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The Hot Mess

September 24, 2016

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I was setting up a Matter Control Touch to run my Printrbot Simple Metal so that I don’t have to have my computer connected to it, and I had to give my printer a nickname. I named it  “The Hot Mess”.

The reality of 3D printing is that for every really cool awesome print that I can’t wait to show everyone, there seems to be half a dozen failed prints and wads of PLA spaghetti…
I guess that’s why it so exciting when it turns out nice.

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Returning villian

September 15, 2016

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Just a little work-in-progress of a character that I’m remaking in ZBrush. Apparently TAR didn’t wipe-out the entire clan of Hyena assassins….

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3D Printed Custom Jewelry

July 9, 2016

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One of the cool things about using a service like Shapeways is that you can get 3D prints made in materials like metal–even precious metals. This clasp was a commission for fashion designer Katie Bickford-Sawkings. It is printed in polished silver from a model created in ZBrush:

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Shapeways first prints the model in a castable wax, then uses a traditional lost-wax process to cast the final piece in metal.

Each material has it’s own design constraints, which has been a sometimes frustrating learning experience for me, as I’ve had to keep tweaking things to create something that will print successfully and pass through multiple steps to become a finished product….

Sometimes a customer wants text engraved or embossed on a small piece of jewelry. While I can model it as small as I want–there are limitations to how fine a detail you can get. The smallest detail that you can get is about 0.3mm, so when you model the text you have to think about the thickness of the strokes and serifs rather than the height of the letters. You also have to be aware of the space between letters!

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On this jump ring, the customer wanted the word “C.U.R.E.” in a font that had thin serifs. To scale the text up so the serif was 0.3mm would make the word too big to fit on the ring! So I had to go in and modify each letter, offsetting the original curves to create letters that would make it through the process.

But even though there are some design constraints with this process, there is also a lot of freedom when it comes to sculpting digitally and then reproducing that piece with 3D printing.

An example is this Bahamian conch shell. The client wanted this specific type of shell in a piece of jewelry, and airmailed me an actual shell so that I could use it as a reference.

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I used a Structure 3D scanner to capture the basic geometry of the shell and then imported into ZBrush.

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The scan data gave me a pretty good base mesh for the shell, and I had the actual conch shell in my lap as I went in and sculpted the details. This 3D model of the conch was then incorporated into a custom pendant.

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For Shapeways and other services that offer custom jewelry from 3D printed wax, there is a minimum feature size that affects details that are engraved or embossed. Because of the lost-wax process that the design must go through, the smallest feature for polished metals is 0.35mm

For an example, look at the ring above. The strokes of the letters in the text “One Ring To Rule Them All…” is scaled to 0.35mm. The ratio of width to depth is 1:1, so it mustn’t be deeper than it is wide…It is possible to print details in wax 10 times smaller (.03mm), but it will be rejected when it comes to manufacturing.

If you would like some help turning your idea for a custom jewelry piece into reality, you can contact me on the Designers for Hire page at Shapeways. I would love to help you bring your dream to life!

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3D Printed Miniatures

April 4, 2016

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I’ve been doing a lot of commissions through Shapeways this year, many of which are miniatures.

There is a new material that Shapeways is testing called High Definition Acrylate, that is ideal for miniatures.

email-blog-hi-def-acrylateSo now I’m thinking about creating a series of miniatures myself and offering for sale… What about a series of 54mm miniatures inspired by my Dark Lead sketchbook?

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or maybe something like this Alice in Wonderland piece that I made for my daughter?

Here is a sample I just got from Shapeways at 54mm height:

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Digital Painting

June 22, 2015

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I did this in ProCreate on my iPad–Pretty fun!

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The Crossing

May 29, 2015

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THE CROSSING

A group of wildebeests are on the side of the river. A boat is there. The leader of the group hands TAR a bag of coins, as the wildebeests all climb into the boat.

TAR wades across the river, pulling the boat with one hand. The wildebeests look nervously about. There is an “aquarium” style shot, so that we can see above the surface of the river and below it at the same time.

Crocodile warriors rise up out of the water around TAR. One of them plucks a momma wildebeest out of the boat, while TAR is fighting with two others on the other side. The wildebeest passengers are in a panic.

TAR kills the two crocs that he is fighting. All the Splashing and thrashing about ends and the water becomes murky with blood. The passengers are still looking about, agitated and afraid.

TAR hauls the boat onto the shore of the opposite bank of the river,and the wildebeests scramble out.

The wildebeest leader is angry. Waving his hands around, points at the water, the boat, and the orphaned child (who is crying for his momma). TAR looks back at the water and realizes that one of the passengers is missing.

He reaches into his pouch and takes out one coin. He shrugs his shoulders and give the refund to the wildebeest. TAR returns to the boat, collecting his gear, while the wildebeest travelers walk off, continuing on their way.

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Working on designs and storyboards for the next episode… I’m looking for animators and potential collaborators on the Hash Forum , so let me know if you want to participate!

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The Pitch…

April 18, 2015

Here is the Pitch Bible for TAR of Zandoria.

TAR, Pitch

It’s got the slug-line, introduction, characters, and episode spring boards–all the required things for the pitch (based on everything I’ve read)… But WHO do I pitch it to?

That’s the thing that all the books and tutorials about pitching your ideas seem to skip… Unless you happen to know the right contact, it isn’t easy to figure out where to go next.

Have you found yourself in this same spot? Where did you go next? Let me know in the comments!