Digital Bodies#

Conceptual Form + Implications#

As we immerse ourselves into the coming of the fourth industrial revolution - where domains of technology, biology and physical forms are fusing and intermixing at a greater rate than ever before - we have to reasses traditional ways of experiencing the physical as an absolute form.

When contemplating the implications of the concept of singularity between these spheres, we must be increasingly critical of design for the sake of design. It is crutial to address through design, in our age of mass consumption, desire for unattainable material gains and power and the rise of dangerous self-fanaticism, elemental issues such as: the continous use of non-degradable materials (plastics), bio-ethics(the necessity for local, empathetic design), decolonization of the body (gender, ethnicity, form).

Reflections + Objective:#

Using the human form as a medium of reflection within the fashion industry to address some of these issues, I will construct an abstract mannequin form taking my own body as a starting point.

Using a seated meditation position the lotus or padma, as a visual interpretation of the beauty of nature and natural form and the expanding of consciousness through mindful practices, in this case bio-empathetic practices within design.

To achieve this sculptural human form I will:

  • Model a 3D human form using my measurements as guidelines.
  • Use Slicer Fusion to make abstract 2D planes.
  • Laser cut using degradable materials (4mm corrugated cardboard - in the case of this prototype, it is store bought, but it is preferable if it is re-purposed).
  • Test out possibility of using mycellium to mycoform a copy of the mannequin (TBC).


Article: Old Media, Digitized, Make New Forms
Body Decolonization + Wearables E-Cuerpo
Fashion-Art Mannequin Forms Ralph Pucci

Techiques + Softwares#

3D Scanning: Kinect + Skanet#

Kinect is a 3D web-cam style sensor for Xbox360, easily hackable to produce 3D scans using open source software Skanect.

Although I did not use this method to create my mannequin, it is more detailed and texturally realistic and would be more appropriate for a 3D printed mannequin (using bio-resins or bio-plastics).

I did however, use this method to create a 3D version of myself standing as well as sitting in the lotus position which turned out like this:

Note #1: Make sure to scan around several times in various angles, pay special attention to areas where the mesh tends to stay open, i.e. the top of th head and to your bottom (undercut).
Note #2: If you choose to use this option you must make sure you use the commands to delete small pieces and make the model watertight (meaning: mesh has no holes, voids or non-conforming triangles, if you were to fill the model with water nothing would leak out).

Here is a short Youtube tutorial of how to use this method to create 3D forms of your own:

Useful Open Source 3D Modeling Softwares:#

Once you export the file to OBJ or STL formats you may choose to use a software to clean up your mesh model, here are a few options:

Blender : modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, game creation.
MeshMixer : working with triangles and meshes.
MeshLab : processing and editing 3D triangular meshes.
NetFab : auto-reapair of 3D mesh model.
Sculptris : digital sculpting application, detailing, rendering and mesh integration (malleable).
Solidworks : parametric 3D CAD design

Tutorial: Lotus Mannequin (Prototype)#


For the purposes of this tutorial, you will need to download the following software if you do not currently have access to it:

Rhino3D Note: Rhino is not a free software, however there is a free 90 day trial.
Slicer Fusion360


I chose MakeHuman for my mannequin form as it is a 3D modeling software which allows you to customize and animate your human form and leaves a smooth mesh to work with for printing and laser cutting.

After downloading the software:

1. Choose your figure (you can customize gender, ethnicity, height, weight, facial expressions and poses).
2. To make a close replica of your own, insert your body measurements under the measure tab (the program will give you a visual of where to take the measurement).
3. Finding and downloading the “Lotus” pose for your human form (I used the following video to guide me through the process).
Note: I tried saving all 3 formats of the file in a separate folder with no success, then I saved the 3 formats of the file only under the poses folder and had success opening it on the program.

4. To finish, I exported the file (option under save tab) in “wavefront” OBJ and “stereolithography” STL formats.


1. Import OBJ file:

  • Open Rhino and choose your scale (i.e. mm, cm, inches)
  • It will open as a mesh
  • Under the viewport tab choose to render or shade
  • Double check watertight mesh: command: SelectShow Edges → Naked Edges (use command “FillHoles” to repair open/naked edges)
  • Convert your mesh to a polysurface (NURBS) model: command: MeshToNURB (you will have a wider variety of commands using NURBS rather than a mesh model)
  • Choose the maximum amount of triangles if you want a more detailed/textured model (this will however make the file heavier)

2. Split limbs:

  • You can split limbs from a mesh but it is easier to work with NURBS.
  • Make a box and encompass the head circumference to split the head
  • Make a line and extrude it to a flat surface to split arms
  • Note: You will have to: command: Cap open surfaces after splitting if you use NURBS to make a watertight polysurface; if working with mesh: command: MeshBooleanSplit automatically makes watertight trims
  • Delete unwanted limbs

I started with a mesh model, after splitting the head I chose to convert to NURBS to be able to split the arms with an extruded line surface.

I had to cut the mannequin in two parts to be able to use Slicer since the shape was too complex to be feasible all together. I then saved torso and the legs in separate files.

3.Scale to your height:

  • Create a polyline from the base of the model to the top (use ortho to be precise)
  • Command: Scale (enter desired height in command tab)
  • Note: Take in consideration if you are in a seated position with no head to measure yourself seated from the nape of the neck to the buttocks)
  • Convert to Mesh model
  • Export as Rhino file, OBJ and STL formats

Slicer Fusion 360:#

  • Import STL file
  • Open Slicer and choose original scale from the drop menu on the left (pay attention to scale in: mm, cm, inches)
  • Define manufacturing settings: choose (mm, cm, inches) the size parameters of your material: length, width, thickness (in my case: L=1000mm, W=500mm, T=4mm)
  • Define the slot offset: the allowance for the notching system so that the pieces interlock with ease (in my case: o.5mm, I could have added a larger offset as it was difficult to assemble the torso)
  • Choose construction technique: radial
  • Slicer will convert your 3D form into many interlocking 2D parts
  • You will need to pay around with each interlocking slice until you see no red pieces (red means a flaw in the design)
  • You can shift each slice around and add or remove slices to achieve a fully functioning model ready to laser cut
  • Note: Measure twice, cut once. Double check your measurements - the legs of my first prototype turned out smaller and disproportionate to the torso, even though I had previously scaled them on Rhino.
  • Get plans: export to DXF (to re-open in Rhino to prepare for laser cutter)

First attempt: As I mentioned in the Rhino section of the tutorial, I was unable to integrate all the slices using the full form, I then split the form into two in Rhino and worked on the files separately.

Laser Cutting with Trotec:#

  • Import DXF file to Rhino
  • Work in the Top viewport
  • Select all and convert to 2D
  • Join each piece separately as they will be imported as individual curves
  • Group each piece separately so that the outline (blue) and the assembly numbers (red) will under one grouped piece
  • Nest your pattern pieces so that the maximum amount of space is used
  • Rotate the piece to that the legth runs horizontally
  • Move each board to point zero
  • Select the area (board) to be printed
  • Select the material parameters: Cut power: 30 + Engrave: 60

Lotus Mannequin: Legs Assembly from Catherine Euale on Vimeo.


Lotus Position: Make Human
Lotus Mannequin: Rhino 3D File
Torso: Slicer For Fusion
Legs: Slicer For Fusion

Mycelium Mannequin#

Final Bio-Lotus mannequin can be seen in Week 04: Biofabrication

Mycelium Mannequin from Catherine Euale on Vimeo.

Catherine.Euale @ Fabricademy 2018 - 2019 ☮

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