Introduction: 3d Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse is a method of producing collaborative collage in either words or images. With origins in early 20th century French surrealism, the results are often hilarious and/or shocking making Exquisite Corpse a great ice breaker, party/drinking game, or jump-start to a creative process with your digitally inclined friends.

Traditionally, Exquisite Corpse is a 2d exercise -

1. A piece of paper is folded into as many sections as there are participants.

2. Each artist in turn blindly draws a portion of a figure in their segment based on guidelines from the previous turn and passes the paper along.

3. When the paper is unfolded in the end, the exquisite corpse is revealed!

Today, thanks to easily accessible and intuitively usable software and 3d printing we can bring exquisite corpse into the 21st century and the 3rd dimension! What follow are guidelines for 3d Exquisite corpse.

For this example we are playing with 2 people so we will divide our corpse in half.

Step 1: Settin Up the Game in Meshmixer

We played 3D exquisite corpse by:

  1. Finding a generic 3D CAD model of a human body
  2. Slicing the body in half in Meshmixer to create a top and bottom
  3. Sculpting the top and bottom portions in Meshmixer to create exquisite, weird top and bottom sections
  4. Exporting the meshes from Meshmixer and 3D printing using the Objet Connex 500

We used a human body CAD file created by Wouter Konings. We downloaded the Solidworks file (.SLDPRT) from GrabCAD. Meshmixer imports mesh files (STL, OBJ). To convert the Solidworks part file to a mesh, we imported the .SLDPRT file into Autodesk Inventor and then exported a .STL file.

We then sliced the CAD into two parts in Meshmixer using the following steps:

  1. Make a duplicate of the CAD.
  2. Cut the original model at the desired plane, keeping the top portion of the model.
  3. Cut the duplicate model at the desired plane, keeping the bottom portion of the model.
  4. For the bottom portion - which is now composed of the legs and left and right hands - separate shells to create 3 separate objects.
  5. Combine the hand objects with the top portion. (Select multiple objects and select "Combine" from the dropdown options)
  6. Move the top portion away from the bottom portion. (Edit -> Transform)
  7. Make each portion a solid model ("Edit -> Make Solid")
  8. Save the Mix file and send to everyone who wants to design exquisite parts of the corpse!

Step 2: Sculpting Your Parts

Now for the fun part: Sculpting surreal parts!

There are a few fun ways to do this in Meshmixer:

  1. Using the "Sculpting" tools
  2. Adding Meshes using "MeshMixer"
  3. Importing CAD from 123D, Thingiverse, or GrabCAD

Using the Sculpting Tools

Meshmixer has many easy tools to push, pull, reduce, refine, inflate, drag, and attract meshes. These tools work using a paint brush; the strength and size of the brush can then be increase or decreased to change the effect of the tool. If you're new to meshmixer, the best way is to just play around with the tools to gain an intuition about what they do.

Adding Meshes Using "Meshmixer"

The magic of meshmixer reveals itself in the "Meshmix" tab. There are a number of "primitive" meshes, including meshes of human faces, gorillas, arms, and legs. Most of these primitive are open meshes; they can be dragged directly onto the human mesh model and meshmixer magically morphs the two meshes together. There's a little pop up window that allows you to transform the mesh primitive (scale, move horizontal, rotate) and morph the mesh by adjusting several parameters.

Importing CAD

Can't find the mesh part in the library to suit your exquisite desires? Another option is downloading CAD from the internet and adding it to your model. Several CAD repositories exist including Thingiverse, GrabCAD, and 123D. 123D is embedded within MeshMixer; you can pull a model from 123D directly into your model. If you want to download CAD from an online repository, make sure to download a mesh file (STL, OBJ) and then you use the "Import" function (Import -> Append).

Step 3: 3d Print

Exporting 3d printable files from Meshmixer is quite easy, but first its a good idea to run the inspector and repair any issues with your model. Then select the part and export as an .stl.

There are lots of 3d printers and services out there. Here is a primer if you're getting started:

We had several rounds of parts and wanted to print as many as possible. We needed to print small to keep costs down so we printed with an Objet connex polyjet machine. High resolution allowed us to scale down without losing much detail.

Printing with an objet is as easy as importing the parts, verifying, scaling, and sending to print. Our parts took just about 5 hours to finish with a little clean up at the end in the water jet booth.

Step 4: Exquisite Corpse!

Hopefully, to this point you have been modeling and printing your parts in veiled secrecy. Now is the time to reveal and assemble your Corpses.

Now sit back and revel in the hilarity, horror, or pure absurdity of your collective imagination!