The Beginning of Pirated Objects

Posted: April 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 3 Comments »


As part of my Advanced Digital Imaging coursework, I’ve been working a lot with 3d modeling and rendering.  Part of this involves working intensely with Google SketchUp Pro 7, which is at once an amazing and frustrating application.



Frustrating in that the interface is cumbersome but amazing in that it’s open-source and tons of people in the 3d community have built plug-ins for it ($) which extend the reaches of SketchUp into the realms of Maya-quality photo-realistic renders and also into the world of rapid prototyping, or 3D printing.



Working from a photo on Google image search of a 1986 Mac Plus, I created a 3d model on SketchUp of the computer.  Then, with the help of a plugin from Cadspan, I formatted the geometry for 3D printing at NYDesigns, an awesome place subsided by CUNY, (or SUNY, not sure) that RP’s on the cheap.  Their printer, Scorpion brand I believe, creates three dimensional objects by laying down a pre-programmed aggregation of “support material” a brittle, soluble polymer which supports the final, outer layer of softer, white plastic which is “built” on top of it, layer by layer, each with a separate z-axis print head until the model is complete.  At this point, the model is dipped in a solvent (or something) with dissolves the support material, leaving you with a white, weirdly organic looking, and fairly accurate 3d construction of your virtual model.

What are the implications for this totally crucial technology, especially as 3d printers expand their repertoire of materials and color.  Will we soon be able to merely buy the 3D geometry of our material desires online and output to our home RP devices?  In this event, one must presume there would be some kind of Pirate Bay for objects, imagine pirating a Eames chair or even complex electronics.  The economic ramifications of this situation would be far-reaching indeed…think what the Replicator did for Earth on Star Trek! Click on the picture below to download my SketchUp model for you own use!

3 Comments on “The Beginning of Pirated Objects”

  1. 1 jean c. said at 11:55 pm on April 29th, 2009:

    hmm, it’s interesting to know that even the Pro version of google sketchup has a cumbersome interface! I think the questions of interface, and the reciprocal relationship between real world & virtual object, will be crucial to the development and accessibility of computer-made 3d objects. the people who are into secondlife are all over this shit, try getting one of them started talking about it… if you dare…!

    if you’ve been spending time with Sketchup you might really like this short movie. the plot is kind of “meh”, but it puts forward an interface for 3D construction that is very fictional, but very, very lovely.

  2. 2 jacob said at 11:37 am on April 30th, 2009:

    hey adam, i’m not going to say that the model looks weak, because maybe it’s just the webcam– but i can’t see the hole the paper clip goes in. that’s the best part!

    also, a marketplace for object designs already exists at this laser-cut on demand place: .

  3. 3 adamryder said at 4:00 pm on May 3rd, 2009:

    Jake…great to hear from you! You know what sucks, is that there is actually a little hole on the original model, but it had to be scaled down for cost reasons (the school paid for the printing) and when this happened, a lot of the finer details. like the little lines on the bottom part of the computer and the hole next to the disk drive, got lost. I’ve been to ponoko, that site is awesome. Laser-cut is the way to go…I have a laser-cut mobile I’m assembling this summer that I will post on here at some point. I’m planning to put little laser-etched “screen” into the RP’ed model, followed by a little LED so it’ll light up and stuff!

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