Introduction: Maquette for Lightweight Life-size Sculpture

This is a maquette to scan in a 3D printer to make a life-size sculpture, considerably more lightweight than a sculpture made of dense clay.

This project, merging art and technology, speaks to the permanence and specificity of a commodity using the visual weight and vocabulary of the handmade object. Its organic nature, to really see the maker's finger prints, creates a vulnerability in an otherwise slick, manufactured item.

The final product is a sculpture of a broken sculpture. Using the unbreakable material of the prefab object, the 3D printer extrudes a sculpture, relieved from the burden of it's own fragility.

Step 1: Materials

1. Oven-Bake Clay ( I use Sculpey because it's softer and easier to manipulate than FIMO) from any arts and crafts store

2. 1/8 inch diameter brass tubing (I got it from a hobby store)

3. Tubing Bender ( can bend 1/16th or 1/8th inch diameter) from hobby store or online

4. Ruler

5. Sharpie

6. Wooden sculpting tool (optional) you can easily use your hands

7. Tin foil

8. Oven pan (line with tin foil so you don't get clay on something you bake food with)

Step 2: Let's Start!

Bend brass tubing in an upside down U to desired height. This creates the underlying structure of the maquette, as it stands up, when finished. With a Sharpie, I marked my 12 inch tube by 3rds, putting a dot every 4 inches. Put the brass tube in the Tubing Bender. Make sure the Sharpie dot is under the round joiner, where the bend is made(as seen in picture with materials). Pull up one handle until you reach a 90 degree angle and pull brass tubing out. Repeat for other side. Super easy.

Ball up the clay around the midsection of your tubing to begin sculpting. Squeeze the clay super tight so there is no lag room around the tube. It might start to sag and fall off during baking if the clay is not compacted enough. Use hands or sculpting tool if desired.

Step 3: Getting Ready for the Oven

Standing the maquette up before baking -

This is a 360 degree sculpture so it cannot lay flat while baking or it will get a little flat on one side.

I use the balled up tinfoil as part of the sculpture itself. However, if that's not your thing, you can use it as a stand in for a different base before baking (maybe a rectangle piece of brass tubing you solder on for stability).

The brass tubing is bakeable and will not melt.

Line an oven pan with tin foil. So if the clay does fall, you do not have it stuck to something you cook food on.

Bake as directed. This Sculpey happens to be for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.

Take out of the oven after 15 and let cool. Woops. hot.metal. I tend to forget obvious things like that.

Step 4: Okay Now Break It!

Ha...well, you can keep yours nice and pretty if you want.

Annnnnnnd. Now you're ready to scan your maquette in a 3D printer and make it big and awesome. Yay.

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