Posts Tagged ‘rapid prototyping’

Raphael Perret


Raphael Perret is another artist who has produced rapid prototypes of bodies in motion. In his case both small and life size renderings of Mestre Corisc, a Capoeiro artist. Rapheal states that his specific interest is in the personal usage of space and the ability to cultivate and develop that usage from the habitual to the skillfully considered.

His goal was to produce the sculpture in lifesize as a positive and negative. The latter meaning a solid block with the movement carved into the material. So the visitor can crawl into the space and explore the space of the body from inside.

Motion tracking was used to record the motion and then this was applied to a 3d body model.

Raphael discusses three technical approaches to the task in an interesting essay on his website:

“theoretically, the innumerable stages of the movement could be added up by means of a so-called Boolean Join Operation. If, however, the volumes are not saved after each step, the computer is bound to crash after a short time. The second approach would be a virtual version of Schlemmers soft, plastic material, also called volumetric pixels, or voxels. The voxel is a three-dimensional equivalent to a pixel and is used to transform 3-D surfaces into an evenly screened bitmap. This means that out of voxels, the exterior volume of an avatar could be calculated, which would again accumulate an enormous amount of data. Much more elegant is the third approach. On each vertex of the avatar a particle is placed, which produces a point cloud while the movement is progressing. By employing this point cloud, a net of polygons can be construed.”

The third elegant approach was used, giving the project its name – BodyCloud. I think the technique is to cull interior points and then wrap a surface around the remainder. The resulting sculpture has a smoothness (oddly like squeezed toothpaste) which brings out the rhythmic dance and grace of the action. Raphael rendered several mini sculptures and showed them at Kinetica this year. You can read about the project on his website.


New 3D Printers


Two new 3d printers have caught my eye.

Mcor Matrix

First the Mcor Matrix from Mcor Technologies which uniquely uses plain old A4 paper as the medium. A special knife cuts each sheet and then the layers are glued together with a PVC variant. The paper makes the models 50 times cheaper than the nearest polymer rival. The resolution is the thickness of the paper – so about 0.1 mm which again is finer than some of the Zcorp machines. The models produced have a wood carved look, and are monotone – or striped as shown above using colored paper, but can be easily painted. The company is from Ireland and very friendly. The machine is out of my price range (about 24000 Euros) but I will be trying out one of the recommended print bureaus:

  • The Royal College of Art has the Matrix and they provide a bureau service through Rapidform
  • 3D Worknet also have the Matrix and they provide a bureau service


Secondly there have been a rash of build it yourself rapid prototyping machines in the last few years but one called Personal Portable 3d printer (PP3DP) is a little different. This one from Japan has all of its mechanisms hidden away in metal casing, rather than the usual skeletal rod aesthetic. The photo shows how small and tidy the machine is. The cost is a little more than the build it yourself machines at about £2000. The quality of the models is comparable to the other DIY machines at about 0.35mm resolution – you can see the spool of ABS plastic hanging off the machine.