MYTH: MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers can only make things up to a certain size. BUSTED
MYTH: MakerBot PLA Filament is harder to finish than ABS filament. BUSTED
MYTH: The quality of pieces made on a MakerBot are great, but they’re not, like, museum-quality great. BUSTED
Cosmo Wenman is a (slightly elusive) artist in California who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made. The horse head and human bust you see above were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator. We believe so strongly in the potential of the renewable bioplastic PLA that we optimized the new MakerBot Replicator 2 for that material.
These pieces were in-house at MakerBot HQ for a couple days before they were swept off to London to be displayed in our booth at the 3D Printshow, and the reactions by staff ranged from “whoa,” to “no, really, how was this made?” The simplicity of the answer may be the most impressive part.
Cosmo captured the original ancient sculptures, the marble “Head of a horse of Selene from the east pediment of the Parthenon” (Acropolis, Athens, 438-432 BC) and “Portrait of Alexander the Great” (Hellenistic Greek, 2nd-1st century BC), using digital photography and Autodesk 123D Catch (free). You may remember his work at the Getty Museum using the same process that got him some buzz back in June. These scans were cleaned up and turned into 3D-printable models using the programs Blender (free) and Netfabb Studio Basic (also free).
Since Cosmo aimed to make the pieces true-to-life and not scaled down, he had to slice them up into multiple pieces. This awesome photo shows the 29 unfinished blocks of the horse head before Cosmo went to work fusing them and adding the incredible bronze patina finish seen above.
Here’s a shot of Bre holding the sculpture in our office to give you an idea of just how large “life-size” really is.
The next picture shows a similar blank of the Alexander the Great portrait, followed by a gallery shot of three different finishes Cosmo tried out on this piece. I can speak for MakerBot staff in saying that these sculptures are incredibly authentic looking and feeling, which caused several people in the office to wonder why we had them. “Are we going to scan these and make them on a MakerBot?” No, no, we explained. These were already made on a MakerBot.
Take a minute to read the descriptions of each of these pieces over at Thingiverse. Cosmo takes great time to explain the motivations for his uploads and his appreciation for the sculptures themselves. Here’s an excerpt.
I imagine a Greek guy walking around 2,000 years ago with acamera obscura with some kind of light sensitive papyrus inside, trying to raise funds to get his light enscribing machine into mass production. Alas, there was no Kickstarter back then.
Or, maybe the artist and horse in bright sunlight, the artist covering his eyes. The horse’s handler startles it into motion, and the artist opens his eyes for an instant, closes them again, then draws quickly with his eyes shut while the image fades in his retinas – the lens, film, and darkroom being his eyes… I dunno – either that or weeks of careful study, scores of sketches of impressions of a horse in motion, composited into this exacting model. But that doesn’t sound like as much fun.
What’s funny here is that Cosmo is trying to figure out what great ingenuity and creativity must have led to the stunning original sculpture thousands of years ago, and all of us are doing the same thing for Cosmo’s work in 2012. MakerBot is proud to display work from this forward-thinking artist and creative explorer.
You can follow Cosmo on twitter, Thingiverse, and at www.cosmowenman.com.