I am a big fan of Daniel Rozin’s art, and while looking at his Wooden Mirror (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZysu9QcceM) I though it might be fun to see if I could make static images using a similar visual technique. In the Wooden Mirror, Rozin assembled 835 little wooden tiles onto 835 little servo motors. Using a video camera a computer translates what it see into rotations for the servos. Each wooden tile essentially becomes a pixel in the larger image. The wooden tile can be tilted up to catch the light and become white or can be tilted down become black by being shadowed. I figured I could make a static image by creating solid geometric model on the computer and 3d printing it. Here is how I went about it.
In the past I probably would have chosen to do this project in a stand alone c++ or c# app. This time around, I decided to write a python script for Blender which is a great open source 3d creation tool that is cross platform compatible. I decided to go this route because it meant that while testing the geometry I could quickly simulate real world lighting on the object and see if this would actually work the way I thought it would. Also, in the end I wanted to be able to 3d print the object so having Blender’s export capabilities available is nice. As an added bonus the code is nice and portable between operating systems and you don’t have to deal with getting a project setup and linking properly (which I always find to be very bloody painful)
The code is pretty simple and consists of just a few steps: Loop across the pixels in the image to create column paths, extrude path to get some depth, then convert the paths to meshes and join them into one big happy mesh.
To get started here is the function that I pieced together that takes in a list of points and creates a solid shape….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
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