WEEK 2: Digital Bodies

A week of exploring new programs to digitally fabricate and physically construct the human body.



Laser Cut Mannequin - Credit: Bela Rofe



Inspiration Text - Credit: Bela Rofe



Visual Inspiration Map - Credit: Bela Rofe




Fabrication Process - Credit: Bela Rofe

STEP 1: Make a Humanoid - SOFTWARE: Make Human

A software program to generate digital humanoids. A very user-freindly interface that allows you to experiment with the limits of the human body through measurement, personal features, and movement.
  • Open Make Human.
  • Start with the 'Modelling' 'Main' tabs.
  • Set the measurements and physical characteristics of your desired human.
  • More specific characterisitcs can be modified by going to 'Menu - Face' 'Menu - Torso' 'Menu - Arms and Legs'.
  • After spending 20 minutes measuring each limb of my physical body in the lab, I set my humanoid to match my exact body measurements.
  • Save Humanoid in Make Human - Export as OBJ


Make Human Software - Credit: Bela Rofe

BACKGROUNDS: Placing humanoid in different environments.


Upload Background into Make Human Software - Credit: Bela Rofe


Make Human Humanoid in New Environment - Credit: Bela Rofe


Exporting UV Map, Light Map, and Texture Folder from Make Human - Credit: Bela Rofe

Water Transparency x Make Human x Vimeo - Credit: Bela Rofe
Floral Background x Make Human x Vimeo - Credit: Bela Rofe


  • Drag and Drop .OBJ file into Sketchfab.
  • Click 3D Settings button on right side.
  • Change lighting, materials, backdrop, VR play.
  • Embed Link into Gitlab.

STEP 2: Chop Limbs off Humanoid - SOFTWARE: Rhinoseros

A 3D computer graphics and CAD software based on the mathematical model NURBS. A very user-freindly interface that allows you to create, edit, analyze, document, render, animate, and translate NURBS curves, surfaces, and solids, point clouds, and polygon.
  • Open Rhino.
  • Select cube symbol in left tools panel (3rd row down, middle icon)
  • Drag selection to areas you want to cut.
  • Group mesh - because eyes, ears, mouth are separate parts, so when I move them, they must move together.
  • Type in top left: MeshtoNurb.
  • Select mesh by clicking group (mesh) not polysurface (solid)
  • Right click Boolean object next to cube (3rd row down, 4th from left)
  • Type in Mirror in top left.
  • Select Body > File > Export > OBJ > Move bar to far right.


Chopping Limbs in Rhino - Credit: Bela Rofe

STEP 3: Convert 3D Model into 2D Pattern - SOFTWARE: Slicer for Fusion 360

A software program to turn digital 3D models into 2D patterns that can be cut out of any flat material. A non user-freindly interface due to its delay in actioning requests.
  • Open Slicer for Fusion 360.
  • Import OBJ Model saved from Make Human or Rhinoseros.
Manufacturing Settings
  • Click on pencil icon in top left.
  • '+' Add new dimensions of material you will be cutting on.
  • NOTE. This time, we printed on 1160mm x 960mm x 3mm corrugated cardboard.
Object Size
  • Click Original Size.
Construction Technique
  • Choose technique (Stacked Slices, Interlocked SLices, Curve, Radial Slices)
  • NOTE. This time, I chose Radial Slices.
Slice Distribution
  • Method: By Count.
  • Play with the amount of slices that works best for your design.
  • Monitor the amount of slices with the amount of sheets in top right.
  • NOTE. This time, we were assigned a maximum of 5 sheets per person so we had to stay within that boundary.
Slice Direction
  • Use the blue triangle axis to play with angle.
  • Use the yellow shadow to generate the angle of slices.
  • To see the direction of angles, hover over body.
Modify Form
  • Play with panel along bottom of page. .
  • Choose from Hollow, Thicken, Shrinkwrap.
  • At this point, Save your file.
  • Slicer > Save > Save to Computer > PDF, DXF.
Assembly Steps
  • Return to this tab once you are ready to assemble.
Get Plans
  • Bottom panel of page.
  • File Type > DXF > mm > Export to my computer.

