123D user and master fabricator Sean Cusack may have a heart of gold, but in this instance he's here to melt hearts... Hearts made of half-inch (~12 mm) steel. So don't get to close, this one's going to be hot!
What you're looking at is a welded steel heart, suspended by chains over a 12 million BTU, propane burning hot air balloon burner. I bet you can guess what that does : turn steel red hot!
Sean says if the burner was left on long enough the steel would completely melt. Sounds pretty cool, but we're also interested in how it was made. Sean started with a simple 3D model of a heart (like this example, free on the 123D gallery), sliced it in half with MeshMixer, and used 123D Make to turn the remaining half-heart into slices that fit together nicely before welding.
Below is the half-heart before and after in 123D Make. What looks like a complex 3D structure of interwoven slices was generated by 123D Make with just a few clicks. You can download Sean's 3D Models and the sliced 123D Make from the 123D Project Gallery here's the link!
Hit the Read More link to see the process...
123D Make exports vector files of the slices, each file has several slices laid out next to each other. Sean fed these vector files into a water jet cutter (like a laser cutter, but it uses a stream of high pressure water) and very precisely cut out the pieces of the steel heart. You may notice there's a laser-cut wooden version too - Sean made this to quickly check his work before using the water jet.
Below is the finished heart, two halves welded together. On the right is a top-down view into it.
The beauty of Sean's project is that you can make something similar out of paper, or cardboard. The power of 123D Make and the other amazing 123D apps are right at your fingertips... If you have access to a laser cutter you can make a similar version using acrylic or wood... and if you happen to have access to a water jet or a plasma cutter then you're in a pretty serious shop! Which brings us to Sean's other gig: When he's not making giant steel hearts (and we think this was a one-time project) he's working on a handful of other projects at his Bay Area shop - called Sheet Metal Alchemist.
Go ahead, try for yourself and let us know what YOU made. Maybe we'll feature you on the blog!