Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Pattern Precedents

We have now started project three where we have been asked to transform an aspect of pattern into a 3D model that will be printed. For me inspiration for this project came from patterns in nature which I would like to somehow replicate in my final models. 

Retrieved from:

First precedent image of a palm leaf and I like the way that it draws the eye into the centre. I would like to form my model around the idea of circles and/or spirals which is what I will look into for my other precedent images. 

Retrieved from:

This image is of a Phyllo Tree and has a really beautiful spiral design. What I like about this is the fact that a spiral is generally quite a flowing, smooth shape however in this instance it has been made to look quite spiky and angular which is the opposite to its natural form. 

Retrieved from:

This dahlia flower has used patterns of repetitive circles to form another circle. The negative space is effective and would lend itself to make an interesting model. 

Retrieved from:

A drawing of a typical spiral shell. I like that it is made from separate parts that get smaller towards the middle. This would be a good image to put into illustrator and trace around as it has clear lines and could be put into solidworks to form a 3D model. 

Retrieved from:

This is a Nautilus shell cross section where a normal shell has been cut in half to reveal the inside of the shell. This has show some negative spacing which is more aesthetic to the eye then just a regular shell. 

Retrieved from:

Double helix DNA strand. The two strands twisting perfectly around one another would make an interesting model however would need to link up so that they are not two separate entities.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


This is the photograph of my final model. I have tried to use lighting and shadows to enhance the model. 


This is the render of my model. I've kept the colours to blue so that it has the same aesthetics as my physical model.

Heating laser cutting

This is my second attempt at heating using the heat gun. It is easy to see that it is a lot better then my first attempt. I drew on the edges of the twirl with a blue vivd which gives an effective aesthetic. I still have 2 spirals so I am going to heat those and make them even better than this one. 

This is the first trial of heating my spiral. As you can see it didn't quite go to plan as the heat distribution was not even. I did this using a blowtorch however I am going to use the heat guns in order to get a more even distribution.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Laser cut

This is my laser cutting before it has been heated and assembled. It is very simple but I am hoping that when finished it will make an effective model. 


Up until now I have only experimented using plain clear acrylic. However because my final model is going to be made up of two spirals that twist around each other I want to use a texture on one of them so that there is a difference between the two parts of the model. Here are some different textures I have experimented with. 

This is just plain clear acrylic which I have been working with so far. 

This strip of acrylic has been sandpapered which gives it a cloudy/opaque effect. It would make the difference between the spirals very clear

This strip of acrylic has just had the sides of the acrylic drawn red with a vivid. I think this gives and effective aesthetic however if I were to use this option I would choose to use blue on the edges because it better relates to my model and its 'tornado' look. 

This is a piece that was first sandpapered so that it was cloud and then I used a red vivid to colour in the piece. I then used a tissue to wipe off the excess. Because I had already sandpapered this piece it was slightly more coarse and so the ink stuck to it. This photo makes it look like the red is a solid colour however in reality the strip is slightly translucent meaning it would not be so harsh against a clear acrylic. 

Sketch model

With great difficulty I managed to cut out a 'spiral-esque' shape using a jigsaw. It is very rough but I just wanted to get a visual of what my final model may (or may not) look like. 

This is very rough but this is what I want my final to look like, except neater. I will also have more spirals because this is very simple. Also I may have 2 spirals and then twist them together so that they are twirling around one another which will make the model more interesting. 

Making spirals

I continued to test the acrylic by making models that were more alike to what I wanted my final model to look like. Although for my actual model I will be cutting out a spiral and then pulling it out, I have only done tests using strips of acrylic at this stage because cutting the acrylic with a jigsaw has proved rather difficult. 

This was just achieved by heating up parts of the rod and twisting it around a cylinder. I like that it bears qualities of a tornado. 

I twisted this model freehand. I like that it tapers of towards the end and that the final piece is not twisted but pointing straight down. However I have realised that when heating acrylic with a blow gun it is better to leave the paper on because otherwise it starts turning black like this one. 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

More heating tests

Again I heated the acrylic with a blow torch to test the boundaries of how far it could be twisted.

This was the first test trying to twist a 1cm strip. The reason it snapped was because I tried heating the entire rod and then twisting it all in one go however by the time i had heated the whole rod enough to bend part of it had cooled down and so by twisting it, it snapped.

I rectified this problem by only heating parts of the rod at a time and then twisting it. Although it was hard to get even it didn't matter if I made a mistake because it can just be reheated and then shaped again. 

Acrylic tests

This is my first bending test which was done with a blow torch. The acrylic was a lot easier to bend then i thought it would be as when it is heated it turns soft and can be moulded into basically anything. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Paper mock up

Now that I know roughly what I am trying to achieve I am just making a paper mock up to show roughly how it will look. 

As you can see it is a very rough sketch of how the spiral will look. 

This is the spiral cut out and pulled out. I like the aesthetics of this however it does need to have another twirl in order to look more alike to my hero model. I now plan to investigate how much 2mm acrylic can be bent which will determine whether this is an achievable model. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Initial sketches/brainstorming

Initially when trying to work out how to replicate my hero model into a physical model I was a little lost as I was unsure of the properties of acrylic and didn't know whether I would be able to bend it to the degree that I needed. However these were the first very basic sketches of my ideas.

This was just the simple shape that I wanted to make. But in order for it to look as chaotic as possible I want to make more than one and somehow attach them to get the whirling look. 

This is a rough sketch of how I would like to make my model. Basically it is 2 tornado like figures that are twisted around each other. These are held together by 2 rods running along the length of them. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Retrieved from: 

This is my first precedent image of a laser cutting which is just a laser cutting of a strip which has then been heated and twisted around. Due to the shape of my model this image jumped out at me because of the curves which I have had trouble with. 

Retrieved from: 

This precedent of a spiral laser cutting caught my eye as it is a similar shape to my hero model and gave me the inspiration for how I was going to make my final model. Like this image I will be laser cutting spirals and then heating them so that they drop down to form tornado-'esque' shapes. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

DSDN 104-Project 2

We are now beginning project 2 for Digital Creation where we have been asked to make a model based on our hero image from project 1. 

This is my hero model which I have to make a physical model of using laser cutting processes. We were told to slice up our models in 3ds max, export them to Adobe Illustrator and make a model using the stacking method. Because of the twisting nature of my model this method was not relevant to me as it could not be down. At this stage when everyone else was creating stacked models I had trouble working out how I was going to create a model with so much twisting but after talking to tutors I realised that when heated, 2mm acrylic is malleable meaning I could make spirals and pull them out to form tornado like patterns such as this one.