STEP 4: Refine Cutsheets - SOFTWARE: Adobe Illustrator

A vector-graphics software that allows you to create and edit drawings, logos, and typography. A smooth user-interface that can be complicated.
  • Open zip file > Open in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Set up cut sheet files for laser cutter.
  • Cut any unwanted holes, delete or join anchor points, move cuts around on sheets to maximise fitting space.
  • Save As > Adobe Illustrator File (.ai) > Version: CS2 > Untick all boxes > Ok.


Slicer for Fusion 360 Cut Sheet Plans - Credit: Bela Rofe

STEP 5: Laser Cutter - SOFTWARE: LaserCut 5.3

A laser cutter control software used to prepare cutting files before sending to machine. A non user-freindly interface due to its complex scaling and delay in actioning requests.
  • Login in FABLAB > Desktop > FAB FILES > FABRICADEMY > BELA
  • Open LaserCut 5.3 > Import > 'Nameoffile.ai'
  • File will open up > Zoom out until you see the laser cutter table > Cntrl A the file > Drag into laser cutter table .
  • Cntrl A the file > Click 'Size' icon in left toolbar.
  • IMPORTANT STEP: This scale needs to match the scale of the cut sheet on Adobe Illustrator (see below how to find dimensions on Adobe Illustrator)
  • NOTE. I kept in mm on Adobe Illustrator and LaserCut 5.3.


Matching Dimensions on Adobe Illustrator and LaserCut 5.3 - Credit: Bela Rofe

  • Blue dot is parameter of page > Keep shapes within boundaries of page.
  • Colour shapes according to the Speed and Power to which you want them cut.
  • Speed and Power settings will change depending on material and cut type.
  • Corner Speed: always 20.
  • NOTE. This time, for cutting corrugated cardboard, I set CUT, Speed: 400, Power: 70, Corner Speed: 20
  • NOTE. This time, for engraving numbers, I set CUT, Speed: 400, Power: 25, Corner Speed: 20
  • Click Download button on bottom right. -'Del All' > Download Current.
  • NOTE. Order of cutting very important. If cut inside of a t-shirt first, outside will be held in place. If cut outside of t-shirt first, inside will lose support.


LaserCut 5.3 Instructions - Credit: Bela Rofe
  • Anchor laser head & Test cutting parameters.
  • Use Arrow Keys to position top left corner > Anchor > Enter > Test.
  • Tape or use a weight to hold down material if not flat.
  • Close laser cutter lid with 2 hands.
  • Flick green switch of vaporiser on > Wait for 'Tick' to give green signal.
  • Start on laser cutter.


Laser Cutter Instructions - Credit: Bela Rofe

Laser Cutter Cutting Mannequin Sheets - Credit: Bela Rofe

STEP 6: Assembly - SOFTWARE: Slicer for Fusion 360 & Myself

Assembly Steps from Slicer for Fusion 360 - Credit: Bela Rofe
Assembly Steps Recorded at Waag - Credit: Bela Rofe

A folder with all the files for cutting and assembling can be downloaded here.

Other Digital Fabrication Techniques Learnt this Week:

A hand-held, full colour, 3D scanning software. A user-friendly, straight-forward interface.
  • Open SENSE.
  • Choose what you will scan; Body, Head, Object.
  • Start.
  • Physically pan around the body.
  • Green: successful scan / Red: failed scan.
  • Save > Finish > Export (.OBJ or .STL)
  • Solidify closes holes.
  • Files save to the computer.
  • NOTE. changes only occur if click Apply.
  • NOTE. OBJ: Adobe programs, STL: 3D print.


3D Scanning using SENSE - Credit: Bela Rofe

A 3D scanning software that reads objects, faces, or bodies from a spinning platform. A non user-freindly interface due to its delay in registering data.
  • Open Skanect.
  • Aspect Ratio: Normal.
  • Path: Where it will save.
  • Choose Body, Object.
  • Delay: How much time needed before it scans.
  • NOTE. Scanner works closely with light. Try to avoid patches of light - the scanner will pick it up as the object being scanned.


3D Scanning using Skanekt - Credit: Bela Rofe


I used the off-cut shapes from cut sheets to record pattern motion.

Cut Sheets x Gradient - Credit: Bela Rofe


Cut Sheets x Gradient - Credit: Bela Rofe


Cut Sheets x Gradient - Credit: Bela Rofe


Cut Sheets x Gradient - Credit: Bela Rofe