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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From Clay to the 3D Printer & Back Again

The latest addition to our 3D printing plan is an app called 123D Catch. What's that you ask? Well, its an iPad app that allows the user to photograph an object and then convert those images into a 3D mesh, ready for printing on our Makerbot 3D printer.

Take this clay sculpture of a dinosaur bird head for example. It was created in clay and will be fired in the kiln. While we were waiting for it to dry, we took a few (40 something) photos using 123D Catch. The app captured the images and converted them into a 3D image. Now we can export that mesh and print as many dinosaur bird heads as we want.  How cool is that! 

The images below are not the clay version but rather the 3D image that 123D Catch created.

View the bird in 3D online!

Click the first box in the window above to view the dino bird in 3D.

The next step was to export the mesh and import it into the 3D printer. We loaded the file into our Makerbot software, pressed the 'print' button and several (12ish) hours later, a 3D printed replica of our clay dino-bird head!

This 3D version is ready for a little clean up to remove the supports and then it can be painted and displayed with pride.

Meanwhile the clay version just came out of the kiln. This piece is also ready for glazing or painting or whatever direction the artists decides to go in.


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