Sunday, 16 January 2011

January 16, 2011

Dennis made a clay relief in Albuquerque, from one of the drawings in my book:

Then I took the relief to Tucson to scan in 2.5D at Align-Rite.

They added blue tape around the relief (though it would have been better if the blue were painted on), so that the laser scanner could tell where the artwork ended. We really needed extra blue at the head and the foot of the artwork to make a better scan, but the relief only went to the edge of the acrylic support:

The brown clay was too light or too reflective, so they dusted the clay relief with white powder, to get a better laser scan:

The 3D scanned file on the computer screen, viewed in DeskProto software:

A negative of the 3D file was then computer milled into see-thru acrylic plastic, to make a mold:

Close-up of computer milling:

We then made 2 kinds of castings from the computer milled mold at the Sculpture Resource Center in Tucson:

Joshua made a casting with Nuke-a-Mold:

Nathan made a press mold casting with Super Sculpey:

Press casting halfway done:

De-molded (but unfired):

Alison Aragon
also made a Super Scupley casting, and altered it quickly (May 2):


I uploaded the scanned file (in OBJ format) to Thingiverse, and put it in public domain, to encourage others to download and alter the relief image, or do whatever they please with it (March 28).

I also uploaded the scanned file (STL format) to Shapeways, but it costs $392.27 USD to print out. I'm going to have to change that, by shrinking the image size to redue the 3D printing cost.

I wanted to alter the relief before posting it on Shapeways, to demonstrate how one can push a 3D file. I thought about putting twists in the rigid "chocolate bar" shape; perhaps with the Scherk-Collins Sculpture Generator somehow (see video).


Luis Portu in Mexico City made a 3D scene using the relief file, and saved in OBJ format (April 28):

Then Luis Portu animated the 3D file:


FabLabAbq in Albuquerque printed a mold of the relief image. They enlarged the 3D file to 12 inches, inverted the relief file to make a mold, and printed it on a Zcorp printer. Since their Zcorp 3D printer cannot make objects as large as a foot, they printed the mold in 2 pieces, which they glued together with bondo. They then made a silicon rubber (positive) from that mold. The objective is to make ceramic castings of the relief image (April 5).

This is a picture of the mold in 2 pieces (an illusionistic trick makes it look like a positive, but this is actually a photo of the mold):

Close up of the top mold piece:

After the Zcorp 3D printed the mold, the excess dust material has to be blown off (as shown for the bottom half of the mold):

The 2 printed pieces were bonded together to make a full mold. Then FabLabAbq made a silicon rubber casting with Smooth-On OOMOO25 (no vacuum required):

Eric and I then made a pour plaster mold from the silicon rubber positive, using a plastic box as a mother mold (and for future storage). We brushed on a thin layer of dishwashing soap for mold release:

The finished plaster mold had a few bubbles in it. We have to dry it completely before making ceramic casting from it:

At Mudfish in Albuquerque we cut clay and made a casting from the plaster press mold (May 4):

After demolding (clay needs to be dried and fired):

We also experimented by pressing the 3D relief print into wet clay; and by pressing a QR code (made with embossing plastic) into clay, which probably will not work. However, the QR code rubber stamp (also made at Made to Order Stamp and Seal in Albuquerque) on white paper does work with a smart phone, and will take one to this blog entry:

Fired and glazed:

The fired and glazed imprint, made by pressing the 3D prototype into the clay:

Fired and glazed QR code:


I "bombed" Ace Barber Shop in Albuquerque with a QR sticker linking to this blog entry. However the sticker was "static cling " (no adhesive), the kind that peels off (and sticks to) a window cleanly, so Gabe wasn't too annoyed. I made the QR stickers at 3 Monkeys in Tempe (May 27).


I commissioned the FabLab at the UNM Architecture department to print the relief in ABS plastic, using their Dimension sst 1200es 3D printer (May 2):

The 3D printout came out with stringy topography, which actually goes with my style (apparently it was an artifact of the scan, and a little of the printing process). The object came out in 2 colors because they changed cartridges in the middle of the scan, but the slight color contrast still enhances the figure a bit.


FabLabAbq (on 2nd Street) computer milled the relief 4 feet high, in extruded polystyrene foam, so that we can cast the image in concrete (May 3):

This is the finished mold:

This is that same mold, backlit by sunlight:

Test casting done in concrete at Counter Intelligence in Albuquerque:

Final concrete casting (we need to find a place to install this):

Another test casting, with a layer of plastic between the styrofoam and the black concrete:

John Barney, landscape artist of Humus Mirabilis, helped us place the relief sculpture, which was then installed by Counter Intelligence in front of the 3rd Street Arts center in Albuquerque (June 9):


I also commissioned a computer milled mold of this relief from Acrymaquetas in Guadalajara. The idea is to then ship the 4 foot mold to Puerto Vallarta where someone will cast it in fiberglass. We would rather mill urethane foam, rather than the blue foam, because it is better for casting fiberglass (April 18).

Gonzalo received the mold in Puerto Vallarta, and cast it in what may be investment for bronze casting (June 12):


We placed our relief image in the Albuquerque Museum sculpture garden -- using "augmented reality." One ought to be able to see our sculpture on the screen of a smart phone, even though it does not exist in the real physical space. Moreover, one should also be able to walk around the "virtual sculpture," as the smart phone is inserting a 3D file into real space. This is all courtesy of the Virtual Public Art Project (June 2).

At the moment, the texture map apparently is not loading, so that our piece looks just like a white block. Also, the GPS altitude needs to be adjusted so that the relief sits on the ground, like a stela.

Front view

Side view


A big thank you to Russ Riekeman for allowing us to install our relief sculpture in front of his 3rd Street Arts in Albuquerque (June 26):

Made to Order Stamp and Seal in Albuquerque made the plaque with the QR code, and EDCO made the base that sticks in the ground.

Andres Orlowski took the final photos. More photos in the June 26 blog entry.

I printed one of Andres' photographs on canvas at Picture Perfect in Albuquerque, 3 feet high, and exhibited that canvas as a scroll at the Industria Studios fundraiser in Tuscon (July 9th).

Moises, from the Sculpture Resource Center in Tucson, welded an iron mushroom sculpture to keep our relief company (August 6):

The W.M. Keck Center at UTEP (in El Paso) printed a 6 inch translucent plastic copy on their STL printer (August 22). This smaller prototype might give us an idea what a larger 3 foot casting would look like in translucent concrete:

I picked up my pseduo translucent concrete sculpture and showed it in Alison's studio (Jan 6, 2012), before driving it to Tucson for the 2012 Sculpture Festival.

Jacob redrew the 3D image (Jan 23, 2012) to reduce its byte size, so that the 3D file will load into the AndAR augmented reality app for Android phones (the square "target" is a temporary tattoo that I had made at 3Monkeys). Download all the necessary files from my Posterous blog to view this on your cell phone:

I bought an Andriod tablet (Feb 3, 2012) -- ASUS Eee Pad Transformer -- but the AndAR app would not work on it.

How about an augmented reality real time drawing program?

Gonzalo made a ceramic piece from the mold we had CNCed in Styrofoam in Guadalajara (June 26, 2012):

I uploaded the 3D digital file to Tinkercad, so that the public can play with it (Sept 12, 2012):

A special thanks to Dan Collins, sculpture professor at ASU, for getting me started with 3D printing.  He gave me 3 hours of his time back in 2009, to explain the digital 3D process to me, even though I was not a student. His "Twister" 3D print is a classic.

1 comment:

  1. Very Cool project, Its neat to see where this has lead you sofar, and im interested in seeing wher else it leads you!