Introducing #SFEscapees, an Entirely 3D-printed Public Art Project

An enigma has occupied the San Francisco waterfront for a few months now — the iconic sea lions that typically invade the docks of Pier 39 have disappeared.

But what does that have to do with my last post?

123D-ers, enter my latest project: a love letter to the city of San Francisco and the unique marriage of creativity and technology that happens here. Keeping this sentiment in mind, I 3D-printed an army of sea lions and hid them (in plain sight) throughout the city.

Should you find one of the three-inch creatures, you will notice there is a hash tag sprawled across their glossy bellies: #SFescapees. Where have the sea lions escaped to, you may ask.
 

My theory is that they’ve escaped into the digital realm, only to be materialized in plastic and placed throughout the city. So let the search commence! Once you find a sea lion (distinguishable by its unicorn horn and hash tag) upload the image and geotag it. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, pick it up and move it to a similarly visible location to keep it going. And bonus points for posting seal-fies. 

Autodesk’s 3DRV Rolls Across America

100+ scheduled stops. 8 months. A million stories. Welcome to the Autodesk 3DRV tour.
Are you interested in seeing (or being) 3D scanned?  Autodesk's very own 3DRV is cruising the country finding interesting stories to share and you might just be on their schedule.   


If you're stationed off the trail you can still keep up with TJ's daily blogs ranging from 3D scanning vintage motorcycles in Sturgis, SD to a feature on the Detroit Public Library Makerspace using our favorite apps: Tinkercad and 123D Catch.

Open the official 3DRV page.

 

On the horizon…

Big things (or rather, big batches of small things) are happening in the Pier 9 shop... and they involve YOU! Check back in a few days for more updates. Here's an image to hold you over until then:

Scancations and the future of photography

Bre Pettis from Makerbot recently went on vacation to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, and used 123D Catch to create some amazing 3D models of the standing stones to be found there. He makes the point that the future of photography is in 3D. It is only slightly harder to make a 3D scan of a memorable object than to take a picture.

Photo: Bre Pettis

Now it is possible to not only photograph, but 3D scan and print memorable items that you see on your travels. Even though he used a drone (those standing stones are pretty tall!), anyone can do this too, with just an iPhone or a pocket camera.

Of course, if you have a Makerbot, you can show your friends and family a physical replica of what you saw. Imagine children recreating memorable scenes from their travels with miniatures of the things they encountered!

There are some things that you can only really fully experience in full 3D, and here is another example I love. 123D user Jaime Almonacid has some amazing captures of the Fallas in Valencia: click the picture to see them in a 3D viewer:

So when you're traveling, and see something amazing, don't just take a picture! You can create an amazing 3D scan of a memorable object, and share it with your friends in 3D, and even make a physical copy. (Always ask for permission - some museums and artists may  object).

Make sure to check out 123D Catch, it just had some significant improvements for better results and 3D printing.

123D Catch – improved quality and 3D printing workflows

 

Creating 3D models from your photographs just got easier today. 123D Catch V3 for Windows was just released with a notable improvement on project success and mesh quality, including a streamlined workflow for healing and 3D printing your captures in Meshmixer. Below I'll go into detail for how to use all the new features.


Most notably, there is vast improvement on automatic stitching of photographs you submit. In the previous version of 123D Catch the same set of photographs below, of the Hindu Deity Vishnu at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, required manual stitching those photos that weren't automatically stitched together. This new version has no problem automatically stitching all of the photos I've submitted. Gone are the days of manual stitching! Hurray!

Capture of Hindu Deity Vishnu at Asian Arts Museum in SF

Capture of Hindu Deity Vishnu at Asian Arts Museum in SF.

All of your captures are all stored in your account at 123dapp.com, so you can create captures on the go with the iOS app, then open them for further refinement on the desktop app. Below, I regenerate a denser mesh focused only on the sculpture by lasso selecting only the sculpture, then clicking Generate Mesh in the toolbar. This will only regenerate the selected area at a quality you decide (choosing Max will have more details at the cost of longer processing time and a larger file).


Finally, clicking File...3D Print...will load the capture into Meshmixer where you can heal and prepare your capture for 3D printing in a variety of materials with a 3D printing service or right on your own desktop 3D printer at home!

3D printing capture in Meshmixer

Hindu Deity Vishnu in Meshmixer, healed and with support structures for 3D printing

We are seeing some amazing and very unexpected captures coming in from our friends in the 123D community. The new 123D Catch desktop app will help even more whether you use the iOS app or shoot photos with your own camera. Need some tips or help on shooting just the right photographs for 123D Catch? Try here for some pointers.


I leave you with some of my recent favorite captures folks have shared in the gallery, for inspiration to create your own. Have fun!!

World Cup Trophy

World Cup Trophy

Hayderik on the Grass
Hayderik on the Grass

 

Falla Lo Rat Penat 2014

Falla Lo Rat Penat 2014

 

PLANT3D Part 2: Bike Edition

One day I was meandering through the print shop when the Instructables intern, Rachel, casually mentioned to me that she was working on a bike commuter Instructable. At that moment, my calling became apparent. I needed to 3D print a planter for mounting on bikes. After all, who doesn’t want to cruise through the streets in the company of another living, green being, conveniently mounted to their handlebars?

