Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PaulDerrico_final_Almost Bench

For my final project, I used serial lamination and laser cutting to create a small bench.  I wanted the piece to be an abstraction of the serial lamination process.  This gives the end user a sense of what the sculptor is going through during serial lamination, like a snapshot of the work-in-progress.

I did a few versions in Rhino before settling on the final one.  I was able to recreate the sliced effect in Rhino by contouring the piece, creating surfaces from the contours, and then extruding those surfaces by the thickness of the material (1/2" ply).  This created the same look the bench would have after glue-up and before shaping.  I did this because I wasn't sure if I was going to shape it just yet, and I wanted to do a couple of renders before deciding.

The renders were done in Keyshot.  I had to create a plywood texture from an image I found online.  It was troublesome at first getting the scale and placement of it just right.

I then transferred the contours manually into layout lines for laser cutting.  It would have been nice to use a grasshopper script, but the small section pieces in between the slats bugged it out.  Plus, I already had all the contour lines anyway.  I was able to fit them onto 5 4'x4' pieces of ply.

As these were getting cut out, I stacked them together.  I was pretty impatient to see how this would go.  I had to run multiple registration holes for each 'corner' of the piece so that I could keep everything aligned between bigger pieces and smaller pieces.

Here is the glue-up stage, which is always the most fun (sarcasm).  Prior to gluing, I did run the interior edges of all the pieces around the oscillating spindle sander.  This would make the clean up easier once everything is together.  You can see the burnt edges on the outside and the clean edges on the inside in the photo below.

After everything was settled and glued, I had to make a decision on whether or not to shape this bench so that it had a smooth transitional surface, or leave it stepped.  I think I secretly always knew it was going to get shaped and smoothed, I just didn't want to admit to myself how much work that would be.  Below is just a small portion of the amount of shaping and sanding I did.  All-in-all there's at least 14 hours of shaping and sanding on this piece.

To finish everything off, I put several layers of lacquer in every nook and cranny.  Sanding up to higher grit and reapplying, the piece has a nice smooth finish.  The Almost Bench came out fantastic.  I think it was successful at giving off the spirit of serial lamination processes.  It gives the viewer the sense of a moment in time for a sculptor at work.

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