Guest blogger, Dan Porter is a 3D printing enthusiast and Burlington Mini Maker Faire Alum, who has been a strong supporter of Alamance Makers Guild until opportunity took him to San Francisco. His new office overlooks the San Francisco Bay, as he works as a 3D Printing Engineer at AutoDesk, the owner of DIY site Instructables. Dan's last adventure in 3D printing before heading west was DanHoven, a realistic 3D model of his head joined to Bethoven's bust.
New York City, Home to Makerbot
While in New York for World Maker Faire, I made it a point to visit Makerbot, one of the first companies to put its focus on 3D printers the average person could afford. When we arrived at the small storefront, I felt just like when I went to Toys 'R' Us as a kid to plot my monumental wish list for Santa.
I soared through the store soaking in all of the moving parts of printers, the eccentric colors of their filament, and the novel gizmos and bobbles they printed. And it was all for sale.
Then I spotted the coup de grâce. It was their 3D scanner and for only $5 I could get 3 professionally scanned 3D models of my head! The scanner whizzed around me, and collected data as I sat still, looking forward. On each of the three passes, I contorted my face a different way — stoic, smiling, snickering. The scans were uploaded and waiting for retrieval on my Thingiverse account.
From 3D Scan to Bust
I knew I wanted to print a bust of myself, and wearing a t-shirt during the bust scan did not convey the grandeur I was looking for. Stuck with this puzzle for a month or so, I stumbled across the missing piece — a program called MeshMixer, a free software by Autodesk. It allows you to easily merge 3D files together and apply small corrections like sculptor would to clay. It's an extremely useful piece of software and exactly what I needed to move forward.
I searched Thingiverse for historic busts that had been 3D scanned by other folks, and was surprised to find very few examples. One however was a definite gem and inspired me to push on. It was a bust of Beethoven by TheNewHobbyist. The rest became rather simple. I loaded the 3D scan of my head into Mesh Mixer with the 3D file of Beethoven's bust, deleted Beethoven 's head, and then merged my head onto his shoulders thus giving myself some very dapper attire!
A 4" model of my bust would sit nicely on my desk, so I scaled it down and exported the STL file to a USB stick. I was now ready to 3D print my model. The printer I used was designed and produced by Fusion 3 Designs in Greensboro, NC. The only steps left now we're to put a little Elmer's glue in the print bed to hold it in place and press the big Go button.
You can see the results. DanHoven is currently sitting on my work desk where I hope to trick passers-by that I have an actual historic bust on my desk like a real sophisticated person.
There are two steps I'd like to take next to further the project. First, I'd like to edit the Beethoven base of the model to be a little smoother so that it will match my head in appearance better. And second, I'd like to try painting the bust to look like actual stone, therefore upping my pretend classiness.