To build the planter, I started with a blank canvas in 123D Design. (I prefer to use the desktop version, but this is definitely feasible in the online version as well.) I started with a cube from the primitives menu approximately three-quarters of the size of my air plant.

Rachel mounted the other parts of her commuter project to her bike via ziptie, so I created a ziptie-sized half-circular hole to keep the look uniform. This was done with a series of concentric circle sketches that were extruded in a particular order; you can find a thorough account of the process in this Instructable.

Bike-mounted, 3D-printed planters are a green, simple way to pimp your ride. The file is available for download on the Instructable, so get printing and be prepared to be the envy of bike commuters everywhere.

 

The Mighty Midwest Presents: Adrian Stein

 

For our final installment of the Mighty Midwest we revisit talented student artist, Adrian Stein. In May he stole the spotlight as a featured Maker of The Day and Meshmixer super user so we wanted to delve deeper into his story to share it with you. With thoughts like, "Hearts are wild creatures; that’s why our ribs are cages,” it's no surprise that his physical artwork evokes a whole new level of imagination that he chooses to express through 3D printing.

We met with Adrian at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago back in February, and more recently our friends in the 3DRV, which is currently crisscrossing the country, had the chance to sit down with him for a follow up - see the video below for a peek into the wonderful mind of Adrian Stein.

 

 

Looking into Adrian's artistic process revealed a poetic approach that can best be described in his own words:

"As my research progresses, I have found that most designs have a lack of connectedness to the nature of music, or sound. I have tried to approach the matter scientifically, and creatively, with an original intent to engage a design that is both feral and endearing; two characteristics that I encountered in nature, in her species, and in the passive-aggressive dances that her children made. The sounds and compositions from animals around the world are arranged in order to establish presence, attraction or repulsion; Hence I found much inspiration from the study of mating rituals in the wild; it is quite fascinating how alike we are to all species in this earth. Something that transcends in the mating rituals of most species, including our own, is the ritualistic aspect of the mating mannerisms, coupled with loud bluster, or soft melody; A preparation, an interaction, responses from both parties, climax, and eventually a separation (biological or eventual). As so, I have chosen two options for the sound-wave designs, one consists of the extremely complex mating call of the Lyrebird, the Mockingbirds big brother, and another is a song which either speaks of love or is love inspired. Depending on the final choice, I will modify the aesthetics of this to fit."

With this inspiration in mind, Adrian looked within himself and created a 3D model based on his own voice saying, "I Love You." He shaped the resulting waveform diagram into the shape of a bracelet (which you can see below,) creating an idea that can be replicated by lovers everywhere. 

3D printing of waveform I Love You

You can (and should) keep up with Adrian's work via his Tumblr blog, and be sure to keep on the lookout for more features on him here. This is one artist you don't want to miss.

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Thank you so much for joining us on this journey through the Midwest. It has been a real to treat to report on how Chicago is driving the maker movement. Check out our other stories coming out of the Midwest, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Tom Burtonwood, and the Chicago Public Library. Be sure to stick around as we begin exploring other cities and regions to bring you more news on innovations in 3D printing and making worldwide.

Getting Sculpted with Shapeshifter

If your burning desire to print complex shapes has been constantly subdued by the difficulty of intricate 3D modeling, Project Shapeshifter is the tool for you. Currently in beta, Shapeshifter is Autodesk’s free application dedicated to simplifying complex models.

Upon opening the app for the first time, fellow Autodesk intern Arnab Mukherjee created not one — but four — Shapeshifter-crafted sculptures in one afternoon. The results were impressive:

To make this sculpture, Arnab started with one of the pre-loaded templates (users can choose from vase, bowl, ring, bracelet, knot and more) and tinkered with the various slider controls until he was satisfied with the shape.

The Shapeshifter interface exists entirely within your browser, making it easy to use. Despite its simple presentation, there are many layers of customization that allow the user to fully shape an imagined object.

Sliders offer complete control over each aspect of the model, from more basic characteristics like thickness, color and spin profile to advance characteristics like wave frequency and amplitude. Pre-loaded patterns fill the bottom tray, allowing users to change the pattern throughout the modeling process.

Once the sliders have been adjusted to create the desired shape, you simply export for 3D printing and there it is: a unique, beautifully-intricate Shapeshifter sculpture.

You can experiment with the beta platform by making your own Shapeshifter object using the various controls. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hit the randomize option in the top menu and print your result.

 

MeshMixer 101: 3D Printing

 

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

This video will show you a typical workflow for healing a capture from 123D Catch, then printing with a 3D printing service.

The Mighty Midwest Presents: The Chicago Public Library

 

This week in the Mighty Midwest we take a look at how 3D printing is changing the way visitors experience their local public library. Libraries have always existed as repositories of learning and information, and as technologies change there is a huge opportunity for them to adapt and bring those technologies to the masses. The Chicago Public Library has set up a Maker Lab in their downtown branch to bring new technologies to the people of Chicago. In the video below you can see how this Maker Lab is transforming the library experience by bringing things like 3D modeling and 3D printing, laser cutting, and more to the average person.