Remixing Rodin’s Sculpture (Part Two)

Our local partner organization, the Portland 3D Printing Lab, contributed this post.

The Portland Art Museum worked with the Portland 3D Printing Lab to create 3D printed plastic Rodin sculptures for Rodin Remix, the hands-on space that supports the exhibition Rodin: The Human Experience. The goal of Rodin Remix was the subject of the last post; this one will describe the work that went into producing just under 30 3D prints of Rodin’s sculptures.

I’m Shashi Jain, Organizer of the Portland 3D Printing Lab, a community of around 1100 “Layer Geeks” who love 3D printing and its many applications. We were asked by the Portland Art Museum to 3D print versions of Rodin’s sculptures for Rodin: The Human Experience, so that patrons could interact with the artist’s forms. The project has three pieces:

  1. 3D models of 3 of Rodin’s male figures, which can be posed or reassembled into your own piece (Instagram gallery here).
  2. 3D scans of 10 pieces from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections, available here.
  3. 3D printed replicas of 15 Rodin pieces.

Over thirty volunteers stepped up. Here’s what it was like in their own words.

3D Models by Maz and Attero

Maz and Attero |

We designed the posable Rodin figures. The trickiest part was figuring out the posing mechanism. It had to be fun, while balancing durability, ease of use, and safety. We initially thought of Lego studs or ball joints, but settled on a combination of magnets and washers.

The 18-hour design process went like this:

  1. We took the 3D model files (STLs) of Rodin’s sculptures and converted them with Autodesk ReMake into Object/CAD files that can be easily manipulated.
  2. We scaled all the models to a similar size with Autodesk Fusion 360, so that attaching parts from one sculpture to another would have the right proportions.
  3. We cut the scaled models into interchangeable sections called fragments.
  4. Next, cavities were added for magnets in the limb/head fragments and for metal washers in the torsos. We included enough space to fit the metal/magnets, plus the glue to hold them in.
  5. Last, we output the fragment models to STLs that could be easily printed by volunteers.

Maz and Attero enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the problem solving and 3D design of another amazing community 3D printing project.

3D Scanning by Adam McGee, Portland 3D LLC

Adam McGee |  Portland 3D LLC |

For this job, I used an iPad equipped with the Structure Sensor from Occipital Labs. Together, they form a powerful 3D camera system that can record the shape and look/feel of almost anything. At the museum, I used an app called Structure Scanner to record each piece at all angles. It was tough to get fine details without touching the statues. I had to be careful to minimize “artifacts” – unwanted scans of display cases, tools, and people. I used Autodesk Meshmixer to fill holes in the scans, clean out artifacts, and size the models.

I invite you to have fun with the scanned models; 3D print them for yourself or a friend so you too can be a part of the maker movement.

3D Printing by Portland 3D Printing Lab

Matt Liepold | Designer and Social Media |

RodinRemix is the second “crowdprinting” project done by our group. We had to distribute 29 pieces for printing – 23 replicas of Rodin sculptures, 3 remixable figures, and 3 backups for spare parts. In total, we printed 56 pieces over 620 3D printer hours, and using 25kg of plastic (locally sourced at Proto-Pasta) over three months.

We used a spreadsheet to coordinate printing and to collect statistics. Maz and Attero would load files onto a shared drive, then we’d add links in the spreadsheet. Volunteers would add their name by the file based on their print capabilities (size, color, finish). This way, no one would duplicate prints and we could track the statues easily.

After many hours printing, designing, scanning, and organizing, members of the Portland 3D Printing Lab made the Rodin Remix project a reality, for which the Portland Art Museum is very grateful. Visitors enjoy the hands-on interaction with Rodin’s sculptural forms and the opportunity to make their own sculpture by mixing and matching the magnetic Rodin fragments. For more information about the Portland 3D Printing Lab and their future projects, visit their website