Introduction: My 3D Printed Fiancée
I know that you shouldn't objectify a women, but does that apply to 3D printing?
In October, le FabShop was part of the Autodesk Pop-Up Gallery in Paris, one of the coolest exhibition I ever attended. During the two weeks of the event, our design team animated a Maker Space inside the gallery, fully equiped with 3D printers, a laser cutter and a bunch of other cool toys.
Shapify, a branch of Artec, was also installed in a corner of the gallery, where they had built their awesome 3D booth, creating full body scans in less than a minute.
I couldn't help, I had to do something with them... but I already had about a dozen miniatures of myself (seriously, we use this file to compare the 3D printers accuracy), so what else could I do?
I had just proposed to my beautiful girlfriend the week before (you might remember her from the Muse Corset project), so I decided that she would be my model. A 3D printed Fiancé, scale 1 to 1. Creepy, but cool.
Of course, we had no machine able to build the statue in one piece, so we had to be clever and create a giant puzzle. Thanks to Todd Blatt from We the Builders, who game me some tips.
Here is how we made it :
Step 1: Get Your Model Scanned
Ok, this part was easy for me because I had help from Shapify's Booth, but here are some tips not to forget when you want to digitalise a volume :
- Don't wear Black, it absorbs the light and creates bad geometries
- Forget the shiny stuff, Anything that reflect's light is bad (metal, diamonds, sparkly things...) if you really want to wear it, you might have to paint it white or pour powder on it.
- No transparency, No, your glasses won't come out good. Please take them off. You could always ad them on the computer later, using Meshmixer.
-Don't move, hold your breath, don't blink, stay still... it won't take long. Be a perfect statue.
-Be colourful! This mostly apply if you want to use chromatic 3D printing. Mmulticolor patterns work so much better.
-Be original. Don't take the same pose as everybody. Try something different, asymmetric.
Step 2: Fix and Cut Your Scan
You can use Netfabb or Meshmixer to make your model Watertight. Once this is done, use the cutting tools to slice the volume into blocks. Make sure they fit in your 3D printer. For instance, we used a couple Replicator 2 astaking volumes up to 15cm x 15cm x 27cm and a Z18 making parts as big as 30cm x 30cm x 45cm. Remember, bigger means longer.
If you intend to use Raft, don't forget to count these layers in your maximum Z lenght. 150mm in Z goes down to 148mm.
Step 3: Prints the Parts
If you don't want to waste time and money, I recomend you keep your model's infill very low. We used 2 and 3 percents... it worked out fine.
Create a number system that will help you put the parts back together. I gave a letter to each layer and a number to each block of this layer, clockwise. So, layer D had parts D1,D2,D3 and D4 in it.
Thy to minimise the use of support material. It really is a waste of time and plastic sometimes when you can just figure out an other orientation. .
Step 4: Assemble
At the beginning, we used only double face tape to hold the parts together... and it was a bad idea. We came back the next morning finding the plastic body on the ground with the head broken into pieces. We had to reprint all broken parts.
Ourfinal solution needs a little bit more patience, but it works perfectly. I bought a tube of silicone glue (all purpose and fast dry). It's similar to the one you use to make the joints of your bathtub. You have to put a generous amount between every block and let it harden during a few minutes. We also used painter tape on the outside to make sure the blocks wouldn't move while drying.
You can create layers separately, to stack them together once dry. It takes a good 12 hours before it cures completely, but it's worth the wait.
Step 5: Make It Stand
The statue is very light (about 20 pounds), but it stil needs stability.
We used the laser cutter to create a wooden platform that we glued to the feel, like an plastic army soldier. This way, we hopefully won't find my 3D printed fiancé on the floor again with her arms and legs detatched from her bust.
It takes about 500 hours of 3D printing to make a model this size, so make sure you have enough time, plastic and motivation to go all the was until the end of the project.