NYU | Tisch School | ITP  
    MPS Candidate-2007  
    Fabricating Information  

Isosurf to Rapid Prototyping Fabrication


The assignment for this first project is to learn how to create a 3-dimensional structure by layering cross sections of images using the open source application Isosurf. Basically, you create RAW grayscale images in Photoshop, and they are the cross section layers of your object/structure. You can tweak the structure by using Gaussian Blur or other filters, which would strengthen any traces.

I trasnlated a video into a 3-dimensional structure. I used a video that I taped of the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles, which is one of Los Angeles' historical architectural landmarks, and was the site of the film Blade Runner. I mirrored it several times to create various kaleidoscopic patterns.

From these experimental videos, I dropped several sequences and segments and exported the JPEG images as 200x200 pixels RAW and grayscale images.

In terminal, converted 60 to 100 frames and compiled them in Isosurf, which outputed a .wrl file format using a script, written by James N. Sears (createnumbers.sh changes the file format of names and the number of frames can be tweaked by changing the values of i) and the guys from Proxyarch (render.sh renders the file that converts the blacks, grays and whites to x, y, and z coordinates). Both files need to be tweaked according to the name of your set of RAW files, your IP address, the directory of the folder your images are in, the number of cross sections, how dense you want your cross sections aligned, etc.

In a 3D program, the .wrl file is converted into a .stl file, and sent to a rapid prototyping printer.

Here are several structures compiled with Isosurf, which can be seen in an open source application called Blender. What was really interesting about this project was that the patterns for each frame of the video is symmetrical, yet the 3-dimensional structure that it was translated to seemed the opposite. I experimented with several iterations to make the structure fit in a cubic form.