Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shorebreak - WIP

A current Work In Progress

~Creating Limited Edition wooden sculptures from digital using 3d Printing and CNC~

A few years back I created this image with some freeware (cant remember the app). 

Sandy Shorebreak '10

I liked the shape, generated from math equations and output as a point cloud, but it was only a 2D result and the mathematical UI didn't give me the creative control I wanted. 

So I turned to ZBrush (the only 3D tool that is robust enough to allow me to attempt this) to re-create it as a 3D model.

My first attempt yielded pleasing results from an appearance standpoint, but the model contained a few errors that needed to be addressed before it could be successfully translated into wood.

First, the depth of the majority of the curves were not adequate, and they needed to be deepened. 
Second, software designed to analyze models for STL export displayed several errors in my file.

Rebuilding the file resulted in a sculpt that has less surface noise, but preserves the intent.
The deeper curves looks too brute force for my taste at this point, but deeper was a suggestion by the folks at in Italy.
Their experience has been that detail is lost in the translation to wood, and accentuating the detail at this stage is desired for the end result.

The ZBrush file, exported to as a .STL file (after Decimation) is 3D printed at 2x larger. Its printed hollow to keep costs down, and the interior is filled with a low cost resin.
The finished wooden sculptures (20) will be 7 inches tall, so this model is approximately 14.
7 inches was chosen for the final height, as that was a size limit for single solid pieces of Maple.
Larger size models would require laminated boards.

This 2x size model is then used as the "Guide" that the "Panatograph" operator brushes the stylus against.
The 20 drill bits follow the stylus movement and cut 20 blocks of wood simultaneously.

Photo provided by
Photo provided by
Photo provided by
Photo provided by

The final sculptures arrived in May. They are very accurate representations 
of my original digital file.  


The final sculptures arrived just in time to get into the
"Less > More" Exhibition at the Mitchell Gallery, St. John's College,
Annapolis MD.  

This video made by 3DWood, shows (@ min 2:17 & 2:29), the operator handling the stylus against a small sculpture.