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3D printing & scanning


this week's assignment: design and 3D print an object (small, few cm3, limited by printer time) that could not be made subtractively & 3D scan an object

3D design & print

i began this week's assignment thinking about where i'm from, where coral and living things with colorful membranes abound in watery environments. i'm realtively new to 3D designing for printing, so i wanted to learn something new from this process. this led me down a rabbit hole and minor obsession with Voronoi diagrams. turns out that Voronoi diagrams are useful in a diverse array of settings: microbial cellular walls, muscle tissue, and 19th century investigations of infectious epidemics (cholera is gnarly). essentially, a Voronoi diagram is a partition of regions that are seperated based on distance between a set of seed sites, and for each seed there is a corresponding region consisting of all points closer to that seed than to any other. each of the regions are referred to as Voronoi cells, but a plane of these cell pockets create a Voronoi diagram.

fig 1. Voronoi diagram creation tool courtesy of L. Paul Chew

this new fun pattern got me thinking it would be great to mesh it over something useful, like a pen holder. turns out the creators of Meshlab built a rendering tool to take care of the tedious seed-generation computation for Voronoi-noobs like myself. voila my first go at using the Voronoi mesh tool...

voronoi pen holder
fig 2. albeit probably an interesting experiment to print, the floating pieces were quite tricky to mesh together to create a unified piece, and we had limited time on the printers since the class was trying to get everything done in a week's time, so i ditched the pen holder and went with a sphere instead.
voronoi sphere
fig 3. the sphere was created, and walls were thickened using the OffsetCrv command in Rhinocerous (a program i'm very unfamiliar with, but was keen on learning because of the command-prompt environment), and then imported into Meshlab for Voronoi-zing

i took my little sphere to the printer, using Sindoh to load up and scale my .stl file.

voronoi sphere
fig 4. the strucutured components of the sphere to ensure the print doesn't turn into PLA sphaghetti or roll away mid-print


voronoi-tastic! as i picked apart the base structure, the columns remained inside, creating a suspended core that i really loved, so i kept them.


3D scanning

i wanted to scan something with depth using tools i'd yet to play with, so i took my shoe off and set up to use the 3D Systems Sense 3D Scanner 350470. after 2 tries of slowly touring the scanner around the shoe, i was able to get inside the lip of the shoe with pretty solid stability. i was told lighter objects scan better than dark objects, but i found if there's sufficient amount of light against the object to create contrast, it wasn't a problem for the scanner.

scanner flow
fig 5. what the 3D scanning into modeling flow looked like. using 3D Sense systems, a solid shape can be configured from a summation of images at different angles.

and a baby (Vans shoe) was born into the world.

scanner flow scanner flow
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