Thursday, November 15, 2012

Andrew Simons: Pepakura Final

For my final project the first step was to model my sculpture in maya using polygons. I started with a five sided pyramid, mirrored the geometry, then repeatedly extruded faces to create the ribbing and the thrusters. I then exported the model as a .obj.
Next I needed to unfold the geometry of the .obj file into a two-dimensional plane using Pepakura. This involved telling the program which edges of the model it should cut along to flatten  the shape, making sure that none of the pieces overlapped. Then I re-colored the lines to match the scheme that the laser cutter uses. When that was done, I printed the unfolded geometry to a .pdf file using at a 48"x48" format.

Next, I brought the .pdf into Illustrator to separate the cut lines, fold lines, and numbers into different layers. This is easier to do in Illustrator than in Rhino, as the prior has better tools for selecting lines of the same color. Then it's just a simple matter of exporting this as a .dwg, importing it to Rhino, and tweaking the properties of the layers and their objects so that all the outer cuts are magenta, the fold and inner cut lines are blue, and that the numbers are exploded into lines and red. Export as a .dwg (R12 lines and arcs) and it's ready for the laser cutter.

For the sake of time, I ended up using hot glue as my adhesive. I started out folding the pieces that make the thrusters and gluing them together. Once they were assembled I connected them with the ribbing pieces to make a full loop.Then I simply built the loops off in both directs to get the closed model.
Once it was fully assembled, I needed to paint over the perforations with white Gesso to fill them in. The Gesso also served as a base for the spray paint I would apply later.
To keep the different colors of spray paint from overlapping too much, I had paint one color at a time and put masking tape over the areas I wanted to keep that color before moving onto the next color. In this case, I painted the red spots, taped them, painted the white spots, taped them, and then painted the rest of it grey.
Finally, I removed the tape and put the finished sculpture on display.

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