Intro: Thera-band Templates for Thermomolding
This title uses and old 3-word spelling trick, so it can be remembered, but any other rubber band can be used. ;)
Having read this amazing article, Video – Zurich researchers develop alternative to 3D color printing, I learned that soon, you can print neat color 3D thermomolding objects!
Works from a 3D printed negative where you cast a positive Gypsum mold, so when you put the heated plastic membrane and use vacuum, it will replicate the Object.
By using an algorithm they developed, they can anticipate the deformation on the plastic, so you can adapt a color print into perfectly fitting the original object's details!
That's the good news.
The bad news... They will present the technique only in July, and when that will translate into a program you can use on your Computer, that's anyone's guess.
So, being as impatient as any Inventor is, I've concocted this rough and dirty technique for all other Geeks to have a go at Color Thermomolding, with the predictable approximative results.
Got a better way?
Cool, share it with us. I offer absolutely no guarantee of success, this is as experimental as it gets.
Step 1: Mold the Rubber First!
So imagine you have your Gypsum Guy Fawkes, ready for molding, instead of making the plastic molding, right away... You'll use a rubber membrane, first!
Step 2: Ruberized
With vacuum, and any luck,the Membrane will stick to the Gypsum, and the deformation will be there, so now...
Step 3: Outline the Thing
You get a Marker, with the vacuum on, and outline the contour of the object onto the membrane.
Step 4: 2D Program
Next thing you do, you find a 2D program, and fill the inner space of the contour with a frontal image of Guy... It will deform accordingly. I.E.bloat.
Step 5: Thermal Transfer
As seen on the Video, print onto a thermal transfer print, and of course, transfer it to the plastic sheet.
Step 6: 3Deee!
With any luck, it will stretch just fine, and get all the detail in place.
Adjustments, as to the right rubber film thickness and what not, are in order.