• Robert Buehler

Digital Fabrication: "Unwrapping a 3D Form"


  1. I began the project with a closed curve describing the Emerald Flycatcher's profile (without the beak) and a closed curve describing the outline of what would be the bird's frontal view. If you were to view these to intersecting curves from the top, they would appear as an "X", meeting at the top of the head and the end of the tail.

  2. Using the loft tool, I created an enclosed surface from these outlining curves.

  3. Once I was satisfied with the general surface, I used the cone tool to create a beak, but decided this would make the unrolling aspect of the project more difficult. A beak added post-reconstruction would be more practical, and this would also allow me to create variations if I decided to use this general form again in the future.

  4. I created five planes rotated about the long axis of the form to divide the bird's surface into ten separate strips.

  5. Once the surface was split into seven strips, I was able to unwrap the form onto the horizontal plane.

  6. I arranged the panels of the form in an array, which looked something like two splayed wings. My intention was to connect the strips at the head to make reassembly a bit more easy, but the more extreme contours at certain places on the form did not really allow for this. The arrangement stayed, for keeping things organized, but the pieces were not connected. This was actually a good thing, as I would later find out, after several trials, that I had arranged them incorrectly.

  7. I cut the pattern into several different types of paper - a heavyweight watercolor paper painted in black gesso and clear medium, a few plain sheets of watercolor paper, and a thin green washi-type/fibrous paper.

  8. Once I had my parts and pieces, I began trials with the heavyweight watercolor paper. I figured the best way to go about constructing the form would be to tape the edges of two strips together with masking tape on the exterior, and paint the joining contours with wood glue on what would be the interior. Unfortunately, the paper and the wood glue seam were too rigid, and I could not correct the tight angles when I tried to assemble all of the parts that were already glued. Additionally, I assembled the pieces incorrectly, as aforementioned.

  9. The watercolor paper trials were a bust so I set them aside and tried for the washiest paper. This paper is extremely flexible and formable, but for this reason it does not hold form very well. To assemble these parts, I essentially had to create masking tape ribs which connected the seams, and also crossed them.

  10. I built a long beak by rolling masking tape with the adhesive side out, then covering the surface in the same fibrous paper. I then sealed it with a darker paint. This was affixed to the form with wood glue.

  11. Once all components were solid and in place, I applied a kitschy pattern in watercolor and gouache with a very small brush.



0 views