Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
This video shows a swallowtail butterfly projected into the 3rd dimension.
I've been taking my pictures and moving them into the 3rd dimension. I start with an image and then stretch it into an object such as a box. The picture runs through the box and appears on all the faces. The printer that I use works in full color.Full color 3D printers are still huge, expensive beasts, too large and costly to have at home. The one I'm using belongs to a printing service in New York City and it weighs 800 pounds, costs about $80,000, and requires a skilled operator to run it.One day, I got an idea for putting a butterfly on a box. What would make it interesting is that the lid would be split down the middle, in two pieces. When you would lift the sides of the lid, the butterfly would flap its wings, ready to take flight. For display, the wings would be held up by little wedges inside the box.The image directly above is a rendering that shows how the lid and the box would look.The real problem was to find an image that would fit correctly on the cover. The butterfly had to have its wings fully open and be square-on to the camera. I had to scale that image, position it and rotate it slightly so that a line drawn through the center of the lid would also go through the center of the butterfly. Then I had to find a way to use the 3D software to split the lid so that it would reproduce correctly.And now the final test. How would the box look when it was printed? I submit these files to the printing service as one single model, even though it has multiple parts. The colors on these 3D printers vary between printing batches. Printing the parts together helps guarantee that their colors will match.I made the video to show how the butterfly box evolves. it demonstrates how imagination takes wing.
Animation by Frisson Studio - copyright 2014
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