Category Archives: Assignments

Intimate Science: a more intimate view

intimatescience20 intimatescience19 intimatescience16 intimatescience14 intimatescience12 intimatescience10 intimatescience9 intimatescience6 intimatescience5 intimatescience4 intimatescience3 intimatescience2 intimatescience1 An experiment in growing architectural structures from Ganoderma lucid, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi. The fungus is environmentally beneficial as well as a low cost substitute for wood, etc. Ross writes, “Mushrooms digest cellulose and transform it into chitin, the same material that insect shells are made from. The bricks have the feel of a composite material with a core of spongy cross-grained pulp that becomes progressively denser towards its outer skin. The skin itself is incredibly hard, shatter resistant, and can handle enormous amounts of compression. Shaping and cutting the bricks destroyed our files, rasps and saws.”

MY BLOG for more:

d house_midterm

D house is an architecture project designed and executed by FaR Architects, a super cool architecture studio I work with in Beirut.  It’s a 2000m2 residential house in located in ‘ain el kharroube’, Lebanon.


The abstract form of the building is neat and simple. It consists of 2 overlapping rectangular volumes connected to a third rectangular volume (the guest house) by a complex steel and glass structure.

The 3D printed model is an abstract miniature model of this house that serves a display to be hung on the wall in the office.

Here’s my process:Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.24.49 PMSince I didn’t want to import drawings from CAD and explore modeling in Maya, I made a precise sketch of the basic dimensions needed to model the 3 volumes. Pretty simple!

d house modelHowever, the steel structure connecting the two volumes was more of a challenge to model in Maya without using the original 2D drawings. I tried to do it with cylinders but it was a mess and not precise. IMG_8610

So… I went back to CAD to model the structure and added a base

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Notice in the design that the proportions of the volumes in relation to the steel structure is quite large which i predicted might be a problem in 3D printing. I had to scale down the model and therefore the steel structure became too thin for printing.

I also had some problems with surfaces of the the structure that needed to be closed.

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I decided to take out the structure and print the model without it; and try to figure out a way to build the structure with another material and attach it to the 3D printed model.

I modeled an approximate topography that holds the upper volume and puts the house in context. Here is the final screenshot of the model.

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Object24 model

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Here’s a link to all the files in dropbox


The Spaewife (Working Title)

As you all probably know by now, my model initially started off being much more complex: over 100,000 polygons, multiple complex forms that would have needed to be printed separately and put together, etc.

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What I am essentially trying to make is a seductive/enchanting OBJECT or vessel that can hold speakers or some sort of sound device within its semi-hollow form, with psychedelic projections on top of it (perhaps reacting to the sound). As a fine art student, I’m keen to make this 3D print a part of my artistic practice which utilises a lot of projection/film/sculptural work in order to create a personalised universe/mythology. So, essentially, an object that can help distort the space around it and re-fabricate a new reality.

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After realising that the original idea was too complex, I redid it in a simpler shape: the Chinese gourd, a plant/water holder/mythological object that I have been absolutely obsessed with since childhood. I made the original shape with Bezier Curves in NURBs, rotated it in 3D and then converted it to polygons. From there it was a relatively simple process of extruding faces/using the SculptGeometry tool and smoothing it (once).

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The main problem started once I exported it as a .OBJ. I checked various sites like shapeways and and both were far too expensive for the size I wanted. Ideally, I want the object to be cast in transparent resin or at least some kind of translucent material, but the cost ranged into the thousands. The other problem was that some of the walls were way too thin on the tiny projections, which shapeways would attempt to help me “correct” but actually just made them look bulbous.

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Temporarily abandoning the idea of outsourcing my model, I brought it into the Parsons print people. After converting the model to a .STL file with Rhino, they checked the mesh with ZPrint and discovered what looked like a lot of holes.

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My model’s normals were also completely inverted when I viewed the model using the Makerware software so I just reversed all of those, which was easy…

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The hard bit was trying to figure out where the “holes” were: they were actually horribly deformed polygons that I needed to fix but were really hard to see in Maya so I had to keep hunting for them and going into the model to see it from the inside. I think this is one of the main problems with working liberally with the SculptGeometry tool as you have little control over it and if you’re careless, it ends up extruding everywhere, creating little Siamese twins of your vertices.


Finally, after everything was approved, I went to pay and then to actually print my model in a Makerbot. The idea was to create a smaller model with the machine and then print a much bigger, hollow version using the Objet once I tested the model for glitches. However, I think everyone in our class was using the Makerbots or something and I knew there was no way I would have access before our next class. So I took a trip to our local Makerware store and shed out some premium dollars (cry goodbye forever my beautiful money) to get a model printed in white PLA, which would apparently take about 5 hours for about 4 and a half inches (25, 000 polygons).

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 Then, when I finally got it printed and collected it, it had a billion supports. I advise all people to never try picking them off with your fingers because you’ll end up looking like you stabbed yourself accidentally with a needle. 50 times. Use pliers.

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But in the end (3 hours later…) it looked pretty much exactly like my model. I’m not really sure how I feel about it because I think I might have sold my soul at the Makerbot store but probably from here I’m going to either try printing on the Objet or buying some translucent filament and printing it again at school. YAY!


