Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Rapid Prototyping in public

Russell Anderson, renown Brisbane artist and designer, has an enormous repertoire of work including public art, streetscapes and conceptual artworks.

RapidPro has worked with Russell on several projects, from making marquettes (miniatures of proposed works for grant applications, etc) to patterns for sand casting and vacuum casting, such as the yellow ends on the Sand Worm at Fitzgibbon Playground in Brisbane.

The pattern for the plaque which is mounted with this Public Artwork was made using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) in the RedEye On Demand Build Centre in Australia. The largest FDM Build Centre in the Southern Hemisphere. The pattern was 550mm in diameter and was ordered, built and shipped to Russell within 48 hours.

RedEye Australasia undoubtedly offers fast and cost efficient rapid prototyping solution. For your instant online quote go to http://www.redeyerpm.com.au/.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rapid Prototyping shares a flair for the dramatic

Rapid prototyping is often used to create the framework for artists to build upon. This ensures an exact replica of the digital design, as well as saving the artists a great deal of time on elements which are not actually viewed.

For Patricia Piccinini of Drome, we built several elements for her artwork entitled "Strength of One Arm".

The neck, elbow and knees were created using Fused Deposition Modelling. As these parts needed to be strong and lightweight, sparse filled ABS was chosen. This also helped to reduce costs.

The head, feet and hands were built using 3D printing on ZCorp creating a plaster/epoxy prototype which provided the ideal surface for hand finishing.

The finished piece stood approximately one meter tall.

Our role in a finished art work, such as this, is quite minor, especially when you consider the artists vision and expertise. We only build the file they provide, and ultimately they still use their skill to make their vision into a reality ... but it is wonderful to be involved in the process, even if it is only in a very minor way.

To view more of Patricia's art, go to http://www.patriciapiccinini.net.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Rapid Prototyping comes to life

You may be familiar with the zoetrope used in the Spring Valley campaign using junk that comes together at night, or the soccer inspired zoetrope used by Sony Bravia featuring FIFA world player of the year Kaka - So what is a zoetrope?

It is a 19th century device used to create short films from a series of static images or sculptures. Essentially, it is a living wheel. The wheel spins in a circle and the result is a moving picture.

RapidPro recently worked with Megafun and Krome Studios to build the characters for their TY the Tasmanian TigerTM zoetrope.

From Concept to Model

3D CAD drawings of each of the characters were supplied to RapidPro; however, it was not as simple as just building the models. Several prototyping materials were tested to see which material would suit the sculptures requirements for colour and strength.

After several trials, plaster was selected and instead of printing each character in monocolour, they were printed in full technicolour. Some design modifications of each character were necessary for strength and durability, as well as colour modifications to ensure vibrancy.

RapidPro worked with John Aitchison from Krome Studios to ensure that the zoetrope was as colourful and exciting as their preliminary sketches.

Traditional methods for infiltrating and strengthening plaster prototypes were not acceptable due to the intricacy of the characters, so RapidPro devised a new method to ensure the parts were strong and the finish flawless.


The TY zoetrope contains seven different characters from the video game of the same name. Each of these characters has from 17 to 32 slight variations to simulate movement once fixed into position on the moving zoetrope. The individual characters vary marginally as they move around the wheel, and once the wheel is set in motion, the effect is illuminating.

Rapid prototypes can be used as models to show a product or part, they can be used for testing (form, fit, function), and they can be used also be used as a functioning part or prototype, just like the characters on the zoetrope.

For more information contact Rapidpro on 1300 559 454.


Rapid Prototyping imitates real life

Creating a museum model of a lifelike crocodile involves a great deal of skill and the request from reknown exhibition preparator, taxidermist and model maker Ewin Wood, required a lot more ingenuity than most.

Ewin already had a skull of the Gharial crocodile; however, it was too large for the intended display case. He needed the skull to be scaled down and accurately reproduced so that they could replicate a body that would allow the entire specimen to be displayed in a three meter long glass case.

Exhibitions of this caliber are prized for their accuracy and authenticity, so it was paramount that every detail be exact, even in a smaller reproduction specimen.

RapidPro was employed to recreate the Gharial skull. For this to be as accurate as possible, RapidPro contacted ScanXpress who were able to create detailed CAD files by scanning the actual crocodile skull.

The CAD files were then passed on to RapidPro for scaling and building. Once the skull was resized to accommodate the display case requirements, the skull model was built from plaster/epoxy for ease of finishing and authenticity. The skull was then sent to Ewin Wood for finishing.

The result is a lifelike model of the Gharial crocodile, currently on display at Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin as part of The World of Crocodile Exhibit.

Rapid Prototyping comes to the movies

Rapid Prototyping has changed the way that movies are made. Objet has found a niche market, where big name movies including Iron Man 2, Avatar and Coraline have all required Objet Rapid Prototyping during the development phase of filming.

Legacy Effects is a special effects company employed to produce many of the pieces for Iron Man 2 and Avatar. It all starts with concept artists creating 3D images which are turned into CAD files which are then built using rapid protoyping techniques such as Objet printing. This technique is used to build models from scaled down maquettes, to full size parts.

The development process has been accelerated with the help of rapid prototyping techniques. First used in the production of Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, 3D printing has since come into its own in the world of special effects.

For Iron Man 2 the team looked to Objet for its rapid production capabilities, taking on a range of printers, including an Eden printer as used at RapidPro, to make sure the action-packed movie was never short of parts that were subjected to some extreme conditions on set.

Avatar also used Objet printing. A spokesperson for Objet Geometrics said: “For Avatar, James Cameron relied on Objet-created models to plan how his characters fit in Pandora’s lush environment. With 3D printing, the production company Legacy Effects made detailed figurines of each blue-skinned humanoid to test lighting for every camera shot in the movie. The company also used the technology to create a Transformer-like, walking battle armor complete with cockpit.”

Objet also provided technology to another film – Coraline, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature. LAIKA productions turned to Objet in the creation of “thousands of models ranging from cars to door knobs and food spreads”. Objet technology also allowed the character Coraline to display more than 208,000 facial expressions – considered as a break through of sorts in stop-motion animation.

If Rapid Prototyping and Objet printing can do all this at the movies, imagine what it could do for your business!

For enquiries regarding Objet printing and Rapid Prototyping, contact RapidPro on 1300 559 454.

The Art of Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping is a very popular technique with artists because it can provide:

1. An exact replica of digital 3D works for form study

2. A miniature (marquette) of sculptures to scale to seek grants for major works

3. A framework or basis for developing artwork on

Some of the pieces we have worked on have included museum specimens, artworks for parks and public open space, gallery works and even a fully operational zoetrope.

We will post further details of these projects in the coming weeks, but to show you what's coming up ...