Case studies 24. 01. 2017

Digitize and print a part in 3D

Some free tools allow today to digitize objects very easily, to obtain a 3D file that can then be retouched, transformed and printed. These new uses open up many possibilities in unexpected fields. One of our customers, a sculptor and visual artist, agreed to explain his project to us

What was your project?

I carved a face out of a section of wood, which looks like a sculpture on a stand. I wanted to reproduce this piece to make a version in total rupture with the original.

The idea was to get a different presentation, because the original sculpture needs to be put on a display to be highlighted. I wanted to reproduce the sculpted part so that it could be hung on a wall, like a painting.

I also wanted to mark a contrast in the manufacturing process. 3D printing is representative of cutting-edge technology, and is in total contrast to traditional woodcarving. Finally, plastic, a modern material par excellence, is at odds with the natural and rustic symbolism of wood.

After some research on the internet, I contacted 3D Prod to study the feasibility of my project.


How did you get your 3D file?

Having no experience in the field, I thought I would have to turn to a professional to perform a scan with a 3D scanner.

When I presented my project to the experts at 3D Prod, I was surprised to learn that there were applications on smartphones that allowed me to scan 3D parts.

On their advice, I then downloaded the free Autodesk 123D application. It allows, thanks to photos taken by turning around the object, to obtain a 3D file that can be retouched on computer.


How did you use your file?

The accuracy of the result exceeded my expectations. The only problem was the surface condition, slightly grainy, while the original piece is smooth. To retouch the file, I downloaded the Autodesk Meshmixer software, also free. I could easily test different treatments to correct the surface condition. It is during this phase that I obtained this "faceted" rendering which accentuates the modern and technical aspect of the final piece.

All that was left to do was to order the print, paint it and then fix it on its wall support!

What are the advantages of 3D printing for the field of artistic creation?

First of all, it is an additional way to create and experiment. I was amazed at how easy it is to digitize and retouch, without any experience and using free tools.

So the first advantage for me is the accessibility of the technology, which allows you to explore several possibilities before going to print.

The cost of the service is another positive point. The solution of handmade molding, which could lead for example to a printing by foundry, would be much more expensive.

Finally, we must emphasize the speed of the process, the order can be made directly on the site of 3D Prod and you receive the part at home a few days later.

You can follow all the steps on this video:

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