Valentine's day, valentine's day... valentine's day.
The people who organise the now famous "3DPrintShow" didn't think of people like me when they decided the date for their first exhibition in New-York City : February 12 to 15...
It took me a while to realise that, as a Paris based exhibitor and speaker of the show, I wouldn't be with my beloved girlfirend for the 14th. So, I decided that this year's Valentine's day would be early... at least for us.
One great Valentine's day present (that can be enjoyed by both the boy and the girl) is "lingerie". Paris is the heaven of beautiful lingery with famous french brands such has Aubade and Chantal Thomas. You would be surprised by how much these small pieces of material can cost. The only real problem is that you are not allowed to make a mistake on the size. It would send the wrong message...
I found one way to avoid this puzzle : 3D Printed lingery from a 3D scan!
Here is a step by step project on how to create the most personal Valentin's day present for your girlfriend, using your 3D printer.
Step 1: Get a 3D file of her body
This is probably the most tricky part because you have to find an excuse to "scan" her without letting her think that you are up to something exciting (like creating her own personnal piece of lingery).
Just say that you wan't to print a miniature statue of her for your desk, or something that doesn't sound silly. Miniatures are also a cool gift, but it's starting to lack originality. Nowadays, anyone can get a hand on a 3D scanner for less than 300 dollars. Here is the one I used : Asus Xtion Pro Live, with Skanect as a capture software and Autodesk Meshmixer to clean the file.
If you want, you can download the handle I designed to fit my scanner on a Manfrotto Tripod here : http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:212185
Try to get a good resolution from her neck to her hips. This is what you'll need. If she can wear light and skin-tight clothes, it will make your job easier. You can also go for the "Venus" type of statue...
Once you got the scan, do what you told her and print the miniature.
Now that she has no suspicion about your project, the real work begins.
Import the .stl or .obj file into meshmixer and keep only what you need. Try not to deform the model since it has to stay close to reality for your corset to fit perfectly. Smooth the file if it seems a little bit rough and export it again as .stl
Most 3D modelling software will allow you to import a mesh file. You just won't be able to edit it. One thing you have to check carefully is the scale. Sometimes, the STL file will import with the wrong unit, so you have to make sure that 1mm = 1mm and nothing else.
VERY IMPORTANT, or you might have a bad surprise at the end of the project.
Step 2: Design the shape
The first thing you'll have to create is the overall shape of the corset. You can get inspired by Google image...
Once you got an outline that you like, it's time to start 3D modelling.
Import the scan and create a "loft " function that covers the body.
To do so, you should determine the top and bottom of the object and draw the outlines of the scan. You should have at least 3 drawings around the torso and as many as you need for the verticals. Don't hesitate to use the symetry tool.
Create a skin or a volume between these boundaries.
Now, shape the side view by removing the extra material.
(There is some more professionnal ways to create this skin, but this one can be done in the most basic 3D software.)
Step 3: Chose a texture or "textile"
You don't want the corset to look like a body cast or a plaster mold. For that, you'll need to make it sofisticated. I got my inspiration from one of my previous project, the Dentelle lamps : http://www.wired.com/design/2012/12/ikea-lamp-reprint/
You should print many front views of the file you just designed and use them as canvas to find the perfect pattern.
You should also choose the colour you will use be using for the print, since it will affect the result.
I went for diamond holes covering the Muse corset. One of the reason I choose this shape is that it can easily be printed without support by the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer.
Step 4: Cut and print
You will have to cut the 3D file so that each part fits in your machine.
I printed the Muse corset in only 4 parts.
I have an other design ready that will use only 3 parts. Once I receive my MakerBot Z18, they will all be printed in one single shot :)
I used epoxy glue to assemble the top and bottom parts, using some tape to hold everything together while it cured. Once the epoxy is hard, you might need a cutter and some sandpaper to clean any excess.
All you need now is to find a nice ribbon or lace to close the corset.
Step 5: Photoshoot!
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Now that you are a hero, make this moment immortal!
Make her feel like the most beautiful woman in the universe.
The STL files for the Muse Corset can be downloaded on Thingiverse. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:245461
But I suggest that you design your own since it's a perfect fit for one particular person. It would probably be very unconfortable on anyone else ;)
Enjoy and happy Valentine's day!