Midterm Project

I have been researching and designing speculative wearable pieces for my Major Studio 2 class. At first I attempted to model one of these designs in Maya, but had a lot of problems so I ended up sculpting it in clay – my next steps with that piece is to make a silicone mold of the model. But for the midterm, I decided to switch gears and create a different piece that was inspired by the idea of coral prosthetics. This piece is based on the scenario of a future city that is mostly submerged underwater. The coral acts an extension of the body that allows the human wearer to integrate more closely with their new aquatic environment. I chose coral for several reasons. Firstly, coral is used right now as a bone prosthetic because of its properties that allow it to integrate with the human body with no problems. Secondly, coral is endangered. This is a crisis because coral reefs make up a huge part of the ecosystem in most parts of the ocean, acting as shelter and sources of food for many other marine animals and plants.


After I finished my 3D model to be print ready, I headed to the makerbots over on 13th st. I’m not sure if anyone else encountered this, but when I got there all the machines except 1 were broken. I had to print the week before spring break because I was leaving the country so I decided to give it a whirl and see if my model would print.  After sitting there for 2 hours, the makerbot stopped working and I had to abandon any hope of finishing it there.

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My next stop was at the ARC to see if I could order the model to printed on the Objet printer. After a few tweaks here and there, the technician accepted my file and I would then have to wait a little over two weeks to finally pick up the completed model.

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Here is a pic of the makerware even though I didn’t end up printing on the Makerbot.

photo 2 photo 1And the final print (after I took the supports off- still trying to clean it totally). In the end it is still smaller than I would have liked, but the bigger it is the more expensive it is to print. Overall, I am happy with how it turned out and plan on printing more pieces that go with this one.

Drop box link:

The Spaewife II

My first model was way too complex with over 100,000 faces… smoothed one too many times, haha. And would also prove impossible to print with a million parts, so I decided to use the same sort of coral protrusions on a much simpler shape: the Chinese gourd, which has a lot of mythological connotations and is a shape/plant I am completely obsessed with.

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Modeled using NURBS > Bezier Curves > Rotate.
Then converted to polygons > face extrusions + sculptGEOMETRY tool + smoothing.

I also experimented with different colours/transparency as my ultimate model would be hollow and emit a translucent glow… perhaps consider outsourcing using transparent resin.

Midterm Project_Octopus Slide_Grace


My midterm project is to make an Octopus Slide for children to play and also their parents(or themselves) to rest.


[Modeling Progress]

I’ve been working on modeling the basic structure of this slide. Octopus has eight legs, so I want half of them to be slides and the other half of them to be seats.  I want to add acetabulum on each leg to make it more real, and also to make holes inside the octopus head so that children can climb up and slide from the top.



Now I’ve subtracted two cylinders  from the octopus’s head and make one line of acetabulum alongside one of its leg.



[Final Looks]

Now there are places for children to get into the slide, and slide down from the top.



I didn’t view it in this angle on purpose. But in this view the two holes  really look like the eyes of the octopus and this also reminds me of an octopus mask in Pirates of Caribbean II.




[3D Printing Outcome]

I thought the acetabulum would look not that smooth, but it turned out these acetabulum are too small to be measured if they are smooth or not.


I used the MakerBot at Lab 403, and waited for 5 hours 48 mins until its freshly baked.

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I thought transparent would be really cool, so I chose crystal blue. But it turns out transparency would make it so obvious to see the inside, which is very different with the solid one. I think I would try solid purple or blue later. Below is how it looks after I took off the supporting parts.


First assignment & Midterm project

So for the first project, I just tried to learn different tools in MAYA, and made this very rough human head:



About my midterm project, actually I’m doing research about the relationship between shapes and taste. I did a survey, and ask people to describe five tastes with shapes. I got about 10 replies, and I think the result are very interesting. Although there are many differences between answers, but people still using some basic geometry shapes to describe.

Taste and Shapes (Responses) - Form Responses

(I don’t know why this image is so small…)

So my idea is print this shapes out, and maybe make a sculpture of taste.


This may be the spicy in my mind.

I haven’t finish modeling all shapes, but the concept just similar.





d house – midterm

I am working on a miniture (figurine like) abstract model for a house, an architecture project i worked on in Beirut, currently under construction.  (by
I am trying to be as precise as possible since i am not extruding from the original plans. I am having a little bit of trouble with the steel structure that links the main bigger volume to the guest house.

I also plan to add some detail to the top volume to show the copper facade divisions.

Here’s a screenshot of the progress

d house modelAnd here’s d house!


here are some updates of the central structure…

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Melanie – Midterm progress

For my midterm project, I am interested in modelling and print different sort of joints as part of my Major Studio project. For my Major Studio project I am researching 3D action figures. One of the first steps is to discover joints and hooch much distance should be there between two moving parts, like clearing distance.

As for my Material Spectrum assignment, I thought about an army of joints, like little characters they look funny but have a specific research purpose for me.

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Midterm Project

For my project, I am interested in modeling some prototypes that correlate with my Major Studio work. I am creating a series of prosthetics that are meant to function in aquatic environments. The one I began trying to model in maya is a nose prosthetic that is inspired by the star nosed mole. It’s purpose would be to allow one to smell underwater. I am interested in exploring the best way to prototype these objects so I will be experimenting with both 3D printing and model making with clay. Later in the semester I hope to incorporate biomaterials.

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After not being able to control the model as much as I would have liked to create this object – I ended up modeling it in clay instead. I might make a mold out of it and make a silicone model of it next.

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As for 3D printing, I started on another piece that is part of my studio work that is wearable object (in this case- shoulder pads) that is modeled after a coral reef. This was much easier for me for some reason, however, I’m not sure at this point if it will print properly or not. (The head is just a reference- the wearable piece is just the shoulder pads.)

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