suppose. SCHOOL: I was trying to make a funny about all the money I spent on graduate school which i suppose was useful for other reasons too. REAL SCULPTURE FROM COMPUTER MODELS: www.gowithflo.net CRASHED SAUCER: Too bad you aren't in Roswell Right now. The UFO festival is going on.
rhino7 years ago
I would just be a whole lot easier to do the 3d route and unfold it in a uv mapping program, but this is cool for lo techies.
gowithflo (author)  rhino7 years ago
hmmm "whole lot easier" depending on the shape you need, your skill in modeling, your access to software, hardware (note that this particular project was done in Haiti). But yes, I feel you other wise, theres nothing like the certainty of printing out a well executed paper pattern, I'm guessin' you are a Rhino enthusiast? or work for them? I was using FormZ, Maya, and 3dsMax, TouchCad before. Should I try Rhino?
this is a great way to pattern, try also aluminum foil and duct tape!
gowithflo (author)  Subconscionaut7 years ago
OK, I will. I guess that would probably help with the adhesion problems I had with masking tape on wet clay.
foil first is best, especially that great heavy duty stuff , then duct, but many cloth tapes are good! also, if using wet or WED clay, sealing it with a sprayed coat of shellac or chilling it helps preserve detail.
Karrion7 years ago
That's really useful. Thanks. I'll try it on some of my more complex puppet shapes.
Nice. This could come in handy for all of those out there who like hoaxes or just some pranks. Oh, the possibilities of mind control robots... i mean decorations.
gowithflo (author)  shadymilkman7 years ago
wow I have no idea what kinds hoaxes/pranks/robots you are talking about, but do post pictures after it all goes down.
I am slapping myself in the forehead. This is brilliant. I have wrestled with trying to create patterns for something more complex than a platonic solid or such. We overlook the simple things. I am now going out to buy TONS of masking tape. Thank You!
gowithflo (author)  R. Daneel Olivaw7 years ago
aww thanks for the love! please let me know if you figure out improvements or alternate methods.
psychotron7 years ago
Interesting method. I love the pic from inside with the kids peering through the eyes ;)
Crash21087 years ago
Cool. Needs more information steps 5-7 though.
gowithflo (author)  Crash21087 years ago
Thanks, but this is about pattern drafting for all kinds of sculpture, not making inflatables, or sewing.

Perhaps I'll do another instructable on making inflatables sometime.

Ah perhaps the enlarging tecnique can be elaborated on, here is a link : http://www.benchnotes.com/Pattern%20Making/Pattern_Making.html

If you have a specific question I can answer that